Of the 2011 Braves regulars, our starting shortstop Alex Gonzalez likely receives the least fanfare, and the least amount of irrational ire. He is not an all-star, nor will he ever be spoken of frequently following his eventual retirement, but there is a lot to appreciate about Sea Bass.
I like Sea Bass. Perhaps I am borderline enamoured with his understated value. He's not a perennial 3+ WAR middle infielder by any means, but he is far from a detriment (which, hey, fWAR and bWAR completely agree with). There's something to be said for a reliable shortstop with defensive prowess (DRS and UZR both like Gonzalez, with exception of his early days with the Marlins). In 2010 UZR/150 rated strongly at 10.2, while DRS+/- was just as kind at 16 runs saved. Just eyeballing his 2011 campaign, he has saved plenty of runs in the early goings and he's done so in style. I am a proponent of the aesthetic qualities of baseball and Sea Bass is pleasing to watch in that regard.
He is a subpar contact hitter with no patience and above average pop for a shortstop. He produced 68 XBH in 2010 which is outstanding for a position that 'traditionally' derives its value from glovework. His contact rates are pretty bad and BB/K% are abysmal, but this is what we've come to expect from Sea Bass. So long as Fredi never places Agon in the 1-5 spots in the lineup, I don't think Sea Bass is going to cause us Braves fans any undue suffering. Having said that, he likely won't woo us on offense either.
Metrics aside, remember that walkoff homer against STL last year at the Ted? Yeah, that falls under the realm of aesthetically pleasing. The walkoff jig was great, and any time a professional athlete wears his heart on his sleeve I appreciate it. It is refreshing to see in a game submerged in so many dollar figures and the overall mentality that baseball is a business.
So here's to you, Sea Bass. May you remain serviceable for this year and next, at which time we will seldom discuss you, but recall you fondly (and somewhat unremarkably) all the same.