Friday, January 14, 2011

Is Justice talking about a different Carlos Lee?

What in the world is going on here?

Mills might not be able to count on Carlos showing up early or being the take-charge guy in the clubhouse. But he can count on him hitting. When the Astros evaluate their questions about the 2011 season, Lee is way down the list.

Now just hold on a gosh-darn minute. There are indications that Carlos Lee will bounce back, as the Crawfish Boxes recently pointed out. The .238 BABIP alone should tell you that his average should come up. But that's a big "should."

If you take a gander at Carlos Lee's ISO (in which you subtract BA from SLG), measuring isolated power, he has a career ISO of .208. But in 2009, it was .189, and last year, it was .170. He's hitting more groundballs (38.5% in 2010, compared to a 36.2% career GB average). 9.5% of his flyballs resulted in home runs, down from a career 12.9% (and that was 10.5% in 2009).

Furthermore, in looking at his plate discipline (captip: FanGraphs - linked above), Lee took a hack at 34.5% of pitches outside the strike zone, far higher than his 24.4% career percentage (and over 10% higher than 2009), and took a swing at half the pitches thrown to him (seriously, exactly 50%), his highest rate since 2007. He made contact on the same rate as he did in 2009 - 87.8%. While the results of 2010 may indicate bad luck, it also may just indicate that he's losing his power, and doesn't hit the ball as hard as he once did.

Regardless, while you can probably count on Carlos Lee returning to previous form in 2011, it's far from a sure thing.