July 26, 2017
Paying for Utilities
Webster’s dictionary defines “utility” as... just kidding. The positional flexibility craze in baseball didn’t start with Ben Zobrist, but his ability to play several positions at a high level certainly brought more attention to the modern utility player. Every year fantasy rosters are crippled with injuries. It’s terrible and awful and frustrating. It’s also inevitable. Having a super utility player stashed away on the roster is the ultimate luxury, and can help bail you out of such pickles, Benny “The Jet” style. This season, a handful of players have embraced the task of playing multiple positions and have thoroughly excelled in the process.
Marwin Gonzalez (1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF)
Before this season, the terms “serviceable” and “replacement level” easily could have been interchangeable with “Marwin,” as Gonzalez spent the first five seasons of his career hitting .257/.298/.389 in nearly 1,700 plate appearances. The 28-year-old could hit, but was allergic to drawing walks (career 4.7 percent walk rate), making it suboptimal for the Astros to make him an everyday fixture in their lineup. It would appear as though the Astros assigned a little winter reading for Gonzalez, and after finishing the Harry Potter series (for no reason in particular, they’re just super fun), I assume he dove into some light statistical analysis of the Bill James variety. This is all a long winded way to say he learned that patience, for lack of a better word, is good.