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Player Profile #130: Andre Ethier | OF | LAD

It’s never good when one of your team’s best offensive weapons posts an ISO almost 25 percent worse than their previous career low, and it’s doubly bad when that player is just 29 years old and should be in their prime. That’s Andre Ethier‘s 2011 season in a nutshell. His power almost completely vanished, and by the end of the season fantasy owners and Dodgers fans were stuck with a hollow .292 average and not much else to show for it. Ethier pulled a James Loney and remained able to hit line drives and post a good average but didn’t bring much overall production to the table. That said, he’s worth a risk this season given the potential hidden under the surface.

Best case scenario: Matt Holliday (STL)
Similar players: Carlos Beltran (STL), Billy Butler (KC), Nick Markakis minus the SB (BAL)
Worst case scenario: James Loney (LAD)

Strengths

BA, vs. RHP. Ethier will deliver the average. Even when he hit .272 in 2009, his .294 xBA showed that was more a lack of luck than a lack of skill. However, he still excels against right-handed pitchers. Even through last season’s struggles, Ethier posted a 138 OPS+ (OPS against the league average) and for his career this number is 115.

Weaknesses

SB, vs. LHP. Ethier won’t steal bases, but you already knew that. He’ll struggle to replicate another 30/100 season facing lefties as much as he does these days, especially when he’s a career .242 hitter with a .661 OPS against lefties.

ADP Report (131.6)

This is a good spot to take a chance on Ethier. In 2010, when he hit just 23 homers and drove in just 82 runs, he was still able to rank inside the top 100. Last year’s abysmal season has suppressed his rank even further, but he’s a good bet to do much better than 2011. At the very worst he’ll contribute batting average and probably a good number of RBI, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t hit 20 homers again and get back on track. That should make him a borderline top 100 player.

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About the author: Bryan is the co-founder of Baseball Professor and works as a consultant specializing in operational metrics and efficiency analysis. When he’s not working, blogging, or tending to basic human needs, he enjoys pondering the vastness of the universe, rewatching episodes of Breaking Bad, and avoiding snakes. (@BaseballProf)

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