Many of us are thinking about changing our Rookie of the Year picks. Others are questioning their own sanity for drafting some of these rooks in Roto. A lot of the supposed big rookie bats -- Alex Gordon, Troy Tulowitzki, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Chris Young, Chris Iannetta -- have been close to worthless so far.
What’s the deal with these guys? This week, we’ll answer that question right here in The O-Zone. Each day, we’re going to look at one of those aforementioned rookies and try to predict his short- and long-term future.
Today, let’s begin with Alex Gordon.
THE DAMAGES: Gordon is hitting just .133/.224/.283. He has struck out a whopping 21 times and drawn a mere three walks. I haven’t seen anyone this overmatched since Jessica Simpson took AP Calculus.
CAN HE IMPROVE SOON? Well, there are a couple of good signs here. Gordon has a 0.78 G/F, so he’s driving the ball pretty well (when he makes contact, anyway). He isn’t hitting dinky little grounders to shortstop every time up. In addition, Gordon’s job seems secure, so at least he’s going to get the chance to get better at the big-league level. It doesn’t appear Gordon’s going to be riding the pine or demoted anytime soon.
Despite that, I think it’s going to be awhile before Gordon really gets mashing. A 21/3 K/BB proves this guy has a long way to go. Plus we need to remember that Gordon bypassed Triple-A and went straight to the majors from Double-A. Thus, his learning curve in the majors is going to be much steeper than it would be for a hitter who got exposure to Triple-A pitching.
WHAT DOES THE LONG-TERM FUTURE HOLD? Once Gordon starts raking, he won’t stop. Plate patience, power, speed … Gordon has it all. It’s just going to take awhile for those skills to show up in the bigs.
If you own Gordon, I’d get him to the bench immediately. But I wouldn’t drop him in a seasonal league -- he will start hitting eventually. A big second half wouldn’t surprise me.
Randy Johnson returns tonight. Remember that the Big Unit is no longer the dominant force he once was, and keep in mind also that he’s old and hurting. If he pitches well in his first few outings, move him -- he doesn’t have the skill or endurance to succeed from now through September.
Gary Sheffield getting Sunday off was somewhat of a big story. Well, it isn’t really that big of a deal, but it was made out to be -- ESPN.com had it in the headlines section for a couple of days.
With that “news” fresh in people’s minds, maybe you can buy low now on Sheffield. I’d do so in a heartbeat. Sheff’s 15/14 K/BB is excellent, and he’s hitting fly balls at his usual rate. The patience and power are still both there.