Player A: .285 avg 93 Runs 25 HRs 91 RBI 18 SBs
Player B: .304 avg 101 Runs 25 HRs 103 RBI 14 SBs
If you’ve read much of my work, or if you have any knowledge of the Astros, you know player A is Hunter Pence. 1. because I’ve written about him before and 2. because this is an Astros blog and he’s the only guy on that team with numbers anywhere near this line. However, player B is Ryan Braun. Yes, Braun still has a clear advantage overall, but it’s surprising how close it is. Pence has been one of the most consistent players in baseball the past few years and continues to improve to an elite-level outfielder. 2010 marked the third straight season he’s hit 25 homeruns. In each of those three seasons, Pence has played in at least 154 games while increasing his stolen bases each year from 11 to 14 to 18. He’s also increased his average each year from .269 to .282 to .285. It’s the same story with hits. 160 to 165 to 173. The main knock on Pence continues to be his lack of patience at the plate but he’s cut down his strikeout total each of the last three years from 124 to 109 to 103. This season he set career highs in runs, hits, stolen bases, and RBIs.
Hunter Pence is entering his prime at 27 years old and his numbers are trending in the right direction. On the baseball field or on a fantasy roster, it’s nice to have guys you know you can count on for certain levels of production and Hunter Pence is one of those guys. This season he also did most of his damage without a good bat behind him as Carlos Lee hit a career low .244. Hunter Pence is no question the Astros offensive MVP as he led the team in homeruns, RBIs, runs, and OPS. Pence also provides Houston with a great value. The everyday right-fielder made $3.5 million this season and while he’s arbitration eligible in 2011, he won’t become a free agent until 2014 when he’s 31 years old…comforting news for Astros fans.