Hunter Pence a top rookie

hpence.jpgHunter Pence has been one of the bright spots this year for the Astros. I really hope he will go on to fulfill the promise he’s shown this year. It seems like the Astros have a history of young CF that show promise and then flame out (see Gerald Young, Brian Hunter, Eric Yelding and even Willy Taveras). The difference may be that where some of those in the past seemed to rely on speed and a high average, Pence has a bit more pop in his bat and shows a little more promise in the area of plate discipline. (He hasn’t drawn too many walks in the majors this year, but his minor league stats show a better ratio of BB/K and he maintained a +.350 OBA with averages in the .280-.300 range.) He’ll compete for Rookie of the Year if he keeps this up, but Ryan Braun of Milwaukee, Troy Tulowitski of the Rockies and Josh Hamilton of the Reds will pose some stiff competition.

Tim Kurkjian lists the top rookies in the majors this year ($). I thought the scout’s description of him was funny.

Hunter Pence, Astros: He doesn’t look pretty hitting, throwing or running, but he can really play. He leads all NL rookies in hitting (.346), doubles (21), triples (five), extra-base hits (36), on-base percentage (.374) and slugging percentage (.598). He has also hit all over the batting order, including in the middle. He has a hitch in his swing, but he can hit,” one scout said. “He doesn’t throw properly, but he can throw. He doesn’t run right, but he can run. I love him.’

BTW, while looking up some of the stats for previous Astros CF I went to AstrosDaily and used the History page to browse through some of the past Astros lineups. It was a fun to remember some of the names (with a little regret too. Imagine if we kept Steve Finley (traded after the ’94 season in a horrible salary dump) during our playoff runs starting in ’97).

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