After the first week of the season, we are all smart enough to know not to make a big deal out of extremes in performance both up or down. Batters and pitchers will start the season hot or cold and generally will end up somewhere around where they usually do. Perhaps you can see a trend after only a week. But doing so should be with the utmost caution. Here are some players who have really started the season in a bad, bad way.
Zack Cozart. Cozart has walked to the plate twenty times thus far. He has one successful sacrifice bunt. That is the entire sum of his offense. He has hit four ground balls, seven fly balls, three line drives and all have led to outs. He struck out the other five times. He has not walked. He is the only regular player who has no average, no on-base percentage and no slugging.
Raul Ibanez. Old Raul does have a homer and has driven in four runs. Compared to Cozart, he looks giddy with his .211 batting average. But his BABIP is .375. It’s a good thing, because in his twenty plate appearances, he has struck out ten times. In twenty plate appearances, Ibanez has put seven balls in play. Fortunately for him, four of them landed safely somewhere.
Mike Moustakas. The Royals were hoping that this was the year that Moustakas started to come on as a player. It could still happen, but is off to a really bad start. In seventeen plate appearances, he has walked twice…and that’s it. He has only struck out twice, so he is the opposite of Ibanez. Moustakas has put thirteen balls in play and none of them found a happy home and all turned into outs. He has not yet hit a line drive. Oh, and he’s made two errors already.
Allen Craig. Somewhere, George Harrison is singing, “Roll over Beethoven.” Craig has come to the dish 24 times. He has struck out three times and walked once. So he has put the ball in play twenty times. Seventeen of those have been ground balls. Naturally, only two of them have gone through for hits.
Ryan Flaherty. Flaherty notched his first hit last night in nineteen plate appearances. His strike zone awareness is a problem. He has swung at only 43.3% of pitches IN the strike zone and 40.9% of pitches OUT of the strike zone.
Ian Desmond. Desmond’s numbers do not look too bad. How he got there is a little strange. He leads the Majors in swinging at pitches out of the strike zone at 52.8% and is second overall in total swing percentage. He is not getting cheated up there. He also leads the Majors in swinging strike percentage. Settle down, young fellow.
And how can we forget B.J. Upton. The poor guy seems just as lost as last year. His contact percentage on swings is the lowest in baseball at only 56%. He just can’t seem to get the bat on the ball.