Tue, Jun 29, 2010
After an 0-for-5 effort against the Phillies on May 14, Brewers outfielder Corey Hart owned an uninspiring stat line of three homers, 12 RBI, and a .247/.340/.416 triple slash through 27 games.
In 41 games since, Hart has punished opposing pitchers to the tune of 15 homers, 38 RBI and a .296 batting average. Through games played on Monday, June 28, Hart is tied for the N.L. lead in home runs with 18, while only Miguel Cabrera and David Wright have more RBI than Hart’s total of 60.
Hart is currently on pace to smash 41 homers and drive in 137 runs, which would top his career season highs of 24 dingers and 91 RBI.
The question Hart’s fantasy managers face is simple: Can he continue to hit at this incredible clip?
The answer: absolutely not.
Since his 2007 breakout campaign, Hart has posted the following HR/FB rates:
- 2007: 13.0 %
- 2008: 9.9 %
- 2009: 8.8 %
This season, however, Hart boasts an unlikely HR/FB rate of 18.9 percent, a number that ranks fifth among qualifying outfielders.
Another interesting trend lies in Hart’s batted ball rates over the last two and a half seasons:
Line drive rates:
- 2008: 19.2 %
- 2009: 17.2 %
- 2010: 15.8 %
Fly ball rates:
- 2008: 40.5 %
- 2009: 42.4 %
- 2010: 48.5 %
Simply put, Hart – in his age 28 season - has developed into a fly ball hitter. Incredibly enough, he’s done so without sacrificing his batting average. Through 251 at-bats this season, Hart boasts a .279 average, which is just a tick above his career mark of .274.
Hart’s walk rate is improving and his strikeout rate is in line with his career total. In addition to the aforementioned numbers, it would seem as though Hart’s evolution into a premier power hitter is legit. HitTrackerOnline, however, reveals a telling stat.
Of Hart’s 18 homers this season, eight of them (44.4 percent) have qualified as “just enough home runs,” meaning they “cleared the fence by less than 10 vertical feet, OR landed less than one fence height past the fence.”
Considering the MLB average for “just enough home runs” is about 31 percent, an overwhelming amount of Hart’s taters have been the result of a short fence or a generous wind.
A quick peak at Hart’s history reveals yet another revealing trend. In 351 career games before the All-Star Break, Hart owns a .281 batting average and has launched a homer once every 22.8 at-bats. Following the Mid Summer Classic, his average drops to .263 and he goes yard once every 27.2 at-bats.
It’s also worth noting that Hart owns a career .252 batting average in the month of July.
Given his current totals and lineup spot in a potent Milwaukee order, it’s still possible that Hart can approach 30 homers and 100 RBI on the season. While this would qualify as a second breakout season from the former 20/20 contributor, it would equate to just 12 homers and 40 RBI over the final two and a half months of the season.
He’s not necessarily due to fall flat on his face, but if you can find someone willing to value Hart as a 35 to 40-HR guy, turn a profit on the former waiver wire fodder and don’t look back.
Image courtesy of: Steve Paluch
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Tags: Corey Hart