Brennan Boesch’s hot start

Through 47 games and 190 PA, the Tiger’s Brennan Boesch has been hitting the shit out of the ball. His current line is .337/.384/.617/.428/168wRC+. I don’t know about you, but I’d consider that pretty damn good. Obviously, Tiger fans have been quite pleased with Boesch so far. Which is why one fan recently asked me if he’ll keep it up, or fall down to earth because of an all too high BABIP. So I took some time out of my busy, busy day to answer his question.

Let me be blunt to start- yes, I believe he will fall quite a bit from his current .428 wOBA and 168 wRC+. But he is still a worthwhile hitter.

To start, his average will surely fall. Right now he is hitting well above .300, but he’ll be having a date with Mr. Regression real soon. Why? His BABIP is .380, well above his already high BA. Now sure, good average hitters have a high BABIP. But that’s because they have good LD rates or speed. Boesch does not have exceptional speed, nor a good LD%. Right now Boesch’s LD% is 15.8%. While not a great stat or indicator, his xBABIP is .278. That doesn’t mean he should be hitting .278, but it’s safe to say he won’t be hitting .337 much longer.

Going onto his OBP and discipline, Boesch is a free swinger. The league average swing% is 45.1%. Boesch swings at 59.9% of the pitches he sees. That’s a Vlad Guerrero level. Which isn’t exactly a good thing for him. Not many hitters are successful swinging at that many pitches, unless they have the talent of Vlad Guerrero. I’m going to say Boesch is not as talented as Vlad Guerrero. Moreover, Boesch swings at way too much at pitches outside the zone- 45.2% compared to the league average of 28.3%. Once again, unless you have the hitting ability of Vlad Guerrero, that’s going to bite you in the ass. Boesch’s walk rate is also below average, coming in at 6.8%. This tells me that as of right now, Boesch is a free swinger not looking to take a walk. So his OBP value will be tied into his average. As I already stated, he’s not going to be a good average hitter going forward. So it appears as if Boesch won’t provide much in terms of getting on base, which is pretty important when it comes to baseball. But there is another aspect to hitting- power.

Boesch sports a .617 slugging percentage with a .280 ISO and HR/FB% of 17.9%. Will this come down? Considering his SSS, I would imagine. In the minors, he possessed average to below average power, except for his 2009 season at AA. Maybe something changed for him in 2009, so that he has legit power. But he has always had a below average BA and OBP. So while he may harness some power, he won’t be getting on base much.

Although he may look like a stud through 200 PA, Boesch seems more like a .275/.330/.460 type player off my head without doing any regression. While that’s a far cry from his current level of production, it’s still worthy of a spot in a ML lineup.

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