Baseball Notebook

Daily Baseball Blog

Garrett Atkins: Career in Freefall

Garrett Atkins hit 29 home runs and drove in 2006 for the Colorado Rockies but his career has been in a tailspin since then and has continued after being signed by the Baltimore Orioles.

Garrett Atkins came within one RBI of having three consecutive 100 RBI seasons for the Rockies but that 99 RBI season in 2008 was the last good season for Atkins.

His career year in 2006 with 29 home runs and 120 RBI’s ended well but in each succeeding season his offensive numbers have dropped.

His numbers starting with the 2006 through the 2009 seasons:

Home Runs: 29-25-21-9

RBI’s: 120-111-99-48

Batting Average: .329-.301-.286. 226

On Base Percentage: .409-.367-.328-.308

Slugging Percentage: .556-.486-.452-.342

On Base Plus Slugging: .965-.853-.780-.650

Atkins was non-tendered by the Colorado Rockies after the 2009 season and was signed by the Baltimore Orioles to a one year contract for $4 million. It was very generous of Baltimore considering his offensive numbers were falling each year.

With the 2010 season almost a third over Atkins is continuing his freefall and has only one home run and eight runs batted in after 138 plate appearances. His percentage numbers are continuing to fall with a .214 batting average, a .261 on base percentage, a .294 slugging percentage and a on base plus slugging percentage of .555.

It is puzzling how a 30 year old player like Atkins can be near the end of his career after being such a dominating player while with the Rockies. He was hitting in a hitter’s ballpark but that doesn’t explain his numbers falling in his last four seasons while still playing in Coors Field.

The Orioles hoping they could rejuvenate Atkins with a change of scenery are now out of $4 million for a player who is not helping the team. It is sad to see a player who has played well in the past suddenly lose the ability to hit for power and average.

Three years ago Atkins was earning $400,000 a year. If he finishes this season he will have made $15.3 million over the last three seasons so baseball has been good to him but his journey may be ending before this season is over.

Around the Infield

Max Scherzer of the Tigers was a victim of pitch counts yesterday when he was removed from the game after striking out 14 batters in 5 2/3 innings in the  Tigers 10-2 win over the Athletics.

In the old days Scherzer would have completed the game and had ten more chances to strike out batters before getting the 27th out. Instead he threw 113 pitches before the end of the sixth inning and was removed from the game. The question is what if he was throwing a no-hitter? Is the pitch count going to prevent a pitcher from pitching a no-hitter one of these days?

Albert Pujols had only hit two homers since April 25 prior to yesterday but hit three home runs in Wrigley Field in the 9-1 Cardinals win over the Cubs. The three home runs moved him into a five way tie for the NL home run lead….The Reds who outscored the Astros 27-8 over the first two games were held scoreless by the Astros in a 2-0 win for the Astros. Neither team scored until Lance Berkman hit a two run double in the tenth inning.

The Blue Jays continued their home run barrage yesterday with Lyle Overbay, Jose Bautista hitting his major league leading 16th home run and Alex Gonzalez going deep. The Blue Jays have hit 88 home runs in 52 games with two games remaining before the season is a third over. If they can hit a total of two more home runs in the next two games they will be on track to hit 270 home runs which would break the record for most home runs by a team in a season when the Mariners hit 264 in 1997.

The Astros have the fewest home runs this season with 25 in 50 games. The Indians, Athletics and Mariners have the next fewest with 30 home runs each….Justin Morneau leads the majors with a .368 batting average and the first NL player on the list is Martin Prado listed as tenth in the majors at .325.

The Braves have the longest current winning streak with five consecutive wins. The Diamondbacks have a seven game losing streak for the longest losing streak….The Braves have the best record in their last 10 games with an 8-2 record while the Orioles and Pirates are the worst with 2-8 records.


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