Kouz and Kent

While playing with the PI tool at Baseball-Reference over the weekend I stumbled onto something kind of interesting. Have you ever noticed how similar the first three seasons of Kevin Kouzmanoff’s career (through Sunday, at least) are to those of Jeff Kent?

Jeff Kent and Kevin Kouzmanoff, Ages 24 – 26
Statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are through games of August 10, 2008.
Kent ’92-’94 1339 .270 .325 .451 .323 .060 .181 .372 107
Kouz ’06-’08 1076 .274 .322 .454 .264 .049 .180 .358 108

For grins, here are their lines per 162 games played:

Jeff Kent and Kevin Kouzmanoff, Ages 24 – 26, per 162 Games
Player Years AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO
Statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are through games of August 10, 2008.
Kent ’92-’94 564 79 152 32 3 21 92 37 115

Kouz ’06-’08 588 67 161 32 3 23 86 32 120

Even the shapes are remarkably alike. Of course, Kent was a second baseman (although he did play some third base back then) and he hadn’t yet turned into a great player.

Speaking of Kent, you may remember that in a recent Hardball Times article I drew some comparisons between him and Khalil Greene. This raises a larger question: Are we learning anything about Kouzmanoff and Greene in looking at these similarities? Or are we learning more about Kent and his freakish development?

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28 Responses »

  1. I think its time for Kouz to grow a vintage 1984 stash to complete the comparison!

  2. GY, I do hope your implying that both Kouz and Khalil will become studs as their careers progress. Although I could see that happening with Kouz, Khalil would really have to work on his OBP before I got too hopeful.

  3. #2@Phantom: The vintage stache will complete their studliness though, no?

  4. MadFriars’ commenters are reporting these moves …

    – Kazmar from AA to Padres (Corey to DL?)

    – Sawyer Carroll was promoted from Eugene to Fort Wayne.

    – Luis Durango was promoted from Fort Wayne to Lake Elsinore.

  5. Things like this are the ones that will make me very sad the day they trade Kouz this December.

    That kid could easily be hitting 40 bombs in the big leagues and hit 275+ to go with it…I HATE thinking that he probably will be doing it for another team.

  6. #4@LynchMob: Kazmar promoted to the Padres? I’ve heard he’s a good defender and although he struggled offensively earlier in the season, he’s hitting .314 since June 1st with 14 doubles. That’s excellent for that league and that park he plays in.

  7. #5@Coronado Mike: Eh? Easily hitting 40 HR’s? Very few hitters, very few, hit that many “easily.” I haven’t seen anythign from Kouz which leads me to believe he can. What are you seeing? He hasn’t hit 40 yet for his career and he’s had nearly 2 full seasons. This wouldn’t be so bad if he’d come up as a 22 year old, but he came up as a 24 year old. I just don’t see anything to indicate he’ll develop significantly more power short of moving to Coors or another similar launching pad. And .275 with his inablity to draw a BB isn’t very impressive.

    Now Adrian you could say that about. He hit 24, at 24, in Petco. Put him in a neutral park or better and he’d likely hit 40 at least a couple of times in his career.

  8. Any comparison to Kent needs to be done with a huge asterisk – the guy played in the middle of the steroid era. I’m not saying he was on steroids, just that it wouldn’t surprise me, and to project Kouz based on what Kent did is highly suspect. Not that I’m saying that is what GY is doing, but I think some Kouz fans may jump to that conclusion.

  9. #5@Coronado Mike: I think he can hit 30 HR’s in a hitter’s ballpark and if he could be a little more patient at the plate (I think he leads the league in % of pitches swung at), he could approach a .290-.300 BA.

    If a trade can bring back value that is equal to that potential and they end up with a solid #2-3 starter in return that is equally as young and affordable, I’m sure they’d consider a trade. But the good thing is, they don’t have to trade him if they don’t feel it’s the right deal.

    I’m a fan of Kouz but he might be the team’s only trade chip this winter since I don’t think they’re willing to deal the obvious players with much more value.

  10. In todays chat on mlbtrade rumors, i asked tim dierkes what kouzmanoff would fetch in the trade market, and he figures a mid-rotation major league ready starter. i guess that would be fair, and highly beneficial to this ballclub.

  11. #10@dylanc16: That would be a solid return. The trick will be finding someone who needs a 3b / DH / 1b more than a mid-rotation starter.

  12. #11@Tom Waits: Twins, Twins, Twins, Twins.

  13. #12@Ben B.: Yeah, but they didn’t seem to be that interested in Kouz last winter or this year.

