Perhaps leading with "looking to rebound" is a bit harsh when it comes to Andre Ethier. Really, there are two schools of thought on Andre's 2010 season. The optimist would point out that Andre Ethier, in his age 28 season last year, came out of the gates as hot as anybody in baseball. Ethier posted a wOBA of .428 in March/April and followed that up with a scorching wOBA of .585 in May. Of course, Ethier's month of May was cut short as he injured his pinky in batting practice and was placed on the 15 day disabled list. Ethier's return was not pretty as he hit an ugly wOBA of .272 and .312 in June and July respectively before normalizing in August and September to close out the year. So, the optimist would point out that Ethier was among the elite hitters in the NL before a injury slowed down his pace considerably. The optimist would expect that Ethier would rebound from his injury in the offseason and come into camp as locked in as he was in the early part of last season.
The second school of thought would be the
Humma Kavula pessimist approach which would point out that Ethier has always been a streaky hitter, with or without a pinky injury. Sure enough, as you check out his Fangraphs splits for 2009, you'll notice another roller-coaster performance the year before which (while never reaching the "highs" of 2010) shows a volatile hitter throughout his Dodger career. It should also be pointed out that Ethier's K rate continued to climb in 2010 even after his power seemed to return and the "normalizing" mentioned in the first paragraph was partially driven by fortunate BABIP.
Ethier, backed by his hot start to the season, was one of four Dodgers selected for the 2010 all-star team. Interestingly enough, Ethier was pegged to start the all-star team as the National League starter in center field. At the time, Ethier had played in 650 major league games but had never started in center field.
Ethier is under contract for $9.25 million in 2011, with a potential for $125,000 more based on plate appearances. Ethier has one more year of arbitration eligibility in 2012.
|2011 Projections - Age 29 Season|
I expect 2011 to be another fairly consistent year for Ethier, and that's not a bad thing. Volatile/streaky hitter or not, Ethier has put up a fairly consistent wOBA the last two years and I'd bet on a slight rebound in his power numbers. It was nice to see Ethier (despite the slumps) improve on his OBP from 2009 to 2010 and if the pinky injury zapped some of his slugging numbers I do expect a moderate rebound in that department. In that respect, I actually like Ethier to outperform the Bill James, Marcel, Baseball HQ and ZiPS slugging projections above and I have Ethier penciled in for a .280 / .365 / .500 2011.
What are the TBLA community projections for Andre Ethier in 2011? Give us your prediction for BA, OBP, and SLG in the comments, and feel free to add homeruns or any other predictions you have as well.
(Note: There's still time to make your Clayton Kershaw predictions in the comments of his profile.)