Can Carlos Quentin Return To His Old Form?

by Kyle Johansen

On the first day of September during the 2008 season, Carlos Quentin held line of .285/.391/.566 and led the American League with 36 home runs.  While Quentin’s season ended that day, only Miguel Cabrera finished the year with more long balls at 37.  Ever since his breakout season as a 25-year-old, Quentin has battled injuries and bad luck, frustrating hordes of fantasy owners along the way.  Here are his stats the past three years:


  AVG OBP SLG ISO BABIP
2008 .285 .391 .571 .283 .278
2009 .236 .323 .456 .219 .221
2010 .243 .342 .479 .236 .241

Clearly Quentin has an issue with his balls in play.  Part of the explanation for this is his increasingly high FB%:

  • 2008: 43.2%
  • 2009: 47.2%
  • 2010: 49.5%

We know that batters have a higher BABIP on ground balls and Quentin’s FB% along with a low LD% contribute to his low average.  At this point it’s likely only fair to assume a correction of around 10 points of average due to luck.  A .250 hitter can be plenty valuable as long as he’s going to contribute in other categories.

With an ISO remaining well above .200 despite his struggles, you have to wonder if Quentin’s power can save his value.  With one HR in every fifteen at bats in 2008, that’s the kind of pace that will make you forget about batting average.  A quick look at his HR/FB rate though, washes away hope of a 40+ HR season:

  •  2008: 20.7%
  •  2009: 14.8%
  •  2010: 14.1%

While Quentin’s home run pace the past two seasons has been solid, it’s not enough to mask the batting average considering he will not contribute any speed.  With one home run every twenty at bats, Quentin still projects to hit 30 HR if he can stay healthy all year, but without any batting average upside, we’re basically looking at Pat Burell redux. 

On the positive side, Quentin’s walk rate has rebounded from 7.8% in 2009 to 9.5% in 2010 after peaking at 11.6% in 2008.  If you’re playing in an OBP league without average, Quentin may be a decent option as a third or fourth outfielder.  In standard leagues, I think you can do better with a late pick.

What are your thoughts of Quentin?  Do you think he can rediscover his 2008 form?  Why or why not?

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