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October 7, 2013

Advance Scouting Series

Adrian Gonzalez

by Chris Rodriguez

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Advance Scouting Report

Filed by: Chris Rodriguez

Player Name: Adrian Gonzalez

Context: 11 Games; 9/15-18; 9/20-22; 9/24; 9/26-28

PA

AB

H

1st P

K

BB

TB

Hard

AVE

OBP

SLG

OPS

TOTALS

40

34

10

11

5

5

18

14

.294

.375

.529

.904

Sample vs. Season:

Average is exactly the same as the season; on-base percentage is up roughly .030 and slugging is up .060; closer to career slash line.

SCOUTING BREAKDOWN

Physical/Health:

Thick body; solid legs and thighs; good agility despite big frame; very good athlete although it might not seem like it at first glance; had thigh soreness on 9/19 that held him out of the game; started on 9/21 and remains healthy for the postseason.

Hit Tool

Beautiful swing; perfect balance; smooth and quiet load; uses leg kick as his timing mechanism; rarely late getting his front foot back down, but good FBs (94-plus) can disrupt his timing; upper half and hands work together perfectly; bat speed is still good, but he’s lost a little; bat control is exceptional; can match the barrel with the ball in any quadrant in the strike zone; very good plate coverage; can drive the pitch up and away (in the strike zone) with authority; struggles with FBs above the letters and often chases; like most LHH, loves the pitch down and in; will chase breaking stuff down and in the dirt when behind in the count, however; aggressive early in the count with runners on base; pitch recognition is above average; makes plenty of adjustments depending on how he’s getting pitched; doesn’t try to do too much; uses the entire field very well; will battle; goes up there with a plan; understands umpires strike zone; calm and cool during big situations; professional hitter. Grade: 7

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

Keeps his front shoulder closed, which allows him to uncoil swing and drive the pitch to the opposite field; will roll over off-speed offerings at times, as long as they’re down in the zone; saw more pitches vs. LHP.

Much more aggressive in the zone; try and jam him inside with a good fastball; if you fall behind, don’t groove one for a strike and he will make you pay; 12-to-6 curveballs down can get him to chase; keep off-speed down and mix up first-pitch offerings.

Notable At-bats

Date

Description

9/15/13

Third AB vs. Vogelsong (RHP): Bases loaded; aggressiveness early in the AB got him behind in the count 0-2; fouled back two high and away FBs at 89 and 88 respectively; was looking to drive pitches to the opposite field but he chased; took two more fastballs away for balls; then another FB up and away fouled back; chased yet again; finally came inside with a 90 mph fastball and Gonzalez pulled his hands and turned on the pitch down the RF line for a bases-clearing double; five consecutive pitches away and he was still able to barrel a FB on the inside corner; shoulders, arms, and hands worked in perfect synchrony.

9/22/13

First AB vs. Cashner (RHP): First pitch was a CH down for ball; two-seam away/fouled (mid-90s); another two-seam for a ball; came back with the CH for K/swinging; two-seam away (high 90s) just tipped foul; two-seam inside fouled/jammed; CB down fouled/out in front; back to a two-seam (95) up and away for the strikeout swinging; Cashner’s raw stuff was too much for Gonzalez to square and he was late on all five plus-plus FBs; chased up and away far too often.

9/26/13

Second AB vs. Lincecum (RHP): Started him with a CH for strike down the middle; pitch two was a FB at 90 down and away out of the zone which he stroked past the third baseman for a single; amazing bat control; dropped the bat head on the ball and let his hands do the work.

Power

Good raw strength; generates power with his thick lower half; great extension and follow-through; swing has leverage when the pitch is down in the zone; can drive that pitch out of the ballpark with regularity; bat speed has taken a small step back from San Diego years; must be geared up to catch up to a plus FB; dangerous when you keep the ball around the belt buckle; feasts on hanging SLs and CHs from RHP; bat speed is catered to drive off-speed pitches; no longer will touch the high 30s in home run totals, but he can hit mistakes with the best of them; approach doesn’t seem power aware. Grade: 5

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

.432 slugging; will drive pitches out over the plate the other way; look to bust him inside with FBs and then move to breaking stuff down and away; bring in a LHP in a crucial situation.

.475 slugging; loves to sit on off-speed stuff from RHP; can turn on those pitches with authority; look to elevate the FB with two strikes.

Notable At-bats

Date

Description

9/17/13

Second AB vs. Corbin (LHP): FB on the outside corner for strike one; nasty SL in the dirt which Gonzalez chased; 0-2 hanging SL down and in and he golfed it into the seats; awful pitch; Gonzalez was sitting off-speed and got one in his wheelhouse; didn’t panic on 0-2.

Speed/
Baserunning

Well below-average runner; not a factor on the bases; station to station; takes a mistake in the relay throw to allow him to score at first on an extra-base hit.

Conclusions and Means of Attack

Gonzalez isn’t as dangerous as he once was but he can still make you pay. He can put the barrel on just about any pitch in the strike zone, although with not the same amount of power as in previous years. To attack him, try and vary first-pitch selection. Don’t throw the same pitch you threw to start him in his first AB, especially if it was off-speed. Challenge Gonzalez a little more often with FBs up in the zone, as he showed a weak spot above the letters. He will chase that pitch often, and doesn’t seem to have the bat speed to get the barrel up there anymore. Of his five strikeouts in the sample, three were from FBs up and away. Against LHP, give him plenty of SLs and CBs down and away. Then change his eye level and go upstairs with an FB. Gonzalez has a plan at the plate and will battle, so try and mix up pitch selection. Back-to-back CBs, then back-to-back FBs. Keep him guessing and keep him adjusting. Move the FB in and out, and up and down. During big spots, a reliever with a big FB is a must against Gonzalez to sap him of his power.

Matchup Stats at a Glance

First Pitch Swing

11/40; 27.5 percent

Bunt Threat (Sac, Push, Drag)

Not a bunt threat by any means.

Defensive Positioning

SS swung over up the middle; can employ an even bigger shift with the SS on the 2B side, the 2B deep in the hole and the 1B on the line. Depends on the situation.

Outfield

LF shaded slightly in and toward the line; CF slightly toward LF; RF straight away.

Splits

vs. LHP

.273/.315/.432

vs. RHP

.303/.354/.475

Chris Rodriguez is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Chris's other articles. You can contact Chris by clicking here

Related Content:  Scouting,  Advance Series

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