Eric Bruntlett, IF/OF (RHB)
2008: 212 AB / 37 R / 2 HR / 15 RBI / 21 BB / 35 SO / 9 SB / .217 AVG / .297 OBP / .297 SLG
Summary: 2008 was a career season for Eric Bruntlett, as he broke his highs for games (120), at bats (212), hits (46), runs batted in (15) and runs (37), among other numbers. Despite these new highs, Bruntlett had a poor season in averages, putting up numbers that indicate a downward slope. Still, he hit lefties pretty well (.254/.361/.380). His ground ball rate continued to increase, now close to 50 percent; meanwhile, his fly ball rate continued to decrease, now at 33 percent. He’s hit to all fields, but most of his hits were seeing-eye grounders or hits that found lucky spaces in the outfield. Bruntlett showed consistency in the field after earning a starting job; though he didn’t make outrageous plays, he was steady and surehanded. He also displayed moderate speed, and played multiple positions, including left field.
Career Level: Post-Prime (Year 1)
Green Flags: It’s possible his offensive struggles were a one-year anomaly. … He was implemented well in the running game, being thrown out just twice in 11 attempts to steal. … His versatility made him key to the team’s overall success. … His strikeout rate (16.5 percent) was at its career low.
Red Flags: Bruntlett’s power evaporated in 2008, however little there was before. … With more time, it’s alarming how much his averages dipped. … His walk rate dropped from 9.8 percent in 2007 to 9 percent in 2008.
Prognostication: Bruntlett is not someone to rely upon hard in a hitting role, though Charlie Manuel gambled with him famously in one superior moment in 2008. He also scorched a David Price pitch out of the park in the World Series. With that, it’s possible Bruntlett continues his pace of being a steady overall player who comes up huge in a select few spots. While Bruntlett will be mostly used in defensive/speed spots, his spring stroke might translate into more at bats than 2008. That said, he should raise his averages (at least his on base) in the new year.
2009 Projection: 234 AB / 34 R / 3 HR / 18 RBI / 20 BB / 39 SO / 10 SB / .236 AVG / .330 OBP / .312 SLG