Quick Hit: Ryan Doumit

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Since 2005, Ryan Doumit has taunted us with his ability.  He’s shown flashes of brilliance, with the Pirates doing what they could to keep him in the line-up, but injuries always seemed to curtail any progress.  He’s had DL stints each of the past three seasons, though he still managed to set his career high in AB last season.  Let’s see how he produced in those chances:

431 At Bats
.318 Batting Average (137 Hits)
15 Home Runs
69 RBI
71 Runs
2 Stolen Bases
.357 On Base Percentage
.501 Slugging Percentage
.338 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Those are awfully impressive numbers, especially from a catcher.  Are they repeatable, however?  That is the big question.

The HR certainly should be, as his FB% and HR/FB have been very steady since he made his major league debut in 2005:

  • 2005 – 32.1 FB%, 10.2% HR/FB
  • 2006 – 37.6 FB%, 14.6% HR/FB
  • 2007 – 37.6 FB%, 12.3% HR/FB
  • 2008 – 35.2 FB%, 11.2% HR/FB

There’s no reason to think things are suddenly going to change.  If he can stay on the field and reach 500 AB, 20 HR will certainly be within his grasp.  Health is going to be the one thing that can put a wrench in those plans, and given his track record there’s definite cause for concern.

The average is a different story.  After striking out over 20% of the time in each of his first three seasons, he suddenly made significantly more contact, posting a K% of just 12.8%.  The odd thing is that you would think that it came due to a better eye at the plate, but his walks actually decreased to 5.1% (from 8.0% in 2007).

His BABIP was also on the high side, at .338.  It’s possible he could repeat that, but I would expect a regression.  Couple that with a bit of an increase in strikeouts, and you have to expect the average to fall in 2009.

He’s a prime cog in the Pirates line-up, possibly even as the clean-up hitter, so RBI chances are likely to be there for him.  He also proved capable of scoring runs, though that’s going to be dependent on the hitters protecting him in the line-up.  Brandon Moss and Andy LaRoche?  I wouldn’t expect him to continue scoring at such a high clip, unless one of those players really takes off.

So, let’s take a look at what I’d expect from him this season:

.289 (145-502), 19 HR, 78 RBI, 67 R, 3 SB, .323 BABIP, .340 OBP, .478 SLG

Additionally, I have him striking out 93 times (K% of 18.53%) and walking 35 times (BB% of 6.52%).

As you can tell, I think Doumit is going to be one of the better catchers available to you, but I’m not quite as high on him as some others.  I see too many holes in the average to fully buy into the .318 number he posted last season.  If he does it again, then I’ll believe, but given what he’s shown us thus far in his career it just doesn’t come off as repeatable to me.

What do you think?  Am I being overly harsh?  Do you think he’ll outperform these estimates?

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

1 COMMENT

  1. New reader here. Really enjoy your stuff.

    I think you are spot on with Doumit. The declining walk rate is a big red flag in my mind. Lineup protection is usually not something I worry about, but with the Pirates offense being so abysmal this year, I think that Doumit’s inability to take a pitch will make him an easy target for opposing pitchers.

    Bottom line, I won’t be paying the necessary price to get him on draft day.

  2. No, I do not think you are being particularly harsh. He has yet to put together a “full” season because of injuries, so we’ll see if he gets to around the 140 games. If he does, watch out.

  3. i have to say i hope u are wrong and he out performs your projections as i own him but i also see a regression in avg and the injury concerns are valid…..the rest of the projections appear on the money…..

  4. C-Mack, welcome! I really appreciate you joining us. If there is anything that you’d like to see here on the site, just let me know and I’ll do what I can.

    Big O, from what I’ve seen he suffered the following injuries:
    – 2006 he had hamstring problems
    – 2007 he suffered injuries to his wrist and ankle
    – 2008 he broke his thumb

  5. Sound arguments to me. I wouldn’t mind those stats at all out of the catching position. BTW, Doumit was 12th in ABs for all MLB C’s. (Surprisingly, Mauer was 2nd!) Injuries and off-days are going to happen behind the plate, that’s why I never overspend on catching.

  6. Not sure where to request this, but I would really like to see a Quick Hit on Doumit’s teammate, Andy LaRoche. Talk about a post-hype sleeper that seems totally off anyone’s radar. I have yet to see anyone even spend any effort on any analysis — he usually justs gets a very low projection and maybe a mention that he might be a AAAA player. What I really want to see is a thorough analysis of a player who once “oozed” potential (.300 / 30HR) but after 300-odd at-bats in the majors is now being totally written off. Unless I missed something, he is still slated to start at 3B for the Pirates. What can we REALLY expect from him in 09?

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