Over the past four seasons in which Alex Gonzalez has played (he missed all of 2008), he has accumulated 1,636 plate appearances, 1,500 at bats and 16 sacrifice flys . I mention at bats because in order to calculate his fly ball percentage over that time you need to use at bats rather than plate appearances since FB% is based off of batted balls. I mention sacrifice flys because they do not count as at bats but are indeed fly balls. Alex has struck out 272 times over that span as well, so Alex has 1,244 batted balls in his past four seasons of play. Of those batted balls, 566 of them are fly balls, and of those 566 fly balls, 50 of them went for home runs.
His fly ball percentage, which has increased each season, is 45% since ’06. His home run per fly ball percentage, is 8.8% over that same span.
Alex has an injury history, but if we are optimistic and say that he stays healthy and continues along his averages from the past four seasons, Alex should get somewhere around 300 at bats for the remainder of this season. If he continues to strikeout and hit fly balls at the same rate, he should strike out 54 times and hit 111 fly balls. With that many fly balls, he should hit 10 home runs.
Unfortunately for right-handed batters in Turner Field, home runs come less frequently according to StatCorner. You can assume that Gonzalez would hit one or two fewer home runs, and let’s put it at two since his previous parks in Boston, Cincinnati, and Toronto were hitting parks. So if Gonzalez hits 8 home runs for the remainder of the season, his numbers should look like this:
Alex Gonzalez for Remainder of ’10:
.253/.296/.419, 8 HR, 84 OPS+, 17 2B, 1 3B, 15 BB, 54 K
While these are more-or-less averages, if his fly ball percentage continues to increase as he ages then the power numbers should as well.
It could be a coincidence that his fly ball percentage has gone from 43.4 to 43.6 to 47.2 to 49.8. It does look like a trend, however, and given that it has occurred over the span of 1,636 plate appearances, it makes you believe that he may be able to continue hitting a lot of fly balls.
While his on base percentage will be low, he will be providing some power to the bottom of the Braves lineup if he hits at his four year averages. The only way to attempt to project his numbers would be using these averages. He has been riding a hot streak and was hitting in a hitters park this season, so expecting another 15 home runs would not be wise.
There is a good chance that Yunel Escobar would have outproduced these numbers, but with of a higher batting average and more walks. On base percentage is the most important single statistic, but with the Braves being ranked so high in on base and so low in slugging, trading in the walks and singles for what Gonzalez can offer may lead to more runs.
Gonzalez’s strike outs may become frustrating and his lack of plate patience may as well, but the Braves have the highest OBP in the NL and could use a few gappers and long balls at the bottom of the lineup.