There were a lot of players whose average was based on a lot of luck in 2010.  What are the prospects of them replicating those numbers in the upcoming season? 

Will they continue to hold value?  Let’s break them down, one-by-one, and take a look:


1. Austin Jackson – Detroit Tigers – .396

We all kept waiting for the regression to come for Jackson, but it just never seemed to.  Despite posting a strikeout rate of 27.5%, Jackson’s luck helped him post a .293 average. 

Can we realistically expect that to continue?  He had a minor-league strikeout mark of 23.6%, so that number is extremely believable. 

With his speed, a higher than normal BABIP is not outrageous, but this was a bit over-the-top.  Look for his luck to turn in 2011, meaning his average will likely fall significantly.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him hit .260ish, and without power and only 24 SB, his value is likely going to take a significant hit.


2. Josh Hamilton – Texas Rangers – .390

It was a magical season, buoyed by an unrealistic BABIP.  Hamilton is a great player and will remain one of the elite, but he’s just not likely to hit .359 once again. 

As long as he can stay healthy, I’m talking .300/30/100/100 type of value.  People looking for a reason to downgrade him will point to the BABIP, but you really shouldn’t.

The only concern is his health.  Outside of that, consider him among the elite outfielders in the game.


3. Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies – .384

Many were expecting a breakout 2010 campaign and boy, did he deliver.  However, the BABIP is just one of the questions that surround him entering the 2011 campaign.

Can he deliver a 20.4% HR/FB again?  If not, that drop, along with the inevitable fall in BABIP, is going to cause his average to fall significantly.  It will also mean fewer runs and RBI, further hurting his potential value.

Don’t get me wrong, Gonzalez should be among the best outfielders available, but I just don’t see him repeating his .336, 34 HR, 117 RBI, 111 R, 26 SB campaign.  That said, even if he falls to .300/27/95/95/20, with the potential for more, what is there not to like? 

A regression is likely coming, but there’s little to be concerned about.  We’ll talk about him in a lot more detail in the coming months, however, so I’ll save the bulk of the discussion for later.


4. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds – .361

Like the two names before him, his value isn’t solely entrenched in his average (.324 in 2010), so a regression here is not going to be devastating. 

He has shown tremendous power and RBI potential, as well as adding double-digit stolen bases from a position where you rarely see it.  At a deep position, he’s emerged as one of the elite.


5. Omar Infante – Atlanta Braves – .355

Unfortunately for Infante, he has no power and no speed.  In fact, is he guaranteed to even have an everyday job entering 2011? 

He’s a career .274 hitter (who hit .321 in 2010) and has always been more of a utility player. 

With even a small fall in his BABIP, his value disintegrates, since average is all he has going for him (8 HR, 7 SB in ‘10).  Even with full-time playing time, he’s not worth considering.


6t. Justin Upton – Arizona Diamondbacks – .354

He’s posted big BABIP for the past two years, having posted a .360 mark in 2009.  Does that mean we should come to believe it?  Unfortunately, I don’t think so. 

The hope has to be that he can reduce his strikeout rate (30.7% in 2010) and rediscover his power (he went from 26 HR to 17 HR in 2010) in order to maintain a usable average.

Chances are he’s going to regress in the BABIP department, so if he can’t do those two things, his average is going to become unusable (he hit .273 in ‘10). 

It’s going to be interesting to watch how this plays out, because he has the potential to be one of the elite players in the game.  We will certainly revisit him as the season gets closer.


6t. Colby Rasmus – St. Louis Cardinals – .354

His feud with Tony La Russa and whether he asked out of St. Louis helped to mask that some of his success was buoyed by a lot of luck. 

However, before we say that he’s going to post an unusable average (he was at .276 in ‘10), he saw his strikeout rate go from 20.0% in 2009 to 31.9% in 2010. 

Considering his 22.7% minor league strikeout rate, there’s little reason to believe he’s that bad.  Even with a fall in his BABIP, he should continue to post a usable average.


8. Ichiro Suzuki – Seattle Mariners – .353

What is there to say about Ichiro that we don’t already know?  He has a career BABIP of .357 and is one of the best hitters in the game.  There’s no reason to expect anything less from him in 2011.


9. Jayson Werth – Philadelphia Phillies – .352

We have to expect a regression, but we can’t get a full grasp on his potential value in the average department until we know where he is going to play. 

If he leaves Philadelphia, the power potential may fall, which will certainly help contribute to a lower average.  We’ll revisit him once he signs via free agency.


10. Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins – .348

Catchers just aren’t supposed to do this, but year after year, Mauer delivers.  With a career BABIP of .344, there’s little reason to think that he’s going to fall off in any way, shape or form. 

While we learned in 2010 that his power surge in 2009 was likely an aberration (28 HR), he once again proved that he’s among the elite average hitters in the game (.327 in ‘10).

What are your thoughts on these players?  Who is going to maintain their big 2010 seasons?  Who may regress in 2011?

Make sure to check out our early 2011 rankings:


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