Franklin Gutierrez’s 2009 Had a Twin

By R.J. Anderson //

Franklin Gutierrez‘s batting line this season should look familiar for owners who had Gutierrez last season. The 27-year-old center fielder for the Mariners is batting .278/.352/.418, compared to a very similar .283/.339/.425 last season. There have been some changes in Gutierrez’s game, though.

The most notable is his decreased frequency of balls put into play. Gutierrez (featured in the latest edition of “Ballpark Figures”, due up on the site later today) is walking nearly 11% of the time and striking out 26% of the time. Over the last two seasons he’s managed walk rates shy of 7.5% and strikeout rates below 22%. He’s just not swinging the bat as much, and as a result he’s taking some extra walks, but also taking more close pitches for strike three.

However, the added layer of patience hasn’t really affected Gutierrez’s power production. His ISO (slugging percentage, minus batting average) is .139, nearly identical to the last two seasons (.135 and .142). He’s hit seven home runs, and his home run per fly ball percentage (8.3%) is a little below his career average (9.7%), but he’s playing in Safeco Field, which is notorious for handcuffing right-handed batters’ power strokes. See for instance, Adrian Beltre‘s power surge in Boston, after Seattle.

Gutierrez is surrounded by a punchless lineup, despite the recent acquisition of Russell Branyan, meaning his chance at solid RBI totals are greatly diminished. He’s not going to score as many runs as he should either, even though he gets on base at a solid clip. The other cruel reality known well enough to any owner who thought of Gutierrez as the prototypical defensive wizard in center with outstanding range is that Gutierrez rarely steals bags. He’s only stolen 42 in his career, which stretches over 500 major league games.

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There’s nothing all that new to report on Gutierrez’s status heading forward. There’s no reason to abruptly sell Gutierrez, but there’s not much of a reason to rush out and acquire him either. Everything is simply status quo.

For more on Franklin Gutierrez, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Tools

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