Thursday, August 20, 2009

Slump or hot streak?

Today's post is inspired by comments made by co-workers ...

Delmon Young (left) has had a miserable season. There's no other way to put it — .269 batting average, .288 on-base percentage, .383 slugging average isn't good for a middle infielder these days (but would have been perfectly acceptable in the 1960s), and he's a corner outfielder.

He's "hot" now, or so we are told. Well, in one respect.

He's hitting, in August, .269 and reaching base at a .296 clip — no real change there. But his slugging average this month is .558. Four of his seven homers have come this month; seven of his 17 extra-base hits have come this month.

He had two extra-base hits in April and zero in May. Zero.


A co-worker mentioned Joe Mauer's long "slump." After all, his batting average dropped some 70 points from its peak in the .420s, and 70-point drops are generally associated with slumps.

So I checked it out. After a 4-for-4 game on June 16, Mauer was hitting .429. After going 0-for-5 on Aug. 1, he was hitting .353 — a 76-point drop-off. In that time, he had 144 at-bats and 39 hits, a .271 average — but with 16 walks and five home runs. In July itself, he hit .309 — 29 hits in 94 at-bats.

A Joe Mauer slump (at least this year) is better than a Delmon Young hot streak.

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