Kotchman and Fly Balls
Before the season, we talked about how Casey Kotchman was going to have to stop beating the ball into the ground with regularity if he wanted to tap into his power. He had shown that he could drive the ball when he got under it, but with a career GB% over 52 percent, he just didn’t hit the ball in the air often enough to give his power a chance to show itself. The coaching staff talked about tweaking his approach a bit, getting him to tap into the power he has and taking advantage of Safeco’s friendly right field porch.
So far, so good. It’s still early, but Kotchman’s GB% is just 39.1% for the year, making him a slight fly ball hitter in his first 57 trips to the plate. Not coincidentally, he’s slugging .540 and giving the M’s a much needed power boost.
It’s too soon to call this experiment a success, as he could easily revert back to his career tendencies as the season wears on, but it’s a nice early sign that perhaps the coaching staff was able to make some necessary changes to how Kotchman swings the bat. Don’t bet on him slugging .540 over the next five and a half months, but with his defense and contact ability, anything over .450 will make him a good player, and anything over .500 makes him a star.