While Eric Hosmer has been spinning his tires out of the gate, his buddy Mike Moustakas has been happily pounding the ball with pretty good consistency. He’s actually gotten better as the season’s gone along, hitting .231/.250/.436 in his first 10 games and .412/.500/.647 in his past 10. For a guy that stumbled early on following his call-up in 2011, that’s a great sign.
Just to dig a bit deeper, though, those stats don’t show the whole picture. While Mike’s hit better in the second 10 games, he hit more doubles in the first 10 games (five of his total seven). He also hit one of his three home runs during that period, so it’s not as though that was all a wash. He just has 5 more hits in the same number of plate appearances in games 11-20, and that drives up his line. Still productive and nice to see, but just keep that in mind. And compared to last season, when he had an isolated slugging percentage of .104, his current .219 is much more encouraging and in line with what he did in the minors.
The biggest difference is that Mike has been striking out less and walking more:
First 10 games: 10 K, 0 BB
Games 11-20: 5 K, 5 BB
That’s a substantial difference. When you consider that Mike had 22 walks and 51 strikeouts in 365 plate appearances last year (6.0% BB, 14.0% K), his performance in the last 10 games has really shone (12.5% BB, 12.5% K). Now, will that continue in that pattern? Probably not, but it’s good to see that the discipline to take walks is there. Whereas his most likely result in the first 10 games was to strikeout (18.75%), it’s been a single since then (25%).
It’s hard to say exactly what has made the difference in his hitting line. I can think of a bunch of theories about what pitch types he’s seeing (fewer fastballs and more sliders/changeups) or some Seitzer-induced magic. I could mention that he’s swinging more outside the zone this year and making more contact…but that defies logic on results. Or maybe I could simply say that his BABIP is a smooth .444 in his last 10 games versus a .286 in his first 10 (Hosmer’s is .164 so far this season if you were wondering).
I think it’s best to say that Mike is enjoying some success right now and we can attribute at least some of it to drawing more walks and striking out less often. It’s too early to make a full analysis of what he’s doing, what’s changed from last season, and whether he’ll play like his late season self for the rest of 2012, but for now, just enjoy what he’s doing and the fact that he’s hitting. Hopefully, he’ll keep it up when Hosmer inevitably starts hitting again.
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