Friday, February 5, 2010

MikeHunt Thinks This Leopard Can Change His Spots.

In the midst of taking Jon Hart to task for asking for a raise of $1.5 million after a .260/.335/.418 season in which he only started 105 games, MikeHunt pauses to consider the other side of the coin. Kind of:

Besides, it's altogether possible that Hart will rediscover whatever he lost right around the NLDS against the Phillies.

Jon Hart's second-half split for 2008: .239/.263/.396, with 5 homers and 33 driven in.

To get more precise:

Jon Hart, in the last 40 games of the 2008 season: .208/.226/.333, with 2 homers, 17 driven in, 4 walks, and 29 strikeouts. Oh, and 7 GIDP, just for good measure.

So, if by "right around the NLDS" you mean "back in August and September," then, yes, Jon Hart went Clusterfuck Supernova right around the NLDS.

Suddenly he had no plate patience, hacking at all manner of junk in the dirt.

In the 2008 season, in over 650 plate appearances, Jon Hart drew 27 walks. (I'll do the math for you: that's 4%.) Here are his on-base percentages for June, July, August and September/October 2008 (in order): .292, .301, .310, .192.

Jon Hart is many things (oddly-tattooed, dense, goatboy-ish, but I digress), but something he has never, ever, EVAH been is patient at the plate.

If someone could get through to him, he has the raw skills to approach .300.

Someone did get through to him last year, and convinced him that he needed to start talking a walk every now and again. The end result? A much better OBP, at the sacrifice of his power.

Jon Hart is many things (fast but prone to idiotic baserunning mistakes, a person with terrible taste in music, tall, but I digress) but something he has never, ever, EVAH been able to do adapt his game. If you asked him to start chewing bubble gum while he jogs out to right field, he'd probably choke to death.

He's still one of the fastest players on the team with acceptable power.

... which comes in really handy when we have the 40-yard-dash competition against the other team ...

He's not a good defensive player, but he's young enough to get it.

He's actually a really bad defensive player -- maybe not Braun-level bad, but he ain't far off: Hart was (-9.1) UZR/150 last year and (-5.3) UZR/150 in 2008. As for being "young enough to get it," I have no quarrel with the first word in that phrase. My problem is the last two; see "Jon Hart is many things," Second Take.

But, sure, maybe Jon Hart can turn around this death spiral and make good on the promise he showed in the first half of '08. And maybe he'll learn that you can hit doubles and homers and take a walk every once in a while. And maybe Evangeline Lilly will move into Casa de Rubie and be my maid, and wear this outfit.


Devil's Threesome said...

Mmmm, yummy Lilly.

PaulNoonan said...

Say Mr. Hart, why the long swing?