Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bowker Adjusting Back

Or maybe he's just figured out how to hit pitchers not hired by the Cardinals.

After his initially hot hitting, mainly against the Cardinals who happened to play the Giants twice during that time period, Bowker could not hit well at all, as pitchers adjusted to his hitting. Thus, even with that hot start, he ended April with the following batting line: .193/.217/.404/.620 but with 3 HR in 57 AB. However, he also had only 2 walks versus 13 strikeouts, or 23% of his AB. Ideally, you want hitters that strike out 15% or less of his AB and you would like to see his walks be at least half of his strikeouts.

However, he adjusted in May to the point where he could make contact but not for power yet, hitting .297/.343/.375/.718, with 1 HR in 64 AB. Again, poor strike zone discipline, only 3 walks versus 16 strikeouts, or 25% of his AB.

Done Adjusting

Now look at his June stats, after his stellar 3 for 4 outing with a 3-run homer yesterday, one triple away from the cycle: .350/.422/.675/1.097 with 3 HR in 40 AB and already 4 walks versus only 7 strikeouts, or 17.5% of his AB, which is much improved and nearly at the ideal rate of 15% or better. And his walk rate is very good as well, just over half his strikeouts and nearly at a 10% rate.

And his overall numbers look good again, after his initial burst of success, with all his adjusting. His overall batting line is now .273/.320/.460/.780, good for a 103 OPS+ for 1B mainly since he's played mainly there. And with 7 HR in 161 AB, he is now averaging 23 AB/HR, or about a 20-25 HR pace over a full season.

Legit Giants Position Player Prospect

That would be decent production at 1B, if he can continue this, as he is only 24 years old and his numbers are similar to what Conor Jackson did in a better offensive environment in Arizona when he was 24: .291/.368/.441/.809, 103 OPS+, with 15 HR in 485 AB, or 32 AB/HR.

And a lot of baseball followers like Jackson, I never really got it totally, other than his high walk rate and good strikeout rate, but he is finally blossoming this season at age 26 and, oddly enough, his 2B and HR rate is about the same but suddenly he's getting a lot of triples (basically his 2B rate is basically the same including the triples), which boosted up his SLG. For someone with no speed, that appears flukey, but he also already has 3 steals, one more than he ever got in twice the ABs. And, more importantly, he's always been good at getting walks but he's taking it to a new level by receiving more walks than getting struck out.

It took him two years to reach that, and Bowker appears to be doing in within a season, so perhaps he can surpass Jackson at some point. He definitely does not have the plate discipline that Jackson has shown, though he's much improved this month (small samples), but he just as definitely has a lot more power than Jackson. And that's what most teams look for in a 1B, plus that's what we need from Bowker.

Final Note On Bowker

In the post-game interview, he says that he is doing a better job now of protecting the plate when there is two strikes. He also noted that Carney Lansford prepped him on how Fernando Rodney likes to pitch, so Bowker was standing in there waiting for a changeup when Rodney nicely obliged with another one (Miller said that it was the 3rd changeup that he tried to get by Bowker) and Bowker blasted it out.

1 comment:

  1. Again, just a bit too soon.

    Mercury had some good stuff on Bowker today.

    "It's really neat to see a younger guy make an adjustment within an at-bat," Rowand said. "It's why Bowk and Freddy (Lewis) are going to be good hitters in this league for a long time. Once you show to scouts and opposing teams that you can make those adjustments, it becomes a guessing game for the pitcher.

    "The old cliche is that it's easier to get here than to stay here. Well, that's how you stay in this game."

    That final thought was unfinished but clear: if you can adjust to the pitchers, particularly within an at-bat, the message will spread through the league and you will have a longer career and stay in the game.

    ReplyDelete

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