  14. I think most of us assume that Kouzmanoff will be traded this season as it doesn’t really make sense to play with two 3B in the lineup. However, what happens if Kouz ends up with something like a 290/330/470 with 35 doubles and 25 homeruns? That’s pretty valuable. That’s not as good as David Wright, Chipper, or Aramis Ramirez, but it’s better then the 2nd tier 3B (not including fielding) like Zimmerman, Reynolds and Encarnacion. With a season like that it’s not a given that he is traded over Headley I don’t think. If he does get traded I would hope he gets more then a potential mid-rotation starter.

    #16@LynchMob: As far as the signings go, I again don’t understand the Padres drafting philosophy. The article says that “The Padres and Kipnis are more than $600,000 apart.” Since slot is probably around $250k or so (just guessing based on what the others around him signed for) that means he’s asking for nearly $1m. The highest bonus in the 2nd round went to Oceanside HS Matt Cerda to the Cubs. Didn’t the Padres realize that he was going to ask for that much? If not, who does research on these players? And if so, why did they draft someone they didn’t intend to sign? All we’ve heard lately is how the Padres are going to rebuild their farm system but we haven’t really seen that yet. The Padres have been a historically weak franchise because their drafting has been so pitiful yet they don’t seem to want to do anything about it.

  15. #7@Pat: He hit 18 last year and should get close to 25 this year, his 2nd season in the majors.

    Maybe 40 is overstating it (Just call me Scott Boras), but he has the potential to be a solid power hitter at 3B. I hate losing that, but can’t disagree if that is the direction the Pads move in.

  16. It looks like Kazmar is getting the call today with Corey going on the DL. I wonder if they throw him right in there tonight against Suppan. It would be pretty cruel to give him his first ML start against Sabathia or Sheets on Wednesday or Thursday. Very interesting. I knew we could see some young guys here pretty soon, but Kazmar hadn’t crossed my mind.

  17. Why is everyone so anxious to move Kouz? The end result would be to replace his slightly above average and probable improving production with someone like Venable and I havent heard anyone make the argument that Venable or any of the other LF candidates with a shot at the majors next year has a better bat then Kouz.

  18. #20@Sam: It all has to do with his trade value and Headley’s ability to step in. A Venable/Hairston platoon may or may not out-produce Kouz but rebuiding this pitching staff should be the priority. And although I’m hoping they will spend some money to try and sign Oli Perez or Ryan Dempster in the offseason, this isn’t a team that traditionally will outbid other teams for top free agents. Since there aren’t any can’t miss prospects that are going to step into the rotation next season, that means the best best is to trade someone with value that can be replaced internally. Kouz is really the only guy with enough value that is expendable. I’m guessing not too many people want to get rid of him because they don’t like him, especially not with the way he’s hitting right now. For me, personally, I’m just tired of watching this sorry bullpen and I’ll trade some offense to improve the pitching staff at this point. I like the Venable/Hairston platoon anyways because it improves the defense and team speed quite a bit.

  19. #20@Sam: But does the ball club improve overall if you get a solid #3 starter plus Venable’s bat in the line-up over the current situtation? Thats what would have to happen in order for Kouz to be traded.

  20. #21@JMAR: If Hairston can repeat this year then Hairston/Venable will almost surely outproduce Kouz. If we resign Gerut, Venable/Hairston/Gerut/Giles will be a damn good outfield next year, especially if we can improve the rotation by trading Kouz.

  21. #20@Sam: Presumably there would be some large defensive improvement as well in shuffling people around. Kouz and Headley are probably below average defenders at their current positions (call them -5 each over the season), and Headley at third and Venable in left would probably be at least average-ish. So Venable only has to be within 10 runs of Kouz to make any swap have no effect or be a positive. He probably won’t be, but when you combine the defensive gain with the return from a trade, it would likely offset the loss of offense.

  22. No Kazmar yet … tonight’s lineup (per FJ) …

    Jody Gerut, CF
    Luis Rodriguez, SS
    Brian Giles, RF
    Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
    Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B
    Chase Headley, LF
    Nick Hundley, C
    Tadahito Iguchi, 2B
    Cha Seung Baek, P

  23. #17@Schlom: Those numbers are well within Kouzmanoff’s range this season.

    He is a valuable player and would not be easy to replace.

    If he can correct his really slow starts, then he’s an All-Star level player, after park factors are considered.

  24. #18@Coronado Mike: 40, and especially 40 “easily,” is overstating it significantly. A solid power hitter seems reasonable, but the lack of OBP skills is still a big drawback even if he develops more power.

    For informational purposes (I love this sort of trivia), only 100 players in MLB history (at least according to BB-Ref PI) have EVER hit 40 in a season and only 41 of those have ever done it at least 3 times in a career, which seemed like a minimum qualification for being able to hit 40 easily.

  25. Of the 158 qualified batters in the league, Kouz’s walk rate is 155th in the league. Last season, he was 142nd out of 162.

    He’s going to have to be a 40 home run guy if he’s going to be such an out maker.