I have always had one major concern with Shin-Soo Choo and that was his average. Those concerns came courtesy of a consistently elevated BABIP, but back-to-back 20/20 seasons certainly help to assuage these concerns. It’s hard not to like an outfielder who posted the following numbers in 2010:
550 At Bats
.300 Batting Average (165 Hits)
22 Home Runs
22 Stolen Bases
.401 On Base Percentage
.484 Slugging Percentage
.347 Batting Average on Balls in Play
The average concerns continue to be legitimate. He’s had at least 300 at bats in a season for the past three years, posting the following BABIP:
- 2008 – .367
- 2009 – .370
- 2010 – .347
Clearly, his stolen base totals show that he has speed, so maybe he can legitimately continue to post these elevated marks, but it’s certainly no guarantee. Yes, he did show an improvement in his strikeout rate at 21.5% (he had been 24.6% and 25.9% the prior two years), but if the luck decreases he will no longer be a .300 hitter.
Is he going to regress all the way down to the .260s? Not likely, but he certainly could fall to the .280 range or so, especially if the improvement in strikeouts is a façade.
It’s hard to argue with the rest of the numbers. He’s likely to join Carlos Santana in the middle of the order, meaning there should be ample opportunities for him to continue to both drive in and score runs. He was solid with runners in scoring position (.311, 8 HR, 66 RBI), as he also was in 2009 (.287, 6 HR, 66 RBI).
If both Grady Sizemore and Santana can return healthy, things only look all the more appealing. The top of the lineup would certainly appear solid, and could be a force for several years to come.
The power has come based off of realistic HR/FB (which in 2010 was at 14.6%). His fly ball rate has been as consistent as possible (36.1%, 36.1% and 35.0%). There is just no reason to think that anything will be different in 2011 or beyond.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at what I would expect from him in 2011:
.285 (164-575), 21 HR, 90 RBI, 85 R, 24 SB, .341 BABIP, .381 OBP, .468 SLG
Those are solid numbers for any player and would mean that Choo would be a Top 20 outfielder at year’s end. While it’s not likely that he takes the next step and become an OF1, he’s going to continue to be a solid option in all formats. He’s an OF2 and is certainly someone you should be targeting on draft day with his ability to contribute in all five categories.
What are your thoughts? How good could he be? What type of numbers would you expect from him?
Make sure to check out some of our 2011 projections: