Utility prospect Marwin Gonzalez is the master of the low on base percentage. Still a young man, Gonzalez may have time to learn a few things about the strike zone. He may even have figured a few things out, or may be trying something new, while playing in Venezuela this winter.
Gonzalez signed with the Cubs in 2005 and started his playing career as a 17-year old in 2006. In 2008 he split time between Peoria and Boise, drawing 16 walks in 389 plate appearances. Moving to Daytona in 2009, Gonzalez went to the box 461 times and earned 26 free passes. 2010 started in Daytona but was mostly spent in Tennessee. 426 trips, 24 walks.
Since leaving Rookie ball, Gonzalez made 1276 plate appearances and drew a total of 66 walks. That's about 5.2% and a big part of a string of OBPs of .293, .287, .295 -- he's nothing if not consistent. His batting averages ran .261, .251, .241.
As things stand now, Gonzalez is hitting .324 for Caracas. He has a .425 OBP and has drawn 19 walks in 128 plate appearances -- nearly triple his career rate.
In case I'm not making myself clear:
His winter 2009 campaign is also included for reference. These winter seasons are short, especially when we look at him in the middle of the 2010 season, but the contrast is clear.
update Marwin's 2010 W line is current through the end of November. His avg/obp dropped below .300/.400 and has drawn just one walk in the past week.
So, wait a second. Maybe pitching is just freakin' awful in Venezuela, or everyone walks a lot there. OK, let's league adjust Marwin's rates and set average to 100, a la OPS+.
League adjusted walks per plate appearance:
2009 W: 91
Thou shalt regress (update he has!). But enjoy being 6th in batting and 5th in on base -- hopefully it lasts well into December. Gonzalez will probably be Iowa's starting shortstop in 2011, which will be a nice test: fluke or new leaf?