Today I am starting a series on the hitters who have had breakout seasons in 2009, starting in the NL East. First up are the world champion Philadelphia Phillies.
Phillies-Jayson Werth- Werth has improved upon his 24-67-20-0.273 2008 season by going 35-96-15-.266 in his first year as an everyday player. He has accomplished his power increase by increasing his BB% from 11.8% in 2008 to 13.5% in 2009, while maintaining a HR/FB% of 14.8% .Ron Shandler, from BaseballHQ, predicted a 30-30 season for Werth, and Werth exceeded his power prediction. He will be a top 5-6 outfielder in NL only leagues in 2010.
Braves-Martin Prado-Prado won the 2B job from Kelly Johnson earlier this season and has never looked back. Prado was a part-time player each of the last 3 seasons in Atlanta, but Prado has performed well as a starter. In 474 ABs this season, he has gone 11-49-.303-.353-.463-.816, which is solid for a second baseman. He has a good eye at the plate as evidenced by his 53/33 K/BB ratio. He never hit more than 5 HRs in the minors, but has always hit for a solid AVG and gotten on base. I am curious if he can improve upon his HR totals in 2010, but his 35 doubles tells me that he may just do that.
Marlins-Chris Coghlan-Coghlan was called up by the Marlins back in May to play everyday, whether it was at 3B spelling Emilio Bonafacio or 2B filling in for Dan Uggla, or LF for Jeremy Hermida. But once Hermida started his annual slump, and Coghlan showed that he could hit and get on base at a solid rate, Coghlan took over in LF, a position he never played before. Well, that certainly didn't affect him at the plate. In 482 ABs, he has gone 9-44-7-.315-.385-.450-.835 in his first full season in the majors. As I stated over the weekend, Coghlan stole alot of bases in the minors. Should he start stealing bases, his value will increase, especially since the Marlins plan to move him to 2B in 2010.
Mets-Angel Pagan-although he hasn't played a full season, as he was hurt like most every other Met this season, Pagan has hit very well when he is healthy. In 352 ABs, he has gone 6-31-13-.298-.346-.473-.819, which is solid production for a guy who figures to be a 4th outfielder in 2010. Should the Mets not go out and sign a left fielder, Pagan could be starting everyday in 2010, and should be a cheap source of SBs at the end of your draft or auction.
Nationals-Ryan Zimmerman-I am not sure if Zimmerman had a true breakout season in 2009, as he already has had some pretty solid seasons, but he has established himself as one of the top 2-3 third baseman in the NL in 2010 and beyond. In 588 ABs, he has gone 32-102-105-.287-.360-.517-.877. He has set personal bests in HRs, runs scored, AVG, OBP, SLG and OPS in 2009. He has accomplished these personal best by increasing his HR/FB% from 8.2% to 12.6%, his line drive % from 17% to 21%, his BB% from 6.7% to 10.5%, and lowered his GB% from 0.88 to 0.66.