If you missed the first four “Angels Burning Questions”, click below!
- Part I – Johnny Damon/Scott Posednik
- Part II – Manny Ramirez
- Part III – The Catching Situation
- Part IV – Who’s On 3rd Base
The next question in our “Burning Questions” series seems to be one Halo fans ask before the start of every spring training. Is this the year Howie Kendrick finally has his breakout season? After tearing apart the minor leagues to the tune of:
- Single A: .367/.398/.578
- Double A: .342/.382/.579
- Triple A: .369/.408/.631
Howie Kendrick was expected to step right into the big leagues and immediately contend for batting titles. Kendrick has been pretty good so far in his big league career posting a .295/.327/.425 career slash line. But he has yet to take the expected leap to the star plateau so many expected of him. So what will 2011 hold for Kendrick. Is this finally the year he puts it all together? Can he finally have his breakout season? Or is he just is what he is at this point? Lets take a look after the jump.The word that best describes the Howie Kendrick situation is patience. Angels fans have had to exude patience as we’ve waited for Howie to become a star, and in order for Howie to reach his lofty potential he needs to learn patience. The reason Howie has yet to hit for the high batting numbers he reached in the minors is that he pretty much refuses to walk, posting just a career 3.6%. walk rate. To put it simply, he doesn’t get on base enough to use his good speed and he doesn’t put himself in enough hitters counts to use his emerging power and quick bat. Often times Kendrick gets himself out by needlessly expanding his strike zone. In fact his career .295 average is really a testament to how good of a hitter he is. I mean Kendrick is basically hitting around .300 every year while refusing to walk. Its almost unprecedented. So whats in store for Kendrick in 2011?
The Hangout View: At 27 years old I think Howie Kendrick is what he is. He’s a good ball player. Part of the reason people see him as a disappointed is that his expectations were just too high. He is not a patient hitter and likely never will be. His minor league career walk rate was also just a paltry 4.9%. With that said, he is too good of a pure hitter to not eventually have a fluke / break out season where he hits .320 -.330. If he can increase his fly ball / line drive rate which is currently at around 28% for his career he could also hit 15 -20 home runs and bang a ton of doubles. All this just remains to be seen, but it will happen at some point during Kendricks career. For 2011 I expect some improvement from last year. Expect a .305/.335/.435 slash line with 13 Hr , 80 RBI,75 Runs and 15 stolen bases sprinkled on the top. You can also expect people to ask the same “Will Howie Kendrick Ever Break Out?” question again next year.