My latest at Baseball Prospectus ($) examines Matt Kemp’s dominance, Tim Lincecum’s slump, and other goings-on in the National League West. The Padres section, not surprisingly, focuses on Anthony Rizzo. It also touches on the question of what to do with Brad Hawpe, and when:
The trouble with Hawpe (now back in right field thanks to Rizzo) is that, despite improving numbers, he still looks overmatched by big-league fastballs. The larger statistical picture (31.1 K% in 212 PA) aligns well with anecdotal evidence, such as an at-bat against Nationals right-hander Tyler Clippard during Friday’s game.
Clippard started with a changeup down and away that Hawpe fouled off to the left side. Two 93-mph fastballs on the inner half followed, and Hawpe swung through both of them. If the Padres do decide to sell at some point, they had better hope that potential trade targets pay more attention to Hawpe’s strong May showing than to his diminished bat speed. Soon would be good, before performance has a chance to catch up with physics.
Anyway, there’s lots more where that came from, so go read it…
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On another note, I’ve been contributing commentary to the ESPN Power Rankings, each week highlighting a noteworthy aspect of the Padres’ performance. Sometimes I brag about the bullpen, other times I lament the lack of offense or inability to win at home. (The entire archive is available as well, so you can see the big picture.)
Every once in a while, I am shocked by what my research uncovers. For example, here is this week’s comment:
When Chase Headley went deep on June 9, it was the first homer this season by Padres No. 3 hitters, who are batting a combined .205/.301/.269.
Yep, a Padres pitcher (thank you, Mat Latos) homered before a Padres no. 3 hitter.