Carlos Gonzalez is an interesting player this season in fantasy baseball. It appeared his days as a relevant fantasy option were over, but he's currently batting .289 with 13 homers and playing every day.
Is it time for fantasy managers to go all-in on Gonzalez and pick him up/trade for him for a strong stretch run, or are you worried that he's due for regression and should be traded away or otherwise avoided?
Eric Karabell: The Rockies play more than half their September games at awesome Coors Field so I think we have to take CarGo somewhat seriously. Gonzalez is hitting .341 in home games this season with an OPS nearly 400 points higher than in road games. I would acquire Gonzalez and use him in the weeks the Rockies are at home, which is much of September. It has also become quite clear the Rockies want veteran players on the field. I just cannot understand why Matt Holliday will get more September at-bats than Raimel Tapia, but at least we have clarity. Gonzalez is going to play regularly, and his numbers against left-handed pitching this season are fine. We shouldn't be talking about him, but we have to. He can help fantasy managers.
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Gonzalez is now rostered in slightly greater than two-thirds of ESPN leagues, so in the most competitive leagues right now, I'd say you're going to have to trade for him rather than scoop him up off the wire. If that's your avenue, I'll pass, because I don't like to buy in at a perceived high point of the player's value when I think he's at a career stage where he's more likely riding a hot streak than showing signs of skills growth. During his .313/.366/.551 June/July hot streak -- granted, that's a sizable amount of time for a "streak" -- he had a .367 BABIP (.330 from 2016-May 2018), 56.6 percent ground ball rate (47.4 percent) and 89.2 mph average Statcast exit velocity (89.0).
In his defense, CarGo's best benefit the remainder of the year is that his Colorado Rockies are tied for the most remaining home games (30), with Coors Field a huge boon to his value, and the team's August schedule includes a healthy dose of right-handed pitching (many opposing right-handed rotations). But I think this is a "juice the orange" rather than "strong finish" player, so there's a limited price I'd be willing to pay, probably that of someone in the lower half of a standard mixed league (in other words back 125 of a top 250) ranking set.
AJ Mass: Certainly, CarGo has been particularly hot since the start of July, as his .337/.384/.630 slash line will attest. Surely, after a down 2017, there was good reason for fantasy managers to be a tad skeptical as to whether or not Gonzalez would ever return to relevance. Talk of "regression" may be a bit extreme, though.
The truth is that just two seasons ago, he hit .298 with a 16.9 HR/FB rate and a 25.3 HR/PA rate. After fighting through some early hamstring woes, Gonzalez has raised his batting average to .289 and has a 16.9 HR/FB and a 25.4 HR/PA rate.
Now, the issue with CarGo has always been the home-road splits. For his career, he's hit .324 at home and .252 on the road. This season, things appear to be "business as usual", with a .341 BA at Coors Field and a .249 BA elsewhere.
The key factor for me is that Colorado has 30 home games left on the schedule and just 24 road contests. As such, while I certainly am happy to have the veteran on my fantasy roster, I'm only going to rely on him about 55 percent of the time. I'll trade for him, but I'm not going to pay as if he were truly an everyday option.
Kyle Soppe: You have to buy in, don't you? With the weeks dwindling on the season, you have to scratch and claw for every bit of production you can get and we are looking at a potential game-changer in CarGo. As mentioned in the question, Gonzalez is fully healthy and playing every day, thus eliminating what has been fantasy managers' primary gripe with him in the past.
Since the beginning of June, Gonzalez owns a top-30 OPS (not bad for a player that ranked 115th prior) and who is going to argue with a schedule that is loaded with home games when you need it most? CarGo has a 1.055 home OPS this season and has seen 48.9 percent of his hits go for extra bases at Coors Field. If you can add him, you stop what you're doing and do it now! If he is already on a roster, I'd send out a feeler and see what the price is in a potential deadline deal -- the upside is that of a fantasy MVP the rest of the way.