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Rockies set to call up Carlos Gonzalez

Earlier this week Matt Holliday talked about whether or not the A’s will end up trading him during the next two months, but in the meantime the Rockies are calling up the centerpiece of the deal that sent Holliday to Oakland.

Carlos Gonzalez is expected to join the Rockies in time for tonight’s game after the 23-year-old, left-handed hitting outfielder batted .339/.418/.630 with 10 homers, 29 total extra-base hits, and 59 RBIs in 48 games at Triple-A.

Those numbers are inflated quite a bit by the extremely hitter-friendly environment at Colorado Springs, but .339/.418/.630 is still damn good and he hit .316/.398/.541 on the road along with .362/.439/.723 at home. Originally signed by Arizona as a 17-year-old out of Venezuela in 2002, Gonzalez has already been the main prospect on the move in trades for Dan Haren and Matt Holliday, which says plenty about both his long-term upside and current flaws.

He’s hit .291 in 632 games as a minor leaguer and looks capable of smacking 30 homers annually with Coors Field on his side, but aside from his time at Triple-A he’s rarely walked and struck out quite a bit, posting an ugly 446/156 K/BB ratio between rookie-ball, Single-A, and Double-A. He also struggled mightily with the A’s last season, hitting .242/.273/.361 with a hideous 81/13 K/BB ratio in 85 games.

On the other hand, Gonzalez has a very solid 73/44 K/BB ratio in 460 plate appearances at Triple-A, along with hitting .312/.385/.526. He’s never going to draw a ton of walks, but if his control of the strike zone at Triple-A is for real Gonzalez certainly looks capable of developing above-average plate discipline and at the very least is safely beyond the swing-at-everything career path that has doomed so many promising prospects.

Dexter Fowler’s presence means that Gonzalez won’t be manning center field in Colorado, but he rated well there last year according to Ultimate Zone Rating and should be a strong defensive corner outfielder. In terms of raw talent he’s among the most promising young outfielders in baseball and if his newfound plate discipline is here to stay Gonzalez’s second stint in the majors may last for a couple decades.