Thursday, March 10, 2011

What will Brennan Boesch do Next?

Nobody is quite sure what to expect from slugging outfielder Brennan Boesch in 2011.  Everybody knows his story.  He was promoted to from Toledo to Detroit in late April and went on to have an all-star caliber first half batting .342/.397/.593.  His second half, however, was described by Baseball Prospectus as the worst half season for a regular in the 21st Century.  His final line was an abysmal .163/.237/.222.  Corey Ettinger of AL Central in Focus took a look at his statistical tendencies and tried to project his future.  He is hopeful but not all that optimistic. Now, I'll give my thoughts.

Since being selected in the third round of the 2006 draft, the left-handed hitting Boesch was regarded as a free-swinger with the potential to hit a lot of home runs.  He was somewhat of a disappointment hitting just 22 home runs combined from 2006-2008.  The 6-6 210 pound beast finally broke out in 2009 hitting .275 with 28 homers in his first year at Double-A Erie.

Even after his 2009 season, scouts were divided on his future in the majors.  Some felt he had enough power potential to make  a contribution at least on a platoon basis.  Others feared that he would never make enough contact to stick as a major league regular.  The statistical projections were bleak including a .228/.278/.358 PECOTA projection.  He beat his projection by a substantial margin last year, but his crash and burn finish didn't inspire any confidence among either his skeptics or supporters.       

So, what can we expect from him in 2011? He'll be 26 in April, so we can't expect him to make any dramatic improvements.  He's always going to be a guy who can hit for power but struggles to make contact or draw walks.  His 2010 35/121 BB/K ratio probably won't get much better.  He's got surprising speed for a big guy but is an awkward defender.  The question is can he make small gains in his his plate discipline, contact and defensive skills?  If he can improve just a little in those areas, he can have a career as a platoon corner outfielder.

 The statistical projections are still not optimistic.  ZIPS pegs him at .247/.295/.390 and PECOTA has him batting .250/.302/.424.  I think he can hit for more power than that, maybe slugging between .450-.470.  If he gets a lot of at bats mostly versus right-handers, I would guess he'd bat around .250/.300/.460.

I don't think he'll get a chance right away though.  The outfield is set with Ryan Raburn, Austin Jackson and Magglio Ordonez and Victor Martinez will be the primary DH.  Boesch may make the team as a backup outfielder, but his best chance might come if he goes to Toledo, gets hot and comes up due to an injury.

I don't see him ever being a star or even a consistent regular because I doubt his plate discipline will allow it.  He could become a left-handed version of Marcus Thames, which would not be a bad thing.


  1. Well the link to that AL Central article for some reason claims he was selected in the 2007 draft for some reason.

    I like your ending comment how that wouldn't be a bad thing if he ended up like Marcus Thames, cause ironically that actually would be a bad thing since Thames has been the most under-appreciated and underpaid Tiger of the last decade. So that would be kind of a bad thing, cause then that would mean he would get shafted and our team would get shafted for not playing him as much as we should! :(

  2. Also it would be nice if we could edit posts, I had two typos in saying "for some reason" twice and a "bad thing" twice. I've been stuck on the phone for an hour in this painfully annoying conversation with some chick that just likes to babble on about meaningless crap and it's lulling me to sleep, so sorry about the sloppy post! lol

  3. Apologies TSE, he was clearly drafted in 2006. I will make mistakes from time to time. I know once wrote that John Lamb was taken in the 6th round when clearly he was a 5th rounder...

  4. Wow an internet blogger/author taking responsibility for a mistake, that's refreshing, good for you! You had me going for a little bit though, cause after I wrote my comment, before I hit the submit button I double checked just to make sure it wasn't one of those deals where we didn't reach an agreement and had to use a following draft pick. I figured I better check and make sure he wasn't like drafted in the 50th round the year before only to be drafted higher the next. Thanks for stopping by for the update!

  5. If I, as someone who writes thousands of words a day while covering five teams can't be ok with the fact that I'll occasionally make a mistake then I'm not being fair to myself.



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