If you think Adrian Gonzalez is struggling it is because he is

While doing the Washington National series research it struck me how bad Ryan Zimmerman is this season compared to his normal season.  I decided to use baseball reference to find out how all the National League 1st baseman are doing this year compared to their historical norm, as we approach July.

We all knew Adrian Gonzalez was struggling but even I was surprised just how much he’s struggling compared to his normal above average production.  Brandon Belt is leading the Giants to that huge 1st place lead, while Adrian is playing the dead weight anchor for the Dodgers.

Adrian is a full 30 points below his normal OPS+.  Adrian did get that career 133 OPS+ by posting some massive numbers with the Padres,  but even as a Dodger his three full season OPS+ are the following – 125/130/129. Even as Adrian is inconsistent (streaky) during the season, by the end of the year he’s remarkably consistent in his production.

For Adrian to get his OPS+ up to such lofty levels by the end of 2016 he will need to go on one of his patented hot streaks. The good news is that he hasn’t had one of those streaks yet this year, so knowing that one is coming has to be heartening.

The table below shows the 2016 OPS+, the career OPS+, the difference between the 2016 OPS+ and the career OPS+, and for good measure the 2016 fangraphs stat wRC+. Many prefer the wRC+ as it is linear weight based. 

Player Age AB 2016 OPS+ Career OPS+ Diff wRC+
Brandon Belt 28 226 160 130 30 164
Anthony Rizzo 26 235 157 128 29 155
Paul Goldschmidt 28 249 148 151 -3 149
Brandon Moss 32 170 136 111 25 137
Wil Myers 25 271 135 114 21 135
Freddie Freeman 26 258 133 129 4 127
Matt Adams 27 157 133 113 20 136
Justin Bour 28 184 121 118 3 114
Joey Votto 32 243 117 154 -37 114
Chris Carter 29 245 111 111 0 107
John Jaso 32 211 104 115 -11 109
Adrian Gonzalez 34 248 103 133 -30 102
Mark Reynolds 32 207 93 104 -11 93
Ryan Zimmerman 31 226 87 118 -31 88
Ryan Howard 36 166 45 124 -79 39

 

Things that stand out to me about this list:

  • Joey Votto was an incredible hitter
  • Chris Carter is Chris Carter
  • Ryan Howard should retire
  • At age 25, Will Myers might be breaking out
  • Paul Goldschmidt can longer be assumed to the best NL 1st baseman
  • Brandon Belt gets my NL All -Star vote
  • Adrian is the oldest first baseman on this list that shouldn’t be retired

For those who aren’t quite sure what OPS+ means, check out this link

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