But while there was a 76 point difference in his road and home batting averages, Gonzalez also hit for more power at home. He hit 7 of his 10 home runs at Joseph P. Riley Park, traditionally known as a hitter's friendly ball park. It will be interesting to see if Gonzalez' power numbers remain constant in the future or if his 2005 breakout campaign was somehow aided by his home surroundings.
While he was a consistent power hitter all year long, his power wasn't as even-keeled. Gonzalez hit six of his ten home runs in July, including knocking dingers in consecutive games twice during his hottest month of the year. So while his increased power was a welcomed sight, 2006 will be a better test to see if his 2005 power numbers were more of a product of a hot streak.
32.9% of his hits against right-handed pitchers in 2005 went for extra bases, compared to 26.1% against lefties. While it is not a demonstrative difference, it does show that the right-handed hitting Gonzalez does not need to be platooned. His favorable stats against righties will only aid his cause as a developing outfielder in the Yankees' system.
Just a combined .223 hitter batting either sixth or seventh in the Charleston lineup this past season, Gonzalez was as dominant as they come batting cleanup or fifth. Hitting fourth or fifth in the lineup in 2005, Gonzalez batted a combined .347, proving to be one of the best clutch hitters on the entire Charleston squad.
However, as the pressure mounted, Gonzalez continually rose to the occasion. He hit .341 with runners in scoring position and when runners were in scoring position and with two outs, Gonzalez was even better, hitting .348. Despite the lack of plus power in his game, if Gonzalez can continue to provide in the clutch like that throughout his minor league career, he'll find a place in the Major Leagues as a reserve player. Clutch hitting of that capacity is not easily found.
He hit just .264 in games in which he played right field, spanning 178 at-bats, which accounted for over 60% of his at-bats in 2005. But when he played either first base or left field, Gonzalez' offense perked up immensely. He hit a combined .327 with 8 of his 10 home runs when playing first base or left field.
His versatility on the field is a great sign for his future, and judging from his production playing in spots other than his natural position at right field, Gonzalez could wind up being a key contributor as a reserve player in time.
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