Kevin Kennedy on Casey Kotchman
Casey Kotchman was the Angels’ first-round pick in the June 2001 draft.
In his latest column, former major league manager and current Fox Sports analyst Kevin Kennedy has some interesting observations about Angels first baseman Casey Kotchman. In particular, he compares Casey’s stroke to no less than Barry Bonds, as well as Don Mattingly and Mark Grace.
I’ve always felt that Kotchman has more power potential than many people seem to think. The back-to-back homers he hit at Rancho Cucamonga on April 16, 2003 were judged by longtime fans as the two of the longest in the history of The Epicenter.
Power often doesn’t arrive until a player reaches his mid-20s. Ignore his mononucleosis year in 2006 and you’ll see he was a doubles machine in the minors, combined with an excellent strikeout-to-walk ratio. Those doubles often turn into home runs as a player matures.
I don’t expect a monster year from Kotchman in 2007, but if he can stay healthy for a change here’s what I think you’ll see. Typically he’s a bit of a slow starter, and having not faced major league pitching in a while you’ll see a tepid April. He’ll adjust in May, and by June will be an important part of the offense. His second half should be much stronger than his first half. Overall, I think his AVG/OBP/SLG will be something like .290/.350/.500 (.850 OPS*). In 2008, his OPS will go over .900 and the sky’s the limit after that.
Many analysts — and fans — seem to think he’ll never hit more than 20-25 HR a year. I disagree. I think you’ll see him reach 30 HR in a season before 2010, he’ll be consistently at 30-35 HR each year in his prime, and will touch 40 once or twice before he’s done.
He just needs to shake that curse someone seems to have put on him …
* OPS = OBP + SLG, and is a common shorthand used in the sabermetric world to judge the statistical worth of hitters. I tend to pay more attention to SLG for a power hitter, although for a fast singles hitter OBP would be more important.
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