The following hitters have hit line drives at above average rates so far in 2011, but have very little to show for it.
Chris Johnson 3B HOU – .182 AVG, 31.3% LD%
Johnson hit .308 in 341 at-bats last season and held a 24% LD%. However, his career minor league slash of .277/.315/.429 doesn’t exactly scream production. Even if Johnson continues to spray line drives at a 20% or better clip, his lack of plate discipline might be enough to hold his AVG down in the long-run.
Adam Lind 1B TOR – .236 AVG, 29.8% LD%
Lind has a career LD% of 19.5% and two season’s ago he hit .305/.370/.562 over 654 plate appearances. His swing got a bit long last season and it showed in the rise in his strikeout rate and drop in contact rate. Even though the sample size is small, Lind is making better contact and striking out less early in the 2011 season. Given his 25-plus home run power, now might be a good time to try and buy very low, combining 2010’s troubles with a slow start this season.
Dexter Fowler OF COL – .276, 31% LD%
Fowler has made some improvements
over his first two big league seasons and I certainly think he can start putting everything together this season. While his .276 AVG coming into today is nothing special, he continues to rope line-drives all over the yard. His career LD% is almost 22%, so we can expect a solid line-drive rate once again in 2011. That, combined with 20-30 stolen base potential could make for a .300/25 season with plenty of runs scored. Or, in essence, what teams got from Austin Jackson last season.
Kila Kaihue 1B KC – .163 AVG, 23.3% LD%
The Kila Monster has been anything but monstrous to start the 2011 season. The problem is his high percentage of swings and misses and how those have led to a ton of strikeouts early on. Ka’aihue isn’t know for his line-drives, but rather his good plate discipline and power. That’s why his current line-drive rate probably won’t last long and is more likely to end up below average than anything else.
Carlos Gonzalez OF COL – .241 AVG, 23.8% LD%
This certainly is not what fantasy GM’s expected when they took Car-Go in the first round on draft day (or spent upwards of $50 at auction). Whether Car-Go is trying too hard or if his timing is off or if it’s a glitch in his swing, things should turn around soon. Car-Go is swinging through a ton of pitches right now and has hit ground balls on almost 55% of his balls in play. Those two rates are far from his career averages. Once he figures things out, look for a big-time hot streak.