Consistency meter: Brad Hawpe

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Do we really know what Hawpe will do in 2009? Perhaps… (Icon/SMI)

In the past two Consistency Meters, the players we have looked at have been relatively good. Today, the player we are going to examine is a little different: He has had playing time issues over the past few years and was even mentioned as a possible platoon player because of his struggles against righties. Still, he has managed to put up similar numbers the past three years.

Background

The player I’m talking about is Brad Hawpe and his numbers over the past three seasons look like this:

+------+-----+---------+-----+-------+----+-----+----+----+
| YEAR | AGE | TEAM    | AB  | BA    | HR | RBI | R  | SB |
+------+-----+---------+-----+-------+----+-----+----+----+
| 2006 |  26 | Rockies | 499 | 0.293 | 22 |  84 | 67 |  5 |
| 2007 |  27 | Rockies | 516 | 0.291 | 29 | 116 | 80 |  0 |
| 2008 |  28 | Rockies | 488 | 0.283 | 25 |  85 | 69 |  2 |
+------+-----+---------+-----+-------+----+-----+----+----+

Hawpe has been a write-in for a .290 batting average and 25 home runs for the past three years. In fact, the most alarming question mark surrounding him—the possible platoon because of his abominable lefty/righty split—has been alleviated with the Holliday trade and his improving numbers against right handers. So off the bat, 2009 appears to be another predictable season for Hawpe. Let’s take a deeper look into his numbers to find out.

Power skills

+------+-----+---------+-----+----+-----+-------+--------+--------+-----+--------+
| YEAR | AGE | TEAM    | AB  | HR | tHR | HR/FB | tHR/FB | nHR/FB | RAW | OF_FB% |
+------+-----+---------+-----+----+-----+-------+--------+--------+-----+--------+
| 2006 |  26 | Rockies | 499 | 22 |  15 |    17 |     12 |     11 | 3.9 |     34 |
| 2007 |  27 | Rockies | 516 | 29 |  18 |    19 |     12 |     12 | 3.9 |     40 |
| 2008 |  28 | Rockies | 488 | 25 |  24 |    18 |     18 |     18 | 0.0 |     38 |
+------+-----+---------+-----+----+-----+-------+--------+--------+-----+--------+

(If you’re new to THT Fantasy Focus and are unfamiliar with True Home Runs (tHR) or any of the other stats I’m using, check out our quick reference guide. These stats provide a much clearer picture of a player’s talent, so it’s worth taking a couple of minutes to learn them.)

Hawpe’s stable home run numbers have been backed by an even more stable home run per fly ball percentage (HR/FB). His slight uptick in home runs in 2007 can be traced to simply hitting more outfield flies.

What is interesting are the True Home Run (tHR) numbers. Hawpe significantly outperformed what tHR expected from him in both 2006 and 2007, but then in 2008 his actual home runs reconciled with his true home runs. This suggests that Hawpe had the skills of a 15-20 home run hitter in 2006 and 2007, but got lucky and hit about 10 more than he should have. Then, in 2008, Hawpe’s power skills improved to that of a 25 home run hitter and his luck was neutral, so he hit 25 home runs.

I do not expect Hawpe’s home run totals to suddenly jump above or below what they have been. The 29-year-old season is a peak power year for most hitters, so if Hawpe’s skills improve a little more, I would not be surprised. My prediction is that they will stay relatively the same, though, and Hawpe will hit 26 home runs in 2009.

If you are thinking that 2008 Raw Power (RAW) score of 0.0 in 2008 is a typo, it is not. RAW is simply the number of balls hit at least 420 feet per 100 fly balls. So Hawpe hit zero balls over the 420 mark in 2008. There is not enough RAW data to determine predictive value, so I am not going to draw any conclusions; I would not even call the drop concerning.

Contact skills

+------+-----+---------+-----+-------+-------+-----+-------+--------+-----+--------+---------+
| YEAR | AGE | TEAM    | AB  | BA    | tBA   | CT% | BABIP | mBABIP | LD% | BIP/HR | BIP/tHR |
+------+-----+---------+-----+-------+-------+-----+-------+--------+-----+--------+---------+
| 2006 |  26 | Rockies | 499 | 0.293 | 0.269 |  75 | 0.350 |  0.337 |  22 |     17 |      25 |
| 2007 |  27 | Rockies | 516 | 0.291 | 0.266 |  73 | 0.346 |  0.340 |  21 |     13 |      21 |
| 2008 |  28 | Rockies | 488 | 0.283 | 0.276 |  73 | 0.343 |  0.337 |  23 |     14 |      15 |
+------+-----+---------+-----+-------+-------+-----+-------+--------+-----+--------+---------+

Hawpe has consistently been able to outperform his True Batting Average (tBA) numbers. I can attribute this partially in 2006 and 2007 to the lucky home run totals mentioned before. He also always finds a way to outperform his Marcel BABIP numbers (mBABIP), which I can attribute to the last few points of discrepancy between his True Batting Average and actual average.

Even if his BABIP drops a few points to what Marcel projects for him, just know it would negatively affect his batting average only about .005 points.

+------+-----+---------+-----+-----+------------+------+-------------+----------+
| YEAR | AGE | TEAM    | AB  | CT% | JUDGMENT X | A/P  | BAT CONTROL | BAD BALL |
+------+-----+---------+-----+-----+------------+------+-------------+----------+
| 2006 |  26 | Rockies | 499 |  75 |        106 | 0.40 |          82 |       48 |
| 2007 |  27 | Rockies | 516 |  73 |        111 | 0.39 |          76 |       50 |
| 2008 |  28 | Rockies | 488 |  73 |        107 | 0.47 |          79 |       52 |
+------+-----+---------+-----+-----+------------+------+-------------+----------+

Looking at Hawpe’s plate discipline stats, we see he has above-average judgment of pitches (Judgment X). However, when he does make a mistake in judgment, more often than not the mistake comes from being too passive (or not swinging). While he would most likely benefit from being more aggressive, there is no evidence to suggest he will be in the future.

Hawpe is not particularly adept at identifying and making contact with pitches, whether they are inside (Bat Control) or outside (Bad Ball) the strike zone. For this reason—because he strikes out too often— Hawpe will never become a .300 hitter. However he is good at making solid contact with the ball, evident by his high line drive percentages (LD%). As long as he can keep that nice line drive rate going, his BABIPs should remain inflated, thereby keeping his batting average afloat in the .280 range.

Final thoughts

Based on the numbers, it seems that Brad Hawpe will continue to produce at the same level as in years past. A .275 average with 22 home runs would be my low end projection and a .285/30 season would be my high end one. The most important thing to notice from those projections, besides the actual numbers, is how similar they are to each other. Barring injury, those numbers can be written down in the books ladies and gents, with pen.

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