January 2011

2011 New Year’s Resolution: Andres Torres, Make more contact

Now, MoreSplashHits doesn’t want to sound ungrateful for all Torres did in 2010. But every true champion looks for a way to get better. So we’ll offer this resolution for Andres to improve in 2011.

Torres is a little guy who swings a big bat — literally. His 35-inch, 36-ounce is one of the biggest in baseball.

He also swings a big bat, figuratively, for a small guy. He hit 16 home runs last season, was among the league leaders in doubles. His XBH average (percentage of total hits that were extra base hits) was above the league average — 11.8 for Torres,  7.9 MLB avg.

However, that power came at a cost — strikeouts.

Torres’ strikeout average was also above-average — 22.5 to the MLB average of 17.2. Torres hit .331 when he put the ball in play.

But it’s clear to see that his bat became heavier the longer the season went.

Torres had never had more than 185 plate appearances in his five previous MLB seasons. He spent 2006-2008 exclusively in the minors, where seasons are shorter.

In 2010, he had 570 PAs, and that was with a two-week layoff late in the season recovering from an appendectomy.

When Torres took over as the Giants’ full-time lead-off man in mid-May, he was hitting almost .300 with an on-base percentage of .400, numbers that you’d like to see from your leadoff man. He maintained a .280 avg and .370 OBP until August, then the numbers started to drop off.

Of his 35 games in which he struck out at least two times, 18 came after Aug. 1. Of his 10 games with three or more strikeouts, seven came after Aug. 1.

So, heading into 2011, Torres might want to consider a smaller bat. The Giants need him to be a lead-off hitter, use his speed to get on base and set the table for the offense. That means making better contact. If nothing else, Torres should consider choking-up with two strikes. Swing with purpose early in the count. But with two strikes, make contact. That’s your resolution.

Happy New Year Giants fans!

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and Santa brought you plenty of black-and-orange gifts. MoreSplashHits is thankful for another World Series championship T-shirt, a Fear The Beard T-shirt and assorted copies of the San Francisco Chronicle from the Series and postseason celebration (actually not from Santa, but my brother. It’s great to have family in Northern California)

The best part about the new year? It means spring training is only about six weeks away.

It was a great 2010 for the Giants, and we can only hope 2011 brings more of the same.
It’s a time for resolutions, and MoreSplashHits will offer up one — more blog posts. After taking the last couple of weeks off in 2010, MoreSplashHits offers a resolution to post more often in 2011.

It’s a challenge to keep inspired in January, particularly when the Giants concluded the bulk of their offseason transactions early.

But there is still work to be done, most notably with arbitration-eligible players like pitchers Jonathan Sanchez, Javier Lopez, Ramon Ramirez and outfielders Cody Ross and Andres Torres.

Arbitration filing begins Wednesday. Salary figures will be exchanged by Jan. 18, with hearings beginning in February.

In the meantime, we’ll try to fill the void with some suggestions of resolutions for certain Giants players as they prepare for the 2011 season.

Stay tuned.

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