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Carlos Gonzalez Should Be In Discussion For Top Right Fielder Of The Next Decade

The Colorado Rockies Carlos Gonzalez finished third in NL MVP voting in 2010 and won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award. He then signed a seven-year contract in January 2011 as a reward and as a testament to the faith the team has in him for the future. He could be on the path to super stardom over the next decade.

Except you won't find even a mention of CarGo in Rob Neyer's prediction for the best right fielder over the next decade. Neyer is unequivocal that the Atlanta Braves' Jason Heyward will be the best right fielder for the next decade. He then narrows down the second-best right fielder to a field of the Cincinnati Reds' Jay Bruce, the Cleveland Indians' Shin-Soo Choo, the Florida Marlins' Mike Stanton and the Arizona Diamondbacks' Justin Upton.

So, why not include Carlos Gonzalez somewhere in that discussion? I can only speculate, but the numbers 63, 58 and 40 may have to do something with it. That's the number of games he played in left, center and right fields in 2010. Neyer previously wrote that he discounted CarGo in left field and in center field because he sees him playing in right this season. If he's discounted for the two positions he won't play regularly in 2011, he needs to be counted for the position he will play. I don't see a top outfielder of the decade piece coming out.

Must've been an oversight on Rob's part.

But this is projection, so having Heyward at the top is OK. But even looking outside of the CarGo's 2010 accolades, there's no reason he shouldn't be at the top of the right fielders. According to Baseball Reference's Wins Above Replacement (WAR), Gonzalez was a 4.5 player, Heyward a 4.4 player. But break that down between offense and defense stats. CarGo's offensive WAR was 4.7 and his defense -0.2. Heyward was 3.7 on offense and 0.7 on defense. Maybe you give the slight edge to Heyward for his defense, but defensive stats are still a bit murky.

And age does play into this as well. Heyward is 20 while CarGo is 24. Heyward's not a bad choice, but probably the No. 2 if CarGo is No. 1.