Aubrey Huff- BAL- Hot- Huff went 3-for-4 to extend his current hitting streak to 10 games. It has not been one of those empty streaks, with a lot of 1-for-4 or 1-for-5 games, as he has 6 multi-hit games in that span and gone 18-for-38 with 6 doubles, 7 RBI and 5 runs scored. Before the streak Huff's Batting EYE had plummeted to a dismal .23, far below his career norm. It was the result of both a reduced walk ratio and increased strikeout ratio. He has improved the strikeout ratio, fanning just 4 times in the streak. The walk rate still needs to come up, as Huff has drawn only 2 free passes in the 10 games.
Julian Tavarez- BOS- Hot- Since my last blurb about Tavarez on May 12th he has gone undefeated, with a 3-0 record in 6 starts, and has posted a 3.65 ERA. It seems like Tavarez has developed more stamina, pitching effectively deeper into games. He has maintained his early dominance, with an opponents' batting average of .197 for his first 30 pitches (down from .211 on May 12th), but has lowered his season-long OBA for the rest of the game from .322 to .286. He is now a solid member of the Boston rotation, although he will probably go back to the bullpen when Jon Lester is deemed ready to return to Boston.
Zach Miner- DET- Inj Update- Miner threw a bullpen session yesterday and came out of it feeling fine. He will play catch and then, Emeril-like, will kick it up a notch in a side session tomorrow. He is hoping to be activated from the DL for next weekend's series against the Braves.
Howie Kendrick- LAA- Cold- Kendrick still has a problem with strike zone control. I don't care about the hype and I don't care how good his swing looks. A Batting EYE of .16 is not a recipe for success at the major league level. Even though Kendrick has managed to add a few points to his batting average this month by hitting .279, he has walked just twice while striking out 11 times. Even the 8-game hitting streak that ended with his 0-for-3 last night was not as impressive as the 12-for-33 might look at first glance. Of the game, 5 were 1-for-4 efforts so the batting average was driven by three of the games. Kendrick picked up those two walks for June during the streak, but struck out 6 times and added 2 more Ks last night. If Kendrick is going to live up to his alleged potential as a perennial batting average crown contender, he has to do a better job with the Batting EYE. Major league pitchers will find the weaknesses in his swing that minor leaguers failed to exploit.
Frank Thomas- TOR- Cold- The Big Hurt's main offensive weapon these days seems to be the base on balls. Yesterday he went 0-for-3 with 2 walks and that seems to be typical output. Thomas has posted an exceptional 1.17 Batting EYE and maintains a respectable .368 OBP, but his batting average has sunk to .223. He has a low BHIP (.197). but that is not out of line with his recent numbers, indicating that he has a lesser ability to beat out ground balls than does other players. In order to have some fantasy value with a batting average like that, a player needs to produce homers at a pace like Adam Dunn has in his low average/high OBP years. Thomas' 8 homers so far this season doesn't make up for the average. He has had a HOF career, but is far from a HOF year in 2007.
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