YOVI STAYS AT HOME WITH THE PATRIOTS
Yovan Gonzalez will officially be returning to the Somerset Patriots’ lineup in 2020. “Yovi” is more than just a fan-favorite after 4 seasons in Somerset, he is a terrific backstop and support for the Patriots’ pitching staff. In 2019, Gonzalez allowed only 6 passed balls in 652 innings behind the plate. Additionally, Gonzalez improved his caught stealing rate by 3% from 2018 to 2019. This is more impressive than it may seem considering the baserunner-friendly rule changes that have helped stolen base rates rise by 3% across the league.
Gonzalez is not being brought back for his offensive production. He projects as a .235/.305/.295 hitter in 2020, which is below league average for catchers. Gonzalez may be lucky to hit more than 3 home runs and 30 RBI. However, this season’s 126-game schedule will increase Yovan’s value behind the plate. With 14 fewer games, it could be expected that the team can put Gonzalez behind the plate for an additional 3% of their games in 2020. All considered, no player is better-fitted to sign the first Somerset Patriots contract of 2020.