In 2005 Brad Wilkerson was hurt, playing in a tough park, and his dog ate his homework. But the Seattle Mariners believe that he's capable of getting back to .260/.380/near-.500 form. They're probably right.
Buy Low Sell High Dept.
Don't be distracted by Wilkerson's .405 SLG last year. That ain't him, no way, no HOW. The previous year's 32 homers are much more indicative of the "poor-man's Jim Thome" career arc.
Wilkerson isn't (yet) a marquee hitter, but Dr. D takes him all day long over a Jacque Jones type. Wilkerson is:
1) A high-OBP guy, very patient 4.2+ pitch/AB, spray hitter
2) A left-hander with sock (32 homers in '04)
3) Capable of filling in at CF - that being half the reason the M's want Jones
4) Young and athletic
5) With upside
Here is Ron Shandler's synopsis after 2004: "... this is an intriguing, growing skill set that might be a few years from peak..." Go with the roto king on this one. Wilkerson probably did not peak in 2004.
Did you know that Wilkerson has a reverse platoon split? He hits LHPs better than RHPs over the last four years total. Meaning what? Meaning that his swing doesn't have a lot of holes; when he swings and misses, he's guessing wrong. Besides, when the other guys bring in their side-arming lefty and Wilkerson takes him deep, the whole series is duck's soup the rest of the way, kid.
He is an extreme power hitter. No, we don't mean he's a 40-HR guy; we mean on the spectrum from Mark McLemore (Seattle) to Mark McGwire (Boston), he is way over in Raleigh. Stylistically.
1. 32 homers in 2004
2. EXTREME flyball ratio, higher than Mike Cameron's, handy for Safeco Field and for those pregame catcher-pop-foul drills
3. PX's (power indexes) of 150, similar to Vlad and Geoff Jenkins and the like
The bottom line is, Wilkerson is a Jim Thome-like hitter who has a sound batting eye, a big lefty-pull swing, and a "stalk the pitcher" approach.
What-Up in 2005 Dept.
Everything about Wilkerson - K/BB, G/F, P/PA, etc - was the same in 2005, except that his IsoP was way down. This means that Wilkerson wasn't losing his grip on the pitcher-hitter battle. It means that he wasn't hitting the ball as hard. No doubt it was just the weakened, injured arm and the park.
Detect-O-Vision Investors, Inc. see the WLK stock as a buy-low opportunity.
Most Comparable Players Dept.
Trot Nixon: Without the platoon split.
But check the young Brian Giles, up until he exploded - perfect comp. As Shandler indicates, Wilkerson has an outside chance to explode like Giles did. Now, don't quote me. We're just saying, like with Cillian Murphy or those ItP guys, there's upside left here.
Wilkerson could also easily disappear, in Bubba Trammell fashion. But Nixon gives you a good idea of Wilkerson's present value.
Wilkerson isn't my hero, but I like his chances to turn into a better version of Geoff Jenkins (more BB) and he's got the perfect Safeco swing.
As the leader of the 2006 fire squad, he leaves the M's needing more body bags. But as wing man on an assault team storming 150-Run Beach, he'd plug his share of baddies.
POTD: Brad Wilkerson
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