Frank Catalanotto: Catalanotto, who has missed some time with a shoulder injury, is having a tough time at the plate, 4/14/.181 in 94 AB. Over the last four seasons, he has been a consistent high batting average contributor, 2003/2004/2005/2006 averages of .299/.293/.301/300. His contact rate of 86% and BB/K of .69 are in-line with his historical levels and he is actually hitting for more power, 4 home runs vs. 7 in 437 AB last year. The real problem is an absurdly low .123 BHIP%. Once that begins to normalize and with his good skills, there will be some big batting average upside.
Vernon Wells: Wells continues to struggle with only 1 home run in his last 149 AB. For the season he has just 5 home runs, but is still showing some power with 17 doubles. The lack of home runs is puzzling considering that he smacked 32 last year with 40% FB% and this year his FB% has grown to 47%. Unless there is a hidden injury, if he keeps hitting fly balls at this rate, the home runs should increase, especially since he plays his home games in a park that boosts right-handed batting power by 28%.
Eric Chavez: Chavez is showing some nice power, 9 home runs and 15 doubles in 230 AB, but is not hitting for average, .239. A .191 BHIP% can partially explain the average, but either Chavez has consciously opened up his swing to generate more power or there is some skills erosion beneath the surface. His 77% Ct% and .42 batting eye are both below last year's numbers of a 79% Ct% and .84 BB/K. In either case, Chavez owners will have to live with a low average but good power.
Curtis Granderson: Granderson clearly has outstanding speed with an unbelievable 12 triples so far this year and a perfect 6 for 6 in stolen bases. It is a bit of a mystery of why he is not running more often. Perhaps Manager Jim Leyland remembers last year when he was caught 5 times in 13 tries. He is just 26 years old and only in his third season, so the 100% SB% this year is the mark of a speedster improving his technique. If he gets the green light more often, he could be a serious contributor in that category.
Jason Kendall: Kendall continues to hit for a low average, .198 in 197 AB. Part of the problem is bad luck in the form of a .214 BHIP%, but Kendall's complete lack of power, just 2 extra-base, and declining speed are contributing to the low average. His Ct% of 89% and BB/K of .41 are also below his historical numbers and without any power he needs those skills to be higher if there is to be a significant batting average recovery. This is Kendall's 12th season as a full-time catcher and as the season goes on; it is looking more and more like an age-related skills decline for the 33 year-old. Once some luck returns, there will be batting average upside, but he will not come close to duplicating the .295 average that he produced last year.
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