A Closer Look: Los Angeles Dodgers OF Andre Ethier

I will follow up on Matt's article on Saturday with a Closer Look at Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier. Every Friday, BaseballHQ sends out their weekly BaseballHQ Friday email with several articles from the previous week. This week's email included an article about Andre Ethier, and their stance is that the best is yet to come from Ethier.

As a Dodgers fan, I hope they are correct. As a fantasy owner, I am not so sure he can exceed his 2009 season where he went 31-106-.272-.361-.508. Ethier had a big jump in HRs from 20 to 31, and RBIs from 77 to 106 in 2009. Here are their reasons for expecting more from Ethier in 2010:

1. While Ethier's BA dipped in 2009 (especially against LHP), his xBA says he is poised for a BA correction in 2010 ... especially if his H% returns to historical levels.

2. We need to pay attention to declining CT%, but we suspect this trend will turn around in 2010.

3. Ethier's PX and HR/F trends suggest there is even more HR upside than the 31 HR Ethier delivered in 2009.

They say his xBA (.289) says he is poised for a BA correction, yet his 2008 xBA was (.302), and he ended up hitting .272 in 2009. His BA vs. Left-handed pitchers has gone from .351 in 2006 to .279 in 2007, to .243 in 2008 and to .194 in 2009, a very disturbing trend.  His CT% has gone from 85% in 2007 to 81% in 2009 mainly to to the increase in his K% from 15.2% in 2007 to 19.8% in 2009.

Ethier's HR/FB% is definitely trending higher-from 9.4% inn 2007 to 15.4% in 2009, as is his FB% from 35.7% in 2007 to 41.5% in 2009. These trends suggest he could hit more HRs in 2009, for sure. But, his K% is on a negative trend, and he could return to the 46% groundball hitting machine he was back in 2007.

This offseason, I dealt Ethier in the UBA league for outfield prospects Michael Stanton, Jose Tabata, and Andrew Lambo. If this deal turns out like a few of my other deals this offseason, Ethier will hit 40 HRs in 2010.

But I wouldn't count on it.

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