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
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?
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