In looking back at the 2016 season for Adrian Gonzalez, I’m flipping the order of his year in review.
What went wrong
Gonzalez hit just .244/.293/.310 against left-handers, though he was hardly alone on the Dodgers in that regard.
Gonzalez matched his career low for a full season with 18 home runs (also in 2012), and his 31 doubles were his fewest since 2009.
Gonzalez hit .195/.250/.341 in 11 postseason games.
His isolated power (slugging percentage minus batting average) of .150 was the lowest of his career. But we’ve seen this before, when he followed ISOs of .164 (2012) and .168 (2013) with bounce-back years of .206 (2014) and .205 (2015) the last two years.
Gonzalez started 2016 hitting just .264/.337/.372 with six home runs and 11 doubles in 74 games, nearly half a season. He battled neck and back issues at various times in the fist half, but it was more a mental drain that he described to Andy McCullough of the LA Times in June:
“I haven’t had any symptoms in three weeks,” Gonzalez said. “And I think that’s why I’m putting so much pressure on myself. Because I’m like ‘I’m finally healthy. I should be doing good.’ You’re just pressing for that, rather than letting it happen.”
What went right
After taking himself out of the lineup for two days in Pittsburgh to clear his head, Gonzalez hit .304/.361/.492 the rest of the way, with 20 doubles and 12 home runs in 78 games, power numbers more in line with his previous two years.
Gonzalez saw his ground ball rate decrease from an abnormally high 50.2% before the All-Star break — his career ground ball rate is 40.8% — down to 41.2% afterward.
Despite the up-and-down nature of the season, Gonzalez again answered the bell nearly everyday, playing in 156 games, a number he has reached 11 straight years.
Gonzalez hit .297/.376/.469 with runners in scoring position, and though his 90 RBI matched a full-season low for Gonzalez it still tied for the team lead. Gonzalez drove in 17.4% of runners on base, best among anyone on the team with at least 125 plate appearances.
During 2016, Gonzalez surpassed 300 home runs and 400 doubles, one of just 76 players in baseball history to achieve both totals. He ended the year with 415 doubles and 308 home runs in his career.
Gonzalez hit a solo home run at Wrigley Field in Game 2 of the NLCS, good for the only run of the contest in the Dodgers’ 1-0 victory over the Cubs.
Stats: .285/.349/.435, 18 HR, 31 doubles, 90 RBI, 113 OPS+, 2.1 rWAR, 1.3 fWAR
Salary: $21 million
Game of the year
Gonzalez had a career day on Aug. 22 in Cincinnati, hitting three home runs and driving in a career-high eight runs in an 18-9 slugfest against the Reds.
Gonzalez has two years left on his contract that will pay him $21.5 million in each of 2017 and 2018.