Having put together another productive year in his age-34 season, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was ranked the No. 8 player at his position by ESPN’s Buster Olney. Gonzalez also placed eighth on Olney’s list in November 2015.
In order from Nos. 1-7, this year he trails Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto, Anthony Rizzo, Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Cabrera, Eric Hosmer and Jose Abreu. Although Gonzalez endured multiple slumps at the plate, he finished the season batting .285/.349/.435 with 31 doubles, 18 home runs, 90 RBI and a 113 OPS+.
Gonzalez’s 18 home runs were his lowest total since 2012, but he came alive during the unofficial second half of the season, clubbing 11 homers after the All-Star break.
The drop in power was a result of the 13-year veteran suffering from lingering neck/back issues due to a pinched nerve. At the end of May, Gonzalez was administered an epidural to treat back pain.
Even with some of the spikes in production at the plate and a -0.5 UZR, Gonzalez tied for first among all Major League first baseman with a .998 fielding percentage and was ninth overall with three Defensive Runs Saved.
Since becoming a full-time player in 2006, Gonzalez has never appeared in less than 156 games during a single season. Included in that stretch is a streak of at least 156 games played for the Dodgers since 2013. Gonzalez played in 159 games during 2012, 36 of which were for Los Angeles after being traded that August.
Beyond Gonzalez being included in Olney’s ranking, the two have history together, as the analyst projected the San Francisco Giants would win the National League West in 2016. That prompted Gonzalez to propose a bet to Olney, which he’s yet to fulfill.