2015 Positional Review: First Base

At some point Adrian Gonzalez has to start showing his age, but thankfully he didn’t show any signs of fading in 2015. A-Gon put up yet another solidly above-average season, and he continued to be a steadying presence in the lineup.

The rest of the bunch? Well…

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How The Dodgers First Basemen Fared

 

.283 AVG (7th)/.357 OBP (8th)/.495 SLG (7th)/135 wRC+ (6th)/4.1 rWAR (5th)/3.4 fWAR (8th)

 

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Adrian Gonzalez

 

.275 AVG/.350 OBP/.480 SLG/129 wRC+/9.6 BB%/16.6 K%/3.9 rWAR/3.0 fWAR

 

In the last four years, A-Gon has an rWAR of 3.7-3.9 and an fWAR of 2.9-3.6 (main difference is defense), so he’s been a consistent force if nothing else. His defense has also been reliably plus, as he passes the eye test, especially in regards to his soft hands being able to save errant throws. A-Gon ranks anywhere from plus to plus-plus defensively across metrics (+4 UZR/+9 FRAA/+10 DRS), and that doesn’t even factor his digs, so A-Gon more than makes up what he lacks on the bases (around -4 runs).

While A-Gon’s season-to-season results have been consistent, his performance this year had its fair share of peaks and valleys. Like with most of the team, he started out the year like gangbusters, hitting .383 and putting up a 1.222 OPS through the first month of the season. But in May and June he started to scuffle, posting sub-.800 OPS totals in both months (.796 & .701, respectively), before rebounding in July to the tune of a 1.021 OPS. Like many of this teammates, he struggled with injuries down the stretch, mainly a stiff back and neck. As a result, in August and September, he put up months with a .680 and .694 OPS, looking more like a #8 hitter than a cleanup man.

And that’s actually my main concern with A-Gon nowadays. He’s not getting any younger, has been getting more nagging injuries, and is due to decline at some point because Father Time is undefeated. It’s a scary thought if your lineup is primarily dependent on a mid-30s slugger with an OPS just north of .800 every year, but that’s where the Dodgers currently are, and instead of banking on him to either magically regain even more power or stop aging, the Dodgers should probably find help for him in the lineup sooner than later.

Regardless of any concerns going forward, A-Gon has been a rock for the Dodgers during his tenure here, and the team is gonna need him to stave off decline for at least a few more seasons, much less just for 2016. Here’s hoping.

The Rest

 

Scott Van Slyke, Justin Turner, Yasmani Grandal, and Chase Utley all played first base in relief of A-Gon this year, but they totaled less than 200 defensive innings at the position combined. Worse yet, they collectively put up a line of .198/.235/.309/.544 while playing the position, which led to a rather astounding 49 wRC+.

They all have or will be reviewed at other positions, but boy that’s a horrifying line in reserve of A-Gon. He needs to never go on the DL.

About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
I get paid millions by the Dodgers. MILLIONS!