Hunter Pence has arrived in San Francisco and is slated to hit 5th tonight and playing Right Field, taking a spot normally occupied by guys like Gregor Blanco and the former Giant and now current Phillie Nate Schierholtz.
Let me start by saying that I have no idea if my prediction will be correct. If I always had correct predictions, I’d live in a hotel with a sports book and order room service for all of my meals. Getting back to business, you may know of his 17 HR, his incredibly projected .336 OBP that matches up with ZiPS, and even the lack of defensive abilities he brings to the team. Bochy has said Pence will bat 5th, although interestingly enough most of his PA this season have come 3rd and 4th in the order, and I know some people have speculated if/when everybody’s healthy they have him slated in the 6 spot. We shall see.
I know a lot of people don’t like predicting based off of splits, but I’m just going to tell you what’s up: Pence had a better line away from Citizens Bank Park (.300/.354/.488, .362 wOBA, 126 wRC+) than he did at home (.241/.318/.403, .315 wOBA, 95 wRC+), which I have a tough time understanding, but now he doesn’t have to worry about not performing as highly at the CBP. On the flip side, he has just come off his worst month of the season, as July saw a .217/.278/.253, .243 wOBA, 46 wRC+ line, and not only has the calendar changed pages, but he’s got a new uniform on to show everything’s good and ready to go. I realize the majority of his career has been played in Houston, but none of his months are normally as bad as July 2012. I’m going to say his best month this year by the numbers was in June as he put together a .327/.384/.531, .390 wOBA, 145 wRC+ stat pack that included 5 HR and 37 H.
So now comes the question of the article: What does he do from here? Let’s just talk 2012 because we don’t know if he’s even affordable for 2013 (Rainy Day Fund, ya’ll). Here’s what I’m thinking: August he’s going to get used to AT&T on a more consistent basis and does OK and does give opposing pitchers one more batter to worry about in the lineup. September, when a lot of the athletes get tired, is when Pence will get it going.
August predicted numbers: .260/.330/.444, 3 HR
September/October predicted numbers: .290/.360/.500, 6 HR
Your prediction is just as good as mine (unless you’re going to be completely unreasonable), and remember that this trade has no winners/losers for a long time (I’m talking years), especially since there were so many pieces involved. Enjoy the game tonight, and should be a good one with Cainer on the mound for the good guys.