Known for his high average in the minors, will
Chad Tracy hit over
comes in bunches, great seasons come with consistency. He has shown in the past that he has peaks and valleys. In
his short experience so far in the majors he shoots out of the gate in April
with a .314 avg. Then he slumps down to .267 in May, but hops way up to .331 in
June. July drops him down to .276 and he then steadily increases to .288 in
August. He does finish strong however with his best month of all with .339 in
September. Leveling these things out is the key not just to a .310+
average, but to keep protecting the younger hitters around him in the
Can he produce power out of the hot corner?
past off season Tracy spent in two places, the cage and the weight room.
His roller coaster seasons, he feels, have to do with conditioning. Expect
Tracy to arrive in Tucson next week in the best shape of his life. Will
this conditioning result in home run totals in the 30s is anyone's guess,
but coming up scouts never saw Tracy being a 40 homer guy, so even mid 20s
would be nice. Regardless this is the season in which he will be looked to, from day one, as a
leader. He will hold the third longest tenure of any player in the D'Backs
staring lineup, he will likely be hitting cleanup, and his consistency will not
be counted on, it will be expected. Young players go through slumps, and
it generally takes longer for them to break out of them. With Carlos Quentin
, Stephen Drew
, Chris Young
and Miguel Montero
all entering their first
full seasons, and Conor Jackson
entering just his second full term, Tracy will
be the man, for power, for protection, for everything.
Will his strike outs come down and will his walks go up?
Like the Kentucky Wildcats, Tracy was all about the press in '06.
After a 27 homer '05, Tracy knew the biggest gaping hole in his game, and
the D'Backs lineup, was a lack of power. The ball wasn't traveling,
the team wasn't winning, and Tracy started pressing. Nobody in the
game (nobody playing it legally anyway) tries to hit home runs.
Tracy did, and thus Tracy hit a lot of two hoppers to second, worse yet, he
amped himself up and looked bad swinging over sliders down and in.
There is no reason to believe the pressure on Tracy in '07 will be any less,
but his ability to handle it should improve, and thus the K's and walks
should even out a bit.
The good news for Tracy is that nobody in the D'Backs
system is breathing down his neck. The bad news for fans is that this means
there isn’t any pressure to inspire motivation. All of Tracy’s numbers can be
improved but he needs to find a new gear to reach that level. What ever the case may be, statistically those
peaks and valleys are there. To take this a step further would be to say that he
can very well have yearly peaks and valleys. It could end up that 2007 is his June and
he could break out with an All-Star season.
Some questions appear to have answers. It wouldn't be unusual for Tracy to
have that sophomore slump due to the longer season. In season one players
are running on adrenaline the entire year, there is no such thing as being
tired, because they've just realized their dream. But in season two
players feel the effects of a 162 game season for the first time.
If Tracy can find a way to be more
consistent throughout the year, this would stabilize a very young lineup that
needs leadership. It’s extremely unlikely that Tracy will ever hit more than 35
HR’S but with the emergence of Carlos Quentin, Stephen Drew, Chris Young, and
Conor Jackson the D'Backs do not need that many long balls. Consistency will win
games for the D'Backs this year simply because of the youth that is emerging in
the NL West. A consistent Tracy can be the rock of the lineup, the man who leads
the D'Backs It also doesn’t
hurt to have 2 Cy Young award winners on the mound…