Player A: .276 66 R 15 HR 59 RBI 14 SB (454 PAs)
Player B: .288 56 R 14 HR 55 RBI 14 SB (440 PAs)
Player A is Hunter Pence and Player B is Shin Soo Choo.
Hunter Pence has been quietly producing while Choo is lauded as an up-and-coming superstar. Choo has been in feature articles by nearly every sports media outlet this year. Do you know what Hunter Pence has been up to? Pence leads the Astros in runs, homers, RBIs, and OPS. The right fielder has been the most consistent contributor to the team all year and although he isn’t putting up MVP-like numbers, he doesn’t get near the attention he deserves. Pence just goes about his business without anyone even noticing…..like a ninja!
Hunter Pence broke out his rookie season, hitting .322 with a .360 OBP, .539 slugging, and .899 OPS (all career highs). Pence may not repeat his rookie line but he’s not exactly Jeff Francoeur either. Now in his fourth year, Pence owns 162 game averages of .286/.336/.478/.814 with 84 R, 25 HR, 86 RBI, and 15 SB. Which are basically Shin Soo Choo numbers. And at 27 (same age as Choo), Pence is just entering his prime. Plate discipline has been Pence’s biggest flaw, although it’s not like he’s Mark Reynolds, but the Astros star has improved his strikeout rate each year he’s been in the big leagues. His rates for four seasons are 20.8, 20.8., 18.7, and 16 respectively. If Pence can continue the trend, his line and ratios should only improve. Also at 27, it’s fair to think a bit more power could develop but I’d say 25 homeruns is probably a good seasonal expectation. Pence was an all-star in 2009 and I see him making the midsummer class again…and soon.