Marwin Gonzalez, the former Rule 5 pick, had a breakout year in 2017 for the World Series champs. 2016 was a sign of things to come when the versatile fielder went for double-double homers and steals, but he took his game to another level in 2017, doubling his walk rate (to 9.5 percent) and launching nearly as many homers as he had the previous two seasons combined. That increased walk rate came from more selectivity as Gonzalez improved his chase rate by six full percentage points as he instead went hunting for fastballs to elevate and drive. Although a switch hitter, he does a majority of his damage from the left side as 18 of his 23 homers came off righties. Gonzalez has the rare 1B/2B/SS/OF eligibility for 2018 and should once again have no problem finding playing time in this high-octane offense.
The Astros picked up their $5.125 million club option on Gonzalez for next season, Julia Morales of AT&T SportsNet reports. Gonzalez will see his salary increase from $3.725 million this past season to just north of $5 million with the club taking on another year of his contract. The super-utility man hit .303/.377/.530 with 23 home runs and 90 RBI during the regular season.
Gonzalez is out of Saturday's lineup against the Red Sox, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. He is 12-for-23 with one home run and eight RBI over his last seven games, but will take a seat Saturday. Derek Fisher will start in left field and will hit ninth in Gonzalez's place.
Gonzalez went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk and three RBI in Thursday's 12-2 win over the Red Sox. Gonzalez got the scoring started with a bases-clearing double in the first inning and got on base three more times throughout this blowout victory. He's slashing career highs across the board at .305/.375/.533 and now has 34 doubles to go with his 23 home runs in 132 games.
Gonzalez went 4-for-5 with a home run, three RBI and three runs scored in Monday's 11-3 win over Texas. Gonzalez's breakout year continues deep into September. Just when it looked like it would come to end in August, when he hit a meager .221, he's bounced back to hit .364 in 18 September games.
Gonzalez went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and a double in Sunday's 7-1 win over the Mariners. Gonzalez's long ball was one of four launched by Houston in this one. His 30 doubles and 22 home runs are both career bests, so it's not surprising that Gonzalez's .521 slugging percentage blows his career .415 mark out of the water. The switch-hitter's versatility both at the plate and in the field allows him to stay in the lineup in all situations.