Player Watch: Hunter Pence

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Thursday, March, 4th 2010, at the Houston Astros’ Grapefruit League opener, Hunter Pence went 3 for 3, hitting two home runs off National’s pitchers Joel Peralta, and Shairon Martis, in the same inning—adding to a drubbing of the Nats by a score of 15-5. His other hit was a double, and he added 2 runs scored and 4 rbi’s—nice way to start spring training. For his fantasy and real life baseball owners this is very exciting news as Hunter has a lot of talent, and the speculation is that he could be a 30-20 fantasy stud. Many believe that Hunter has not yet had his breakout campaign, despite hitting 25 home runs in each of the last two seasons. Though his rbi’s and runs scored have dipped slightly from 2008 (83 rbi, 78 runs) to 2009 (72 rbi, 76 runs), he improved his batting average from .269 to .282 respectively. He also improved on his strike-out to walk ratio from 124/40 to 109/58 during that span. If he can continue that practice, it is possible for him to hit .300. The one factor that is not in his favor is that the Astros just really aren’t that good. His rbi totals aren’t going to reach three digits until the team starts getting on base in front of him more effectively—because of that, Hunter might be available a round or two later than his bat will prove. In 2010, look for Pence to make a run at 30 homers and 85-90 rbi’s, with 80 runs scored, and steal double digit bases. However, his ceiling could be higher and if you are looking for a semi-bargain outfielder who will probably perform like a top outfielder look no further than here. It’s worth noting, he will be 27 in April!

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