As most of you know, for the early part of the season Garrett Atkins was my favorite 3B Buy Low Sleeper, possibly my favorite of any position. Many of you listened to my advice, went out and got him, and are now starting to be rewarded for your faith. As much as I talked about Atkins (on the blog and in emails), I thought it necessary to give him a shout out now that he is finally performing.
Over the past week, Atkins is hitting .318 with 3 Home Runs and 10 RBIs, and his peripherals that were down a bit from last year are starting to pick up. Since the beginning of June, he has a 17% Walk rate and a 23% Line Drive rate. His Contact rate is still low (81.5% this month… I guess low by his standards), but his other numbers are great. He also has the highest Fly Ball rate of his career, and it has been 50% since the beginning of the month. It’s very impressive to post a FB% that great in combination with a solid LD%. His Ground ball rate has been just 27.5% this month. Fantastic.
While he has hit some HRs, he isn’t showing beastly power like he did last year. His 3 HRs this week went 372, 429, and 377 true feet, according to HitTracker. This is nothing to gawk at, but at least Atkins is able to get it over the fence now. And if his FB% can stay in the high 40s, he’ll be able to pick up a few extra shallow HRs just because of the sheer number of fly balls that he will hit out there. Still waiting on his 450+ power he showed last year, though. Call me optimistic, but now that he is hitting for contact and hitting balls further than he did to start the year, I don’t think it will be too long before we start seeing flashes of the Atkins from 2006.
It’s probably too late to buy on Atkins, but if his owner is sleeping or skeptical, I recommend getting him. There should be less than a handful of better Third Basemen the rest of the year.