Nick Markakis: After a strong second-half to finish off his rookie campaign, it has been a mixed bag for Markakis in his sophomore season, 9/39/.267. There has been some nice growth in his power, 28 extra base hits in 257 AB, fully supported by growth in his FB%, 2006/2007 FB%'s of 29%/42%. On the flip side, he has regressed in his CT%, 82% down from 85% in 2006, and his batting eye, .48 down from .60 in 2006. For now, owners of Markakis can enjoy some nice power, but he will need to improve on his approach at the plate to get his batting average to where it was last year, .291.
Travis Hafner: Hafner power has been down, 10 home runs and just 8 doubles in 225 AB. The power outage has carried over to his batting average, .267, but he is still contributing in the RBI department with 46. His GB% is an uncharacteristic 48%, up from 39% last year. He is a veteran with a nice track record, so the smart money says that the high GB% is a fluke and that he will return to his career norms. Look for a power surge from Hafner.
Ivan Rodriquez: On the surface it looks like Rodriquez is having a nice season, 6/34/.293 with 17 doubles, but there are some warning signs lurking beneath the surface. His GB% is in a four-year uptrend, 44%/48%/50%/53%, suggesting that a power fade could be coming. The .293 batting average is not supported by his underlying numbers, an atrocious .12 batting eye and an 85% Ct%. There has to be a lot of wear and tear on his body, as he is now 36 year of age with 17 years of major league experience behind the plate. This could be a good time for owners of Rodriguez to talk up his numbers and deal him.
Carlos Guillen: Gullen's hamstring strain is likely to keep him out through the weekend. He is having a nice season, 8/32/.305. The power, 27 extra base hits in 210 AB, is a nice follow-up from last year's 19 home runs and 41 doubles. His .305 batting maybe actually have some upside, as he has a .242 BHIP% compared with a three-year average of .282. One area where he will most likely not be contributing in is stolen bases. After getting caught 9 times in 29 attempts last year, he has been caught 4 times in 9 tries this year.
Dioner Navarro: Navarro has struggled this year with .179 average, while hitting for very little power, 0 home runs and 8 doubles in 156 AB. A .154 BHIP% is depressing his average, but Navarro has yet to show the excellent contact skills that he displayed in the minors at the major league level, 81% in 2007. The high FB% of 44% is translating into a lot of fly ball outs now, but could develop into power as his 23 year-old body matures. Besides the return of some good fortune and with the power probably a few year away, the key to getting his average up will be making better contact. Considering that he does not have much competition for the starting job, he will get every opportunity to hit his way out of this slump.
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