Have a Little Faith: Is Chris Shelton of the Mariners the "Real Deal"?

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Have a Little Faith: Is Chris Shelton of the Mariners the

Back in 2005 Shelton hit .299 and knocked in 18 home runs in only 107 games, right around two-thirds of the season. He was poised for an incredible 2006 season where some predicted a .308 batting average and 31 home runs. But then something unknown happened to his swing—basically it got really bad, slowly but surely.

In 2006 he still had a nice season of 16 home runs and a .273 batting average in only 115 games, but he strayed away from the path he was progressing on—the path towards dominance.

Shelton missed the 2007 season, and in 2008 he barely managed to hit .216 with two home runs in 41 games. His career was thought to be over. Many gave up on him, but not recently hired Seattle Mariner general manager Jack Zduriencik, who then signed him.

After training with a friend, now Shelton is having one of the best spring training runs there currently is, batting .444 with three home runs in a meager nine at-bats. He is leading the majors in slugging percentage of players with at least four at-bats.

If I was to predict Shelton's statistics in 2009, I would probably get laughed at by many readers that also laughed at fans predicting big seasons from now All-Star Ryan Ludwick. Am I comparing Shelton to Ludwick? Yes, but I think he will have a season like Jorge Cantu's last season, only a higher average.

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