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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Garrett Atkins Analysis

Sorry it took so long to write this up, but here it is. Garrett Atkins is one of my favorite 3B trade targets right now. First let's go over the power. In the preseason it would have been easy to predict a small power increase from Atkins, and 35 HRs were a distinct possibility. So far, he has only hit 2 HRs. They have had True Distances of 389 and 396, according to HitTracker. Not great, but decent. While it is possible he won't hit a lot of HRs, I think it is likely that he will bust out sometime soon and become the player I thought he would be. His Flyball Percentage is up to 48% (from 41% in 2006), which adds a little further support to the prediction that he will soon begin to be a serious power threat.

So what about the .240 Batting Average? I see this increasing as well. His Contact Rate is at 83.5%, which is down from his 87.3% of last year, but still respectable. I think it is fairly likely once Atkins shakes this funk his Contact Rate will improve a bit. His BB rate is only down a little from last year, and 11% is still quite good. With selectivity like that you'd expect Atkins to be converting his balls in play into hits at a better rate than his .275 BABIP indicates. His BABIP last year was .340 with a 11.6% BB rate. LD Percentage also has an effect on this, and his LD rate is also only down a little from 2006. It is at 20.8% now, down from 22% in 2006.

Overall, it seems like Atkins's contact hitting numbers are down across the board, but only by a little bit. Even if they remain as they are, they are still better than a .240 BA. I expect them to improve a little though, and his BA should rise significantly. Preseason I though a BA above .300 was very likely, and I still feel Atkins can achieve this mark.

The Colorado lineup is decent, so Atkins should be able to score a good number of RBIs and Runs. Tulowitski's BA should improve and he walks a lot. Taveras is a good contact hitter and he is surprisingly walking a lot too. Holliday has established himself as a good hitter. Helton's days as a serious power threat are gone, but he is a fantastic contact hitter who walks a ton. Plenty of RBI opportunities for Atkins once he shapes up.

If he could squeeze himself into the 3rd or 4th spot he'd be in a perfect spot for a lot of RBIs and Runs with Tulowitski and Taveras ahead and Holliday and Helton behind. If he stays batting 5th, the guys behind him are only OK, but his high BB rate should still be able to keep his Run total up.

So there you have an analysis of Garrett Atkins. Overall, I'd say if you can get him cheap, definitely do it. I still think he will be considered one of the Top 3 or 4 Fantasy Baseball 3B by year's end. He has all the tools to do it, now he just has to.

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