Wednesday: How did we get here with Brennan Boesch???
Did it really all fall apart this quickly?
Brennan Boesch was being pushed for All-Star consideration three years ago. He was a back-to-back AL Rookie of the Month, and a midseason favorite for AL Rookie of the Year by a vote of his fellow Major League players.
“He never, ever looks scared,” Michael Cuddyer said at the time.
He was that combination of power hitter with discipline, so much that was he was in the middle of the AL batting race when he finally had enough plate appearances to qualify.
“It looks like he’s going to be a really great hitter. He already is,” Paul Konerko said amidst that summer of 2010. “We have to try to find a way to hold him down.”
Even with all the cautionary tales of one-year wonders over the years, Boesch looked like the kind of Major League hitter who got it. He wouldn’t keep hitting like he did over the first half of that 2010 season, of course, but he was on his way to being a formidable hitter.
What the heck happened?
First came the skid down the stretch in 2010, when injuries to Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez left Boesch exposed as the guy hitting behind Miguel Cabrera. Rays manager Joe Maddon walked Cabrera intentionally in three straight games to face Boesch and got away with it.
Then came the impossible standards to meet in 2011, and the roller coaster season of his that kept you wondering if he could be that guy again. He hit .319 in the opening month, .186 in May, .380 with six home runs in June, .267 in July, then .208 in August before a season-ending hand injury derailed him.
Whether it was the effect of his damage to his hand or not, he hasn’t been the same since then. Just as important, between the emergence of Andy Dirks, the trade for Delmon Young, the arrival of Avisail Garcia and signing of Torii Hunter, his role hasn’t been the same, either.
His chances of making the team weren’t all that great, no matter what he did, and they relied in part on guys like Dirks struggling. Instead, an oblique strain for Boesch all but ended his chance to compete for the left-field job.
You can chart it and have it make sense, and yet it’s stunning how this all disintegrated so quickly.
Boesch batted .342 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs in the first half of 2010. Then he hit .306 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIS in 2011. In no other half-season has he hit even .245, and he has just 18 home runs in those other stretches combined.
It’s entirely possible Boesch finds his stroke again, if he is really is healthy. He could hit a ton of home runs in new Yankee Stadium, or he could have the ultimate low-pressure situation to get his game going again in Houston. It won’t be the same as Detroit, though.