March 15, 2012; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (28) during the fifth inning of a spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Jet Blue Park. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Once the holy grail of possible trades, we're now a whole year into the Adrian Gonzalez era in Boston, but it still doesn't feel entirely real, somehow.
Perhaps it's because the Adrian Gonzalez of 2011 just didn't feel exactly like Adrian Gonzalez.
Oh, he was amazing, of that there's no doubt. It's hard to argue with a line of .338/.410/.548, even if it didn't live up to some of the loftier expectations. But it's how he got there that makes it feel...weird. Moving from Petco to Fenway, one would've expected Adrian to produce long balls with the best of them (Fenway does suppress homer numbers, but not nearly so well as Petco). Gonzalez never seemed to really find the rhythm at the plate, however, to provide consistent dingers, picking them up in bunches and ending the year with far fewer than one would expect.
Of course, Gonzalez made up for any lack of power with a tremendous average backed by a high BABIP, and it's this that makes predicting his 2012 season so difficult and interesting. While you might expect his BABIP to go back down and his power numbers to end up where we had initially expected, Marc Normandin points out that maybe that BABIP wasn't entirely a matter of luck after all.
Where does that leave us? With two big questions:
1) Was Adrian Gonzalez' diminished power a matter of his shoulder, the park, or neither?
2) Was Adrian Gonzalez' increased BABIP a matter of luck, or Fenway?
Figure out your answers, and then apply them to your predictions. I expect we might see a wide range depending on what everyone thinks (albeit likely weighted towards the pro-Adrian stance).
Once again, please keep them in that order. It helps a great deal with the transcribing process.