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Road warrior
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Like most players on his team, Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez usually hits better at Coors Field than he does on the road. This year, however, Gonzalez has turned road ballparks into Coors-lite (see what I did there?).

For the first time in his career, Gonzalez' numbers are not being inflated by Coors Field. He's hitting .262 with six home runs and an .898 OPS in 32 home games, compared to .348 with 11 homers and a 1.110 OPS on the road. He has a career .993/.772 home/road split in OPS.

He's also dominating left-handed pitching as well as he has in his entire career. In 84 at-bats against lefties, CarGo has a 28.8 percent line-drive rate and is hitting .333 with six doubles, five home runs and a .966 OPS. He's batting .288 with 12 round-trippers and a 1.018 OPS against righties. For his career, he owns a .799 OPS against southpaws and a .929 OPS against right- handers.

Overall, Gonzalez, aka CarGo, is dominating six categories like few players can, hitting .304 with 17 homers, 45 RBI, 51 runs, 12 steals and a 1.000 OPS.

Gonzalez' .304 average is being aided by a .357 batting average on balls in play (BABIP), but Gonzalez always hits for a high BABIP (career .348 BABIP) so there's nothing out of the ordinary there.

What is different about CarGo this season is that he is getting the ball in the air more than ever before. His flyball rate is a career-high 41.9 percent, but it hasn't come at the expense of his line-drive rate. He has hit line drives at a rate of 20.3 percent in his career, and that rate is 20.4 percent this season.

Obviously, hitting more flyballs at Coors Field is a good thing, especially when you have the power that Gonzalez possesses. It's due to his sudden explosion of power away from Coors, however, that has allowed him to post a career-high 24.3 percent HR/FB.

Gonzalez has a 31.4 percent HR/FB on the road this season and a 17.1 percent HR/FB at home. For his career, Gonzalez' HR/FB is 20.9 percent. His career BABIP at home is .369; this year, however, that number is .310.

It's not farfetched to think Gonzalez will only improve his home numbers as the season goes on; after all, it is a hitter's paradise. Improved home production combined with his newfound road success would lead to some scary numbers.

Think of Gonzalez as the 25-year-old who finally moves out of his parents' house after years of freeloading. Of course, mom's home-cooked meals are still the best, but at least he now knows how to cook a few simple dishes, can do his laundry and is able to pay his own bills without destroying his credit. He can always go home to visit, but is a more well-rounded human being due to the move.

Gonzalez still has the comforts of Coors Field to fall back on, but now that he has unlocked the keys to destroying baseballs on the road he can take the next step towards becoming the best player in fantasy baseball.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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