Can Kouzmanoff stay hot?
Adrian Gonzalez has been going “Gonzo” over the last week or so raising his AVG from .251 to .279 (+ .028 points) in less than 10 days. In that same time period Kevin Kouzmaoff has raised his AVG from .246 to .261 (+ .015 points). Kouz’s streak has included a couple 3 for 4 days and on 5 for 5 game. The most intriguing part about the streak is the fact that Kouz has already drawn 4 walks for the month of August (awesome for his standards) and has only struck out 5 times. His highest walk total for any other month in the 2009 season is 5. His lowest strikeout total is 18. This month, so far, Kouz has an OBP over .400. Yeah, you read that right. OVER .400! Fluke? Hmmmm…
His track record would indicate that he is doomed forever to regress toward the perils of horrible plate discipline. However, the slight improvements in K/BB rate cannot be ignored. Basically it would be the difference between Kouz hitting .250 and .265-.270 the rest of the way, which is significant for deep leagues. Lately his BABIP has held around league average (about .295) while line drives have been flying off his bat.
Then there are his incredible home/road splits. So far this season Kouz has hit .227 at spacious Petco Park and .293 on the road, which is mapping out to be almost identical to his 2008 home road splits. What’s good about this? The Padres finish up with 16 road games out of their 26 in September including the ultra hitter environments of Colorado and Arizona.
There is a bottom line to all of this. In reality Kouz may not make much impact to the majority of fantasy teams out there. However, for deep leagues where a .275 AVG with 5-8 HR out of 3B/CI/U could make a difference, Kouz is an interesting bat to keep an eye on. Whether or not he makes much of a fantasy impact for the remainder of 2009, he’ll still be worth keeping an eye on for 2010 purposes. Combine his home/road splits with the fact that he really doesn’t figure into the Padres’ future plans, given the need to play Chase Headley and Kyle Blanks full time, Kouz could find a new home away from Petco. If that happens and if Kouz can show some consistency in improved plate discipline, we could be looking at much different (perhaps much better) offensive production next season.
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