Monday, August 18, 2008

Magnificent Melvin

In honor of his crazy series against the Tigers (10-13, with two doubles, a triple, three home runs, 10 RBI, and six runs scored for a nifty .768/.800/1.769 line) I decided to take a look at Melvin Mora's bounce-back season. First, some history:

2003: .317/.418/.503, 15 HR, .398 wOBA
2004: .340/.419/.562, 27 HR, .419 wOBA
2005: .283/.348/.474, 27 HR, .352 wOBA
2006: .274/.342/.391, 16 HR, .323 wOBA
2007: .274/.341/.418, 14 HR, .336 wOBA

2008: .286/.343/.491, 20 HR, .366 wOBA

Mora showed a very strong walk-rate in '03, but it went down after that to merely a "pretty good" level in '04. From '05-'07 it was right around average (a touch below in the first two years and a bit above in the third), but this year it's fallen off a cliff. It's not quite bad yet, but it's pretty close. This may be a byproduct of his swinging at more pitches out of the strike-zone, though he is also making a good deal more contact with them. The increased contact has lowered his strike-out rate; it was around average for most of his career, but has become pretty good this year. It's not just contact though, it's hard contact. With a 20.7% line-drive rate (about his career average), his .290 BABIP is actually too low. Despite hitting for his highest average in four years, Mora has been unlucky on balls in play. His isolated power, which has in free-fall from '03 to '06, has gone up two years in a row. His home runs per flyball is a bit flukey (13% after 9% last year) but not terribly so. I'll give credit where it's due, and Melvin Mora is having a very fine season. Maybe all those nagging injuries really did take away from his performance. I don't know - and I'm not sure how much I trust him to approach these numbers again next year - but for now I'm just going to watch and enjoy it. Yaye Melvin!

[When I was writing this post, I thought it was odd that showing worse plate discipline resulted in better numbers for Melvin. Though not nearly as extreme, the increase in % of balls swung at reminded me of Vlad Guerrero and his own special talent for being successful with that approach. This year, Vladdy is hitting .285/.348/.492 (to Mora's .286/.343/.491), with 22 HR and a .352 wOBA. I honestly had no idea what Guerrero's line looked like before I looked it up. Spooky.]

No comments: