[...] Seattle Sports Insider » Clement’s bat for 2009 [...]
As y'know, the highest medal awarded by the D-O-V Galactic Senate is... the Point-By-Point Rhetorical Ribbon with Cluster.
Once in a while we grab an article from The Bakery and riff off that. Or an interview of a Mariners suit or player. Today, Prospect Insider offers a meaty composition on Clement and gets the musical fugue:
At the plate, he’s still a solid bet to hit .260 with solid OBP in the .340-.360 range and 20-25 home run power. He doesn’t have big problems with breaking balls, he’s willing to work counts, feels comfortable – and performs – with two strikes. Clement simply needs to use a shorter swing path and shorter load to get to the hard stuff at the big-league level.
Would agree. And the fact that Clement should dial it down a bit, as he gets started, says absolutely nothig about whether he'll hit 1,200 homers in the big leagues. It's just the nature of the beast.
Those of you who play golf can get the idea real quick here. You know that first tee at a nice club? A big foursome and you're dying to have a great game? And you get a little bit of the edge that keeps you from being loose and in flow?
Smartest thing in the world you can do, if your pride can stand it, is to hit a three-wood, or even three-iron. And don't take the club all the way back!
Hit four or five nice shots AND AFTER YOU HAVE ESTABLISHED A GROOVE, that is when you can start opening up the backswing a little. There's nothing easier than to put a little more mustard on it.... AFTER you are in synch.
Jeffy needs to get on top of the ball, hit it back up the middle, get to feeling good ... AFTER he is feeling good, hitting .300 ... beautiful. Now's the time to load that bat a bit more... Whoops! Here's that pitch I wanted...
Teddy Ballgame used to get Yaz out of slumps with exactly this principle.
So, got to give it up for the scouts on this one. Nothing wrong with Jeffy that a 3-iron won't cure. (The shorter swing will also help him deal with the offspeed-on-the-fists that has booked him early.
The Gospel according to Matt saith, sabermetrically,
I'll talk more about him when I hit projection season, but suffice it to say, there's nothing in his batting skill set that scream low average to me unless you put too much stock in his bad 2008 MLB debut...
Clement is not an extreme flyball hitter (if he were, that would cap his BA). He's got a normal line drive tendency. He doesn't strike out at a huge rate and his K/HR is around 3 (which is neutral for BABIP).
To which Jason replieth, also rather sabertistically,
Clement swings and misses far too often right now for me to believe he's going to hit for higher average than the .260s. It's not impossible that he cleans that up,but even when he's at his best and producing, he strikes out, but more so, he swings and misses.
This strongly suggest that his plate appearances have, and are going to continue to, end on the pitcher's pitch too often for him to hit. 290 or .300 in the big leagues.
D-O-V beckons with the hand and when the audience gives ear, quoth:
Clement did whuff on billions of pitches last year, mostly because the pesky rodent enemy pitchers found out that he wasn't used to offspeed on the hands. After Clement swung over the top of about 20 of those, they started basing their entire games on it.... nibbling FB knowing they could come back with the gimme swing and miss, e.g.
Jeff Clement is patient, and that means that he IS going to have a lot of deep counts. That means K's, and it means BB's -- the more so because once Clement gets his game together, he's going to be a deep threat on a game-in, game-out basis. They'll be scared, and they'll nibble, and Clement may walk 100 times a year.
This will leave Clement as the famed "Three True Outcomes" guy -- because he stalks, and because they will indeed be afraid.
Clement does have one path to .300 ... that is, 45 homers. :- ) 45 homers plus a solid BABIP is going to be .300, as is the case with these lines rat cheer. http://www.baseball-reference.com/t/thomeji01.shtml
If Thome seems too ambitious, here's Cust. http://www.baseball-reference.com/c/custja01.shtml
=== For 2009 Dept. ===
On the one hand, Clement has had little experience with the bat -- the more so because he's been thinking about defense.
But on the other hand, I saw this guy in Cheney in 2008. In case you've forgotten, Jeffy:
1) Slugged .680 (six eighty)
2) Walked 35 times against 29 strikeouts (1.2 eye to make Edgar proud)
3) Hit 40 homers and 50 doubles, pro-rated
4) Had an 1150 OPS at home and 1185 away
5) Hit LHP as well as RHP with a roughly 1.0 eye ratio vs LHP
6) This was against a league full of pitchers who have been in the major leagues
In other words, if you'd seen Jeffy at Tacoma last year, you'd realize that he doesn't have to learn how to hit. All he needs is some adjustments. That's as opposed to somebody like Wlad, who is still figuring himself out, much less the pitchers.
=== For 2009 ===
CON: Trey doesn't have a lot of experience hitting, and the more so, since he has been thinking about defense mostly.
PRO: The *way in which* Clement pwned the PCL's best pitchers says that his skeeels are there. He hit pitches up, down, soft, hard ... he's got a great, great swing, and it applies low and high.
Anybody can take a year, or two, to hit his stride. But the guess here, from seeing the Cheney 08 carnage, is that it's going to be sooner for this guy.