Thursday, May 16, 2013

Slow Starts I'm Not Worried About (AL)

Victor Martinez (.215/.272/.306)
The Bad: V-Mart has looked very rusty after missing all of 2012 with a torn ACL. Martinez didn't hit his first home run of the season until May 4th. Despite batting fifth in Detroit's lineup behind Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, he has just 18 RBI on the season. He's striking out more than ever before and has worked only two walks since April 20th. At 34, he's reached an age where most players begin to suffer marked deterioration in their performance.

Why he'll turn it around: That .234 BABiP is bound to come up, as will his 3.5 HR/FB%. His stellar track record suggests he's going to figure things out sooner or later, and when he does he's going to knock in truckloads of runs batting behind Cabrera and Fielder.

Josh Willingham (.205/.378/.411)
The Bad: After a solid opening month, Willingham has seen his power stroke disappear in May. In his past 14 games he has no home runs and just seven hits. He's seeing fewer strikes than last year, so pitchers may be trying to avoid him more.

Why he'll turn it around: High strikeout, feast-or-famine hitters like Willingham tend to be streaky. Let's just chalk his recent slide up to a standard slump and assume the next power binge is right around the corner, especially as the weather starts warming up.

Yoenis Cespedes (.204/.270/.435)
The Bad: Cespedes already spent time on the DL with a thumb injury, which may still be affecting his swing. He has just one multi-hit game in May and hasn't drawn a walk since May 3rd. He fanned 30 times in a 22 game span from April 2nd through May 10th. He stole 16 bases last year, when he finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting behind Mike Trout, but has yet to swipe one this year.

Why he'll turn it around: His .203 BABiP is due for some serious correction, especially when his line drive percentage (8.6) starts to climb.

Albert Pujols (.248/.328/.418)
The Bad: Playing on a surgically repaired knee and through plantar fasciitis seems to be taking its toll on the 33 year-old first baseman. His strikeout rate is the highest it's been since his rookie season. He's leading the league in double plays grounded into and is once again a main culprit for LA's sluggish start (though Josh Hamilton is more to blame).

Why he'll turn it around: Pujols was even worse last spring, when he batted just .192/.228/.277 through May 11th. From that point forward he batted .310/.373/.581. He's one of the best hitters of all time, and he's worthy of your patience. His .246 BABiP will rise, as will his 12.0 HR/FB%.

Adam Dunn (.156/.255/.391)
The Bad: There's a lot of bad. Dunn went 34 straight plate appearances without a base hit from April 12th to April 20th. He had just two multi-hit games in April and three overall. His walk rate is way down. His numbers don't look much better than they did in 2011, when he had one of the worst seasons a hitter has ever had. The last place White Sox need more from him.

Why he'll turn it around: After slamming three home runs in his past two games, Dunn may already be emerging from the depths of his early season slump. Given that he's totaled at least 38 dingers in eight of the past nine years, the home runs are going to start coming in bunches. His .155 BABiP has nowhere to go but up.

No comments:

Post a Comment