Key Stats: 2011 was the first time since Holliday’s rookie season in 2004 that he didn’t bat .300. His 22 HR and 75 RBI were his lowest totals since 2005 and 2004, respectfully. All is forgiven though since he was hurt part of the season and also appeared in (notice the theme) the least amount of games since his rookie season. If he had appeared in a full season’s worth of games, while he may not have come close to career highs in those categories, 90 RBI’s and 27 HR’s wouldn’t have been out of the question.
Skeptics Say: We’ve reached a point in the countdown where everyone being profiled now is good. Really, really good. Holliday’s down year, as pointed out before, was due to injury. His K% did jump up 5% but his walk rate was also up over 1% from 2010 as well. His ISO went up nine points. It’s not uncommon for a player to strike out more at the expense of hitting more HR’s, which contrary to the final outcomes, Holliday did at a more prolific rate in 2011 (18.5% HR/FB)than he did in 2010 (13.5% HR/FB).
Peer Comparison: Matt Holliday is 1 of only 7ish active outfielders to have a batting average over .300 in the 7 year span of his career (2004-2011). The others are Ichiro Suzuki, Ryan Braun, Josh Hamilton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Manny Ramirez and Vladimir Guerrero. Suzuki isn’t going ahead of Holliday in drafts, and I almost don’t want to include Manny and Guerrero on the list since they are really just trying to hang on at this point. In any case, Ellsbury and Braun are a different type of player than Holliday and are also 1st round picks. Hamilton is the closest match here, and on my rankings they are a coin flip. Spoiler alert, I have Hamilton 11th and Holliday 12th in our soon to be released outfield position ranks. They are virtually identical players, with Hamilton getting the edge in steals, however Holliday (historically) isn’t the injury risk Hamilton is.
Lineup Outlook: The Cards are short a Pujols, but if Berkman, who is taking over 1st, has any 2011 magic left, and if Beltran (taking over RF) can bat .285-.300 again with 20 HR’s, they shouldn’t miss him too much. They have done what they can to replace the best hitter in the game, and they didn’t do too badly.
Projection: A full healthy slate from Holliday will being him back to the production we expect of him.
.308 AVG, 26 HR’s, 95 RBI, 86 Runs, 5 Steals, .385 OBP, .910 OPS in 560 AB’s.