He was acquired in August of 2012, having been one of the league’s best hitters until he struggled to meet the high expectations of the Red Sox. When I think of a player who really carried the Dodgers in the 2013 season, I instantly think of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
Gonzalez was part of the blockbuster trade on August 25th 2012 from the Boston Red Sox that included Gonzalez and Carl Crawford among others. Dodger fans were very familiar with Gonzalez from his days as a San Diego Padre. Entering the 2013 season, “A-Gon” as they called him looked to rebound after having his worst season of his career.
The Dodgers really needed an emotional leader this year as their well known leader, Matt Kemp, dealt with numerous injuries. Gonzalez became that and more this season as he was always bringing a spark that the team needed, his leadership felt throughout the clubhouse, and consistency at the plate and in the field that the Dodgers needed. He, along with many others, tried to mentor rookie sensation Yasiel Puig and would be seen at times talking to Puig in the dugout and settling Puig down after he would get riled up. His leadership became a big factor in the playoffs, especially after his RBI double in game three of the NLCS in which the Dodgers would go on to win 3-0. After that hit, Gonzalez would do what became a norm of him and point to the dugout and show that it is time for the offense to wake up. In game five with the Dodgers on the verge of being eliminated, Gonzalez hit two solo home runs.
Gonzalez was also one of the players on the Dodgers that managed to stay healthy all season. In fact, Gonzalez and Uribe were the only Dodgers starting fielders to avoid the disabled list all season. He also led the team in hits with 171, home runs with 22, RBIs with 100, and total bases with 269. With the speedsters of Puig and Crawford normally hitting in front of him, “A-Gon” did a great job of hitting with runners in scoring position and with men on base in general. He hit .323 with RISP, and over .300 with men on base. For the first time since 2004, Gonzalez had less than 100 strikeouts and averaged 3.68 pitches per at bat. He really worked the count when he was on base and would make adjustments during his at bats to make it difficult for pitchers to strike him out. Gonzalez was also leading candidate for the NL Gold Glove for first baseman having already won the award three times. I can’t even begin to count the amount of line drive base hits he caught and all of the balls thrown into the dirt from Uribe and Ramirez that he scooped up.
Adrian Gonzalez was happy to start over in Los Angeles after a disappointing stint in Boston and has started to become the leader of the team. Gonzalez rebounded from a poor 2012 season with a great 2013 year and will look to continue his success in 2014.