Saturday, March 9, 2013

By Robert Cunningham, Staff Writer -- 

2013 Outlook: Batting Title? Nah, it just doesn't seem like it will ever happen for Howie. However, Kendrick does bring a valuable home-grown talent to second base that goes unappreciated at times. Although Howie isn't a Cano or Kinsler type at the position he does bring steady value with his bat and ability to make contact with the ball while playing above average defense at the keystone.

Kendrick should do well hitting in the 6 or 7-hole a majority of the time. We may also see him spend time in the 2-hole as well based on match ups against specific opponents/pitchers that he peforms well against.

Howie hits both left and right handed pitchers (similar to Pujols) equally well so he gives Scioscia the ability to insert him in between hitters who have a more pronounced platoon split (such as Alberto Callaspo). Additionally with the variety of superstar hitters in the lineup, Kendrick should be "un-stressed" enough to add value with his bat and ability to square up the baseball.

Finally it should be noted that Kendrick had off-season elbow sugery that apparently he played through during part of the season last year. This may have led to a bit of a power outage on his part (although he was never a big power threat) so it wouldn't be surprising to see him power some more balls to the alley's and even pop a few more HR's over the fence this season. Health seems to be a recurring issue this season for many of our starters!

Love to hear what you think!

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