We’ve got a lot of guys to talk about, so we’ll jump right into it.
Ryan Spilborghs | COL | OF | 1.3% – I’ve talked about him a lot over the past couple of weeks. Spilborghs should be a good bet for average in addition to home runs and RBIs.
Jose Vidro | SEA | 1B/2B | 3.0% – .347 BABIP is too high, but he has a 90% contact, 11% walk, and 20% line drive rate, so he should still put up a pretty good average. With a BABIP regression to .315, his batting average would be .291. Doesn’t have much power or speed, but he could grab a decent amount of runs.
Conor Jackson | ARZ | 1B | 4.9% – Even if his 7.1% HR/FB doesn’t increase another hundreth of a point, I would still expect Jackson to hit .300 the rest of the way. His 88% contact rate is good, but when you look at his 12% walk and 20% line drive rates, his .287 BABIP is just too low. Crank that up to .320, and Jackson is hitting .301.
Casey Kotchman | LAA | 1B | 7.4% – His 15% line drive rate is a little worrisome, but he is selective at the plate (9% walk rate) and makes a ton of contact (91% contact rate). Batting average might come down a bit, but he should still be a pretty solid bet for a good average.
Brian Giles | SD | OF | 4.7% – Giles is one of the better guys on this list. 88% contact rate, 12% walk, and 21% line drive rates are very good. His .332 BABIP is modest enough to lead us to believe Giles should be able to post a batting average over .295, even if it regresses a bit.
James Loney | LAD | 1B | 4.7% – We are looking at a sample size of 199 at-bats, but so far, Loney has been great, contact wise. His 24% line drive rate support the .337 BABIP, although he might not be able to keep hitting so many line drives. His 86% contact rate is also good, so — while risky — Loney could help certain teams out.
Milton Bradley | SD | OF | 1.2% – .358 BABIP will come down. If it regresses to a reasonable .310 mark, he would hit .285. Will be able to grab a handful of homers and steals, too.
Scott Hatteberg | CIN | 1B | 0.1% – You would think a guy with an 88% contact, 12% walk, and 20% line drive rate over his career would be able to manage more than a .273 batting average and .289 BABIP. So what’s different about this year’s .301/.309 marks? It’s his career high 24% line drive rate and 10% HR/FB rate. He could find himself closer to his career marks the rest of the way, though, with just a 21% line drive rate since the All-Star break and 15% line drive rate this month. And come September, Joey Votto will be with the club and could cut into his at-bats. Opt for other players.
Mark Grudzielanek | KC | 2B | 0.7% – I had expected to say you should target this guy, but his career low 17% line drive and always low 4% walk rate make me skeptical of his .334 BABIP. His 88% contact rate doesn’t do enough to save him, in my opinion. Go for safer options.
Andre Ethier | LAD | OF | 0.4% – While his numbers are good, Ethier doesn’t get regular at-bats. When looking trying to make up ground in the batting average category, at-bats are very important. The more at-bats of a good batting average, the more impact it will have on your team’s average. 87% contact, 9% walk, 19% line drive rates are pretty good. BABIP might regress from .317 just a tad, but he should still be able to hit over .290. Still, his value is limited because of his at-bats.
Kenny Lofton | CLE | OF | 11.7% – In the same boat as Ethier. Good, sustainable numbers, but not enough at-bats to make a better option than other guys on this list.
Mike Lamb | HOU | 1B | 0.5% – His pretty good power (13% HR/FB), combined with an 11% walk rate and 19% line drive rate allow Lamb to keep batting average over .290. Still, he’s another guy in the Andre Ethier, part-time play-time mold.
Anyway, I hope that helps. I’ll try and finish up the rest of the series tomorrow.