New Home for the Holliday
Matt Holliday has a new home and it’s in Oakland.
After a five year career in the friendly confines of Coors Field, Matt Holliday now moves to cavernous McAfee Coliseum. Holliday’s projected 2009 fantasy baseball stats are the subject of many stories this Spring.
It makes sense that Holliday’s 2009 projections will be lower than they have been historically. Holliday has not been the same during his career when playing on the road. His lifetime batting average in Denver is .357 versus a more ordinary .280 on the road. He’s hit 84 homers at home versus 44 on the road. Over the past three years, that converts to one homerun in 14.6 at bats at home and one in 26.3 on the road.
Holliday’s production dropped off last year as well, but that can be blamed primarily on injury. Holliday played in only 137 games last year versus 158 and 155 respectively in the previous two seasons. Therefore, his power numbers, which slipped to 25 homers in ’08, can be explained versus the 36 and 34 dingers he hit the previous two years. His RBI also fell off last year to 88 versus 137 the year before.
Of course, the Rockies weren’t the same team last year that they were in 2007 when they won a one-game playoff to earn a berth in the post-season, then swept to the World Series.
The A’s aren’t the same team either this season. Oakland hopes to turn around its run production this year and improve on its AL-low 4.01 average runs per game. Oakland’s anemic offense hit just .242 last year versus the league average of .267.
The A’s, however, have actually spent money this year to pick up Jason Giambi and more recently shortstop Orlando Cabrera (which bumps Bobby Crosby from the lineup), plus Nomar Garciaparra. A lineup that features Giambi, Jack Cust, and Eric Chavez (all left-handers) along with Holliday is going to have some pop.
It’s safe to say that Holliday will hit over .300 again in the 2009 season. After all, he’s hit over .300 in the past four seasons; only during his rookie year did he hit under the coveted mark (.290). It’s doubtful, however, that Holliday can match the 35 homers he averaged over the ’06 and ’07 seasons. With the A’s improved lineup, he should top the 100 RBI mark again.
One other aspect of Holliday’s game that goes unnoticed is the fact that he stole 28 bases last year–an all-time high. He’ll probably get the green light more often in Oakland. Holliday may no longer be a first round fantasy baseball draft pick in 2009, but he’s a second rounder.
Holliday came to the A’s for pitchers Huston Street, Greg Smith, and outfield prospect Carlos Gonzalez. Chavez said he was “shocked” by the acquisition. “We gave up pretty decent prospects. It’s usually the other way around.”
That may be true for now, but it will be interesting to see how Oakland reacts with the higher payroll come late summer if they are running significantly behind the Angels.
It may be that Holliday finds himself wearing a Mets uniform after the trading deadline.