Brad Hawpe has found a new home in San Diego, though it isn’t to man the outfield. Hawpe has been tabbed by the Padres to help fill the gaping hole left by the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. At the major league level he’s appeared in just nine games at the position, though he did log 215 games there while in the minors.
His glove will be a question, at least early on, but the bigger issue for fantasy owners will be his bat. From 2006-2009 while a member of the Rockies, Hawpe didn’t hit below .283 while averaging nearly 25 home runs a year. Unfortunately, last year he hit just .245 with 9 HR spending time with the Rockies and Rays.
The average is a fair concern, considering his BABIP over his four strong seasons:
- 2006 – .348
- 2007 – .341
- 2008 – .341
- 2009 – .356
It’s not hard to imagine that luck running out, sooner or later, though the consistency has to make you think it is believable. Last season he posted a .308 mark. The problem is, if the luck isn’t going to be there, his average is going to fall. For his career he has posted a 26.8% strikeout rate (a mark he has been above the past three seasons). Over the past five years he has hit .310 at Petco Park, with 5 HR in 129 AB. That’s promising, but he also had a .372 BABIP.
Even in the vast expanses of Petco Park, we are probably better off expecting an average around .270, as opposed to anything above that.
The power is also a concern. It is hard to imagine him returning to the 25+ HR range, considering what will now be his home ballpark. In that ballpark he has hit a home run about once every 26 AB. In 450 AB, that would put him at 17 HR. Granted, he could really shine on the road, but like with the average, expectations need to be tempered.
You also have to remember that, sooner or later, Kyle Blanks will be returning and easily could claim the job as his own. However, with the ability to get AB in the outfield (Ryan Ludwick & Will Venable are the Padres starting corner outfielder), if he hits the AB will likely be there.
It may sound like I am being extremely negative of Hawpe, but the fact of the matter is that after last season it is tough to go into 2011 expecting him to return to his 2006-2009 levels. With that said, in five outfielder formats he is going to be a player worth gambling on. Even if he does hit .270 with 17 HR, he is going to have some value as a depth option, if nothing else. Knowing that he has the potential to exceed those numbers, he’s a better late round option then many others.
What are your thoughts on Hawpe? Is he a player you’d draft? Why or why not?
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