One of the reasons that I enjoy watching soccer is the announcers. European commentators don't feel the need to sugarcoat every play and glorify each and every athlete on the field. I can't tell you how many times Phil Simms or Troy Aikman said that a player in the game they were calling was one of the best. "Patrick Crayton might be one of the best route runners in this league!!" "Alex Smith might have the quickest release since Dan Marino!" Really?
And I won't even start talking about the all-time blowhards Tim McCarver and Joe Buck. I'm pretty sure we could file a class-action lawsuit against Fox for putting those two in the same box at the same time.
What most American announcers have in common is describing players as either underrated or overrated. It happens every game, but they never clarify who is underrating them or who is doing the overrating. For my purposes, I'm going to say that the mainstream sports media and casual fan tends to overlook the player this post is ultimately about. I'll make this assertion with the caveat that I live in Houston and moved to Chicago for the summer. For some of you, you'll already know this guy is the man.
Take a look at the chart below. Which player would you want most?
- 28 yrs old 346 AVG/ 16 HR/ 42 RBI/ 52 BB/ 478 OBP
- 26 yrs old 293 AVG/ 20 HR/ 63 RBI/ 27 BB/ 359 OBP
- 32 yrs old 289 AVG/ 14 HR/ 44 RBI/ 30 BB/ 352 OBP
Oh! Did I mention that player C makes $13.25 million player A $13.8 million and player B makes $850,000? Still want player A?
I say Gonzalez is underrated since he's not even in the top 5 first basemen in NL voting for the All-Star Game. He simply doesn't get the credit he deserves. For one thing, he plays in the (by today's standards) gigantic Petco Park and has a crappy ass lineup around him. As a team the Padres hit .246, which isn't a shock. Seriously look at the lineup in yesterday's game.
You know, as I'm writing this I decided to see if he's underrated by people that "know baseball" and I think the answer is yes. He has only been intentionally walked 4 times all season. By comparison, Nate McLouth and Brad Hawpe have both been intentionally walked 5 times. Carlos Delgado? 7 times. Ken Griffey 12 times and Pujols leads the league with 18 IBB. It seems like managers, who are paid millions to make winning baseball decisions, don't even give Gonazlez the respect he deserves.
I just hope that the Padres don't sneak into the playoffs in the crappy NL West and do to Adrian's profile what it did to Matt Holliday's last season. I'd love to steal this guy in the 4th and 5th rounds of my fantasy drafts next season.