Corey Hart inks extension to stay in Milwaukee through 2013

Reportedly the deal is 3/$26.5mil.No other financial information is known. So I’ll just say the AAV is the same each season.

For a deal that will take Corey Hart through his age 29-31 seasons, he will be paid an average of $8.83mil per season. Not bad. The deal takes him through through his final year of arbitration and two years of free agency.

Corey Hart’s 2010 salary is $4.8mil. Using the 40/60/80 scale we can estimate Hart would have made $8.64mil in his final year of arbitration. So the Brewers aren’t really saving any money in year one of the contract. However, one would imagine his price would reach double digits in free agency. I think a solid comparison is Jason Bay. Both are pretty good hitters and not so good fielders. Bay had a better career up to the time he became a free agent so I wouldn’t expect Hart to get paid as much, but Hart is a similar player who will also be in his thirties, like Bay was. Bay’s AAV on his 4/$66mil deal is $16.5mil. So if Hart could have got an AAV of $12mil, the Brewers look like they will be saving around $8mil.

Now that we established the Brewers will be saving some money, we’ll see if it actually is a good deal, because after all, Hart still needs to produce and earn the money he will be given.

Hart had a breakout year in 2007, his first full season in the big leagues. He hit hit .295/.353/.539/.380/133 and finished with a 4.3 WAR. However, he had a below average BB rate- 6.4%- but showed great power with a .244 ISO. In 2008 and 2009 Hart saw a big decline in his offensive performance, as his wRC+ fell to 100 in 2008 and 103 in 2009. But now in 2010 he is having a career year at the dish with a line of .288/.346/.565/.387/144. So which Hart is the real Hart?

In 2008, Hart just had a bad season. His BB% fell to 4.1% and his OBP was a lowly .300. Looking at his discipline stats will tell you why. His O-Swing% was 31.7%, which is well above what’s it’s been in every other season. He just swung a lot more bad pitches than normal that year and it killed him. Another killer was the amount of first pitch strikes against him. His career F-Strike% is 61.8% but it was 68.9%(!) in 2008, when the league average was 58.6% that season. The average wOBA in an 0-0 count is .332. That jumps to .371 in a 1-0 count and falls to .283 in an 0-1. Wowwowoow, look at the swing in numbers! No wonder Hart struggled so much- his discipline was bad that he was getting into numerous pitcher’s counts, which basically took the bat out of his hands.

In 2009, Hart rebounded discipline wise. His OBP was back up at .335 and his BB% jumped to 9.1%. But he lost his power. His ISO was .158 and the result was a .418 SLG that hurt his wOBA. His batted ball data and discipline data was all in line with his career averages. But the power wasn’t there. And he posted a 0.7 WAR- ouch.

But in 2010 Hart has put it all together. He’s maintained average discipline and on base skills, but now the power is there at the same time, for the first time since 2007. As a result he has a 2.1 WAR through 382 PA. Hart is 28 and should stay in his “prime” throughout his contract years. If he can keep the power up, Hart will earn the money in his contract. He should also be a positive contributor to a Milwaukee which could make a play at a divisional title in the next few years if the right moves are made.

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2 Comments on “Corey Hart inks extension to stay in Milwaukee through 2013”

  1. wisf Says:

    I’ve always been a fan of Hart, but I wish Milwaukee could’ve traded him for some pitching before the deadline. Since they couldn’t, signing him to an extension was the next step and I think this is a reasonable one. Like you said, I think Hart has finally put it all together. He has shortened up his swing, put a little more of an uppercut on it, and his immense natural ability has taken care of the rest. I think that can make him a successful power hitter throughout his prime. He’s never going to be an above average defender or someone who gets on base a lot, but he’s the type of bat Milwaukee needs to keep, especially as they go forward without Prince Fielder (most likely.)

    • Disco Says:

      I hear ya. His value is tied to his power and the Brewers didn’t pay him like a star player. Pitching could have helped, but keeping him around helps as well.

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