Oscar Gonzalez is making an impact for the Guardians at the right time

Division Series - Cleveland Guardians v New York Yankees - Game Two
Division Series - Cleveland Guardians v New York Yankees - Game Two / Elsa/GettyImages

Oscar Gonzalez is finding a way to be a contributor since returning to the Cleveland Guardians. This is coming at just the right time, as Cleveland is fighting to stay relevant in the American League Central division.

SpongeBob struggled to start the year with a .192/.213/.288 slash line with two doubles, one triple, and one home run while striking out 15 times and walking twice. This was a subpar 23 wRC+ in 75 plate appearances per FanGraphs. Not exactly the level of production expected of him coming off the hot end to last season. Some regression was expected for Gonzalez as this was the literal definition of unsustainable, but nobody expected this much.

Entering Wednesday, since returning from Triple-A Columbus, Gonzalez is slashing .327/.370/.449 with four doubles and one triple while driving in three runs. Gonzalez's weighted runs created plus has jumped nearly 100 points as it currently sits at 126 in 54 plate appearances.

The strikeout-to-walk ratio is still concerning (11-3), but he is putting the ball in play. With a .410 BAbip, the ball is finding a way to land, allowing Gonzalez to reach base. This will drop a bit as .300 is considered league average, but the Guardians will certainly take what they are getting from Gonzalez while he is still collecting hits. For reference, Gonzalez's BAbip last season was .345.

Gonzalez is hitting the ball harder since rejoining the big league club. It was a hard-hit rate of 22.4% during his first stint in Cleveland. This has jumped up to 35.9% since rejoining the Guardians. The hit distribution has also improved, going from 25.9% pull, 48.3% center, and 25.9% opposite field to 35.9%, 28.2%, and 35.9%, showing some much-needed maturation in his approach at the plate.

Who knows? Maybe another Oscar Gonzalez has another SpongeBob run in him. Perhaps he can help propel the Guardians back to the postseason. The way he is playing right now is very similar to how he did to end last season (except for the lack of home runs), and when a supporting player can produce like this, anything is possible.