Last week we looked at the slow starts of Rickie Weeks and Carlos Santana (click here to view) to try and determine if they could recover and become viable options this season. Today, let’s check out two more hitters who have significantly disappointed owners and see if there is any hope for recovery:
Adrian Gonzalez – Boston Red Sox – First Baseman
Wasn’t the move to Fenway Park supposed to mean more power for Gonzalez? Now nearly a year and a half since his trade from San Diego, it certainly hasn’t been the case.
While 2011 wasn’t a complete disaster (.338 and 27 HR), his start this year has been poor.
In 281 AB he’s hitting just .263 with 6 HR. In fact, when you dig into the numbers deeper you realize that last years average was buoyed by a .380 BABIP. While you would expect a better mark than the .305 he has this season, the fact that he has seen a regression should not be a surprise.
However, we would’ve still expected him to push .300 thanks to his power. After all, this is the same player who hit 40 home runs while playing half his games at Petco Park. Instead, thanks to a HR/FB of just 7.2% the power appears to have all dried up.
Does that mean he can’t recover? Of course not. He has still hit 22 doubles, so the potential to see the home runs come in droves is still there. All it is going to take is one hot streak, a 10 day stretch where he launches 5 home runs, and everyone is going to quickly forget about the slow start.
Throw in a 21.9% line drive rate, giving credence to an improved BABIP, and there is reason for optimism. Obviously some people are going to think at the power problems date back to the shoulder surgery he had prior to the 2011 season. Maybe it does, but did anyone complain about a .300 hitter with 25 HR in ’11? It may not be what you envisioned when you drafted him, but it is more than viable.
If someone in your league has lost hope, I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger to acquire him.
Desmond Jennings – Tampa Bay Rays – Outfielder
When he hit 10 HR with 20 SB in 247 AB in 2011 you knew expectations were going to get unreasonable. He was almost destined to be a disappointment, though his start to the 2012 is beyond that.
With his speed, a .238 average and .291 BABIP is almost unthinkable. He is producing a 22.7% line drive rate, so that’s not the problem. Could he be swinging for the fences a little too much (39.0% fly ball rate)? Perhaps, but it’s not enough to justify this type of struggle.
A .294 career minor league hitter, his strikeouts (20.6%) appear to be inline. In other words, everything adds together to his average enjoying a serious improvement over the final three months of the year.
Last years power surge likely deceived many, but he hit just 41 HR in 1,934 minor league at bats. If you thought he was going to suddenly hit 25, you were probably deluding yourself. He’s hit three thus far and, while he could get hot, 12 would be a good prediction. I wouldn’t expect much more than that for the year.
Throw in more stolen base and run potential with the improved average and what’s not to like? He already has 11 SB, so seeing him reach 10/25 is still realistic. How does that sound?
If you haven’t realized yet, Jennings should be considered a must buy in all formats.