I talk all the time about how you should pay attention to how a guy controls the strike zone, how looking at a fellas BB/K ratio can often times be a key indicator of what might happen with a guys batting average. Below I’ll touch on some guys that have had problems producing a BB/K rate that is league average. What does that mean for each guy moving forward?
Current League Average for BB/K: 0.39.
J.P. Arencibia is on pace for 30 homers an about 75 runs batted in. He’s picked his average up of late too, though it’s not that hard to do when a hot streak gets you to .227 on the year. He’s got a huge total of 83 strikeouts and only eight walks. His 0.10 BB/K mark is the worst in baseball among qualifiers. Woof.
Starlin Castro has hit .147 the past 30 days, the worst mark for a full-time player in the NL during that time. This guy is a career .287 hitter, literally twice as good as he’s been the past month. Castro has struggled all season hitting just .228, an atrocious mark for a guy who has hit .300, .307 and .283 the past three seasons. Not blaming just his approach, but it certainly doesn’t help. His walk rate is a career low, his K-rate is a career-high. The result us a 0.20 BB/K mark, this after two years with marks of 0.36 and, what do you know, 0.36. Castro also has a career-high swinging strike rate and he’s also got the lowest contact rate of his career. I’d be buying low though – he’s just so talented.
Back before it was stolen, I was the owner of a 1993 Supercharged Mustang Cobra that was laying down 400 hp at 99,000 miles. Those were the days of beer, chicks and burning out. Come to think of it, there might have been some of that just 10 days ago in Hawaii in my Mazda 3. I know, I’m an animal.
Carlos Gomez is not only dealing with a shoulder issue after slamming into the wall, he’s also dealing with a complete lack of strike zone control. Though currently hitting .313, there is no chance that Gomez can possibly hit .300 with his current 0.18 BB/K ratio. That just doesn’t happen. Always removed from any type of understanding of the strike zone, his 0.18 BB/K ratio would actually be a five year low. That’s right, a player who was always terrible in judging pitches and showing patience is worse at it than normal this season… and his batting average is up .060 points. Good luck with sustaining that.
Josh Hamilton has been the proud owner of a slightly below league average BB/K mark of about 0.40 the past three years, but this year that number is down to 0.26. Now this is the only reason for his struggles, the guys is still all over the place messed up, but it is one of the explanations for the drop in average down to .214, this from a guy who has hit .359, .298 and .285 the past three years.
Starling Marte – I said before the year he had no chance to go 20/30 this year. Of course, after his two homer game last night, giving him eight on the year, a Twitter follower threw that statement in my face. Uh, before last night he was on pace for 12 homers this season. Second, the homers last night were his his first in 10 games and he’s got a total of three homers in 42 games. He’s got a fantastic total of 22 steals, but he’s still a very raw player with 72 Ks and 13 walks (0.18 BB/K). Oh yeah, after hitting .327 in April he’s hit .258 over his last 46 games as well.
Mark Trumbo is hitting .202 the past 30 days. Mark Trumbo is hitting .252 on the year. Look Trumbo has hit .254 and .268 the past two years so it’s hardly a shock to see his batting average fall into the .250′s. Trumbo has walked more than ever before this season so his 0.41 BB/K ratio, just a smidge above the league average, is actually an improvement upon his 0.21 and 0.24 marks from the past two years. Still, he’s just not going to be a batting average booster, just ain’t happening. After hitting 29 and 32 homers the past two seasons he’s on pace for about 35 big flies this season. He’s the same hitter he’s been the past two years despite a bit better strike zone control.
Dayan Viciedo has hit .172 the past 30 days, the 4th worst mark in baseball. This guy has no clue when he is struggling. Last season he produced a 0.23 BB/K mark with 28 walks in 505 at-bats. This season that mark is virtually unchanged at 0.22 with 46 KS in 195 at-bats. He hit .255 last season with a .300 OBP. He’s been even worse with a .231 average and .268 OBP. He’s got plenty of power, but he’s also not flashed that this season either with only five homers through 54 games (he went deep 25 times in 147 games last season). The only time he goes deep is when a pitcher makes a mistake. Otherwise, hurlers can just work the edges of the plate and Dayan will go a chasin.
By Ray Flowers