Troy Glaus(notes), Atlanta Braves
The Naked Truth: .283/.377.473, 10 HR, 42 RBI
Having a nice little Saturday: Troy Glaus had an awful April, just one year removed from spring shoulder surgery and a 5-for-29 September comeback. He entered the month of May batting .194, and Atlantans were whispering that his battered body just might not have much baseball left. In the 31 games since then, he's hit .339/.420/.589 with eight homers and 33 RBI, going from an afterthought to NL RBI leader, and picking up NL Player of the Month honors for his troubles.
You're my boy, Blue!: It turns out that post-surgery Glaus is a lot like pre-surgery Glaus: After his April slump and May boom, his homer, strikeout, and walk rates this year are all nearly identical to his career numbers. This year and for his career, he's hit a homer in around 5 percent of his plate appearances, struck out in around 20 percent, and walked in around 13 percent. This means that his strike zone management and his power are both relatively similar to his normal career levels.
One thing that is likely to change? That .284 batting average, which, believe it or not, would actually be a career high. Troy has always been a low-average guy, with a career BA of .256 and a career BABIP of .282. Odds are good that he'll keep on walking and slugging. But he probably won't turn into a .300 hitter at age 33. Braves fans should expect a few more of those singles to turn into groundouts.
Think KFC will still be open?: Right now, Troy isn't doing anything he didn't do repeatedly over the last 10 years. He's gained a reputation for fragility following extended DL stints in 2007 and 2009, but they don't yet appear to have sapped his effectiveness at the plate. As long as he's healthy, he stands to be one of the better power hitters in the NL East.
Corey Hart(notes), Milwaukee Brewers .256/.332/.573, 14 HR, 35 RBI
Hart had a thrilling May, hitting 11 homers in 17 games from May 15 to June 1, but, sadly, it isn't enough. His strikeout and walk rates are as bad as they were last year, and with his low batting average, that has contributed to an unacceptable .326 career OBP. There's some hope that he's getting unlucky, considering his .241 BABIP, but right now he looks like the same guy he's always been, with a few more fluky homers in the mix, rather than a truly improved hitter.
David Ortiz(notes) .273/.361/.594, 12 HR, 33 RBI
Wrong again. Just one short month ago, I wrote of Ortiz's struggles and said that "I'm not sure he can be rebooted." Of course, all he's done since then is hit .341/.426/.758 with 11 HR and 29 RBI, picking up May AL Player of the Month honors, as the Sox have gone 20-13. (I wrote him off in May '09, too, and I was just as wrong then.) So should I stop predicting Ortiz's imminent demise? Or should Red Sox fans be concerned that their slugger is striking out much more often than usual and hitting homers at an unsustainable rate? He may well wind up with another solid year, and I'll try to stop reflexively counting him out, but the red flags are still there.
Vladimir Guerrero(notes), Texas Rangers .335/.366/.558, 12 HR, 44 RBI
Believe it or not, but Vlad Guerrero is only 35. The Texas Rangers picked him up at a bargain rate after a down campaign in 2009 — for the first time in his 11 full seasons, he failed to hit .300 or 20 homers, which tells you how shockingly consistent he's been — and he's pretty much produced all year, at pretty much the same level of production he sustained from 2005-2008. However, his awful, career-low walk rate, with walks in just 4.2 percent of plate appearances, is worrisome, and his near-career-low strikeout rate of 8.9 percent may be unsustainable. Guerrero is one of the most successful bad-ball hitters in baseball history, so his K/BB isn't quite as damning as it might be for other hitters, but these aren't good trends for a 35-year old slugger.
- Troy Glaus