One of the biggest fears for fantasy baseball owners is to be left holding the bag when an aging superstar finally craps out for good. They’ve given you years of first-rate production and even though their totals may have been slipping over time, the numbers were still strong enough to warrant the heavy investment in their services. But all good things must come to an end and in this game, which is really no different than playing musical chairs, no one wants to be the fantasy owner left standing when the music stops. Over the last few seasons, it seemed as if Miguel Cabrera would be the one everyone turned on, but while his numbers haven’t exactly been Miggy-esque, the song that’s playing plays for Carlos Gonzalez.
CarGo hasn’t been without his warts over the years as injuries have been a long-standing issue, but since coming over to the Rockies in 2009, he’s produced four 20-20 seasons, one of which included a 34-homer performance, and one year with 40 home runs. A look at his home/road splits shows that Coors Field has been a major factor with regard to his overall production, but as I’ve said with any Rockies player, if he’s not being traded out of Colorado, then who cares what his splits are? He’s still playing half his games at Coors Field and the totals are what they are.
But after CarGo’s 40-homer season in 2015, a year he finally managed to stay completely healthy, things started to go downhill. He offered up another season at full-health in 2016, but the power regressed as he hit just 25 home runs and, contrary to years past, the speed failed to return. He still hit .298 for the year and his peripherals were all in-line with his career norms, but gone were the days of 20-20 and based on how he looked, a return was not likely. Still, a 25-homer guy who gets half his at-bats at Coors continued to warrant your attention on Draft Day in 2017. Or did it?
To put it bluntly, CarGo sucks this year and a high draft pick on him now seems like a waste. He’s provided just five home runs to date with only 19 RBI and one stolen base. Oh yeah, and he’s also kicked you in the fantasy groin with a .215 batting average and .292 OBP. Granted, we still have three and a half months left in the season, but after a seven-game 0-for-25 run and seeing the Rockies sit him, not just against a tomato can like Chad Kuhl, but also for a home game against gas-can Matt Moore, it looks like the Rockies don’t believe in a resurgence either.
The biggest problem is that there is nothing in his batted ball or plate discipline data that indicates the potential for a turnaround. Some might say his .251 BABIP will regress and all will be right again, but there’s actually nothing in his batted ball or plate discipline data to support that notion. Usually a low BABIP is accompanied by an abnormally high ground ball or fly ball rate, a spike in his swinging-strike rate or an abnormality in his swing rates, but there is nothing like that. All we’re left with is a drop in his contact rate and a massive decrease in his hard contact percentage.
Many of you are ready to dump him. I get it. Your barrage of emails and tweets asking if you can/should drop him speak volumes. None of you seem to believe he will snap out of it, and frankly, neither do I. In fact, I actually gave my first warning back in early May in an article in the New York Post. That doesn’t mean you drop him outright, though. Not that I think he’s going to rebound, but there’s no reason to give one of your opponents something for nothing.
The Rockies are on a 10-game home stand starting today and while CarGo may not start every one of them, he’ll see enough at-bats to potentially do something. When that happens, trade him. Take 25 cents on the dollar if you have to, but get something. If by the end of this home stand he’s still on your roster and he hasn’t produced, dump him. At that point, he’s done more than enough damage to your roster.