Quick Fall From Grace For Cleveland Guardians Outfielder

After becoming an instant postseason hero for his exploits last October for the Cleveland Guardians, it's taken just over a month into his second season for young Oscar Gonzalez to earn himself a demotion to the minors.

Guardians manager Terry Francona explained why the move was made now. 

"We might be doing Oscar now a disservice by playing him sparingly... Last year when we called him up, he had a lot of at-bats under his belt and felt really good about himself," said Francona.

Indeed, in 2022, upon his promotion, the then-24-year-old slugged 11 homers with 43 RBIs in just half a season, while batting .296 with an OPS+ of 125 (25% better than the league-average hitter). 

He carried that mojo into the postseason, when he had two walk-off hits, including a 15th-inning home run that catapulted the Guardians past the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card Series. 

This year, however, Gonzalez was hitting just .192 with a .508 OPS, which had forced Francona to sit him out often recently. They're hoping he goes back down to Triple-A and with everyday at-bats, gets himself back to form. He's only 25, plenty of time to win his way back to The Show.

Photo: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports