September Star Series: Ryan Raburn
Previously, we discussed Jose Bautista's September 2009 and Drew Stubbs' September 2010. This week, we take a deeper look into Ryan Raburn's scorching end to 2010 to see if he's primed for a 2011 breakout.
From August 1st on, Raburn had a stat line of .343-39-13-39 during the final months of the 2010 season. He nearly doubled his ABs after the All-Star break, continuing his yearly increase in playing time.
What we need to determine is if this was a direct result of playing time or a change in approach. If it's a direct result of playing time, we may be on the cusp of seeing a truly great season out of a guy who is 2B-eligible in some leagues.
When you look at his charts, besides everything trending in the right direction in those final two months, it's his line-drive percentage that stands out. All of his in-season charts are not too different than his career norms, but his LD% increased greatly in those final two months, prompting me to acknowledge a change in approach.
It appears the more playing time he got, the better he became at seeing the ball and driving it—13 times over the fence. In those final two months, Raburn hit 13 of his 15 HR (one every 16.2 AB compared to every 80.5 ABs the first four months), and according to HitTracker they traveled an average of 391 feet with two "no-doubters" and only one "lucky" HR.
So now that we're salivating at the prospects of a full season out of Ryan Raburn and a line of .343-117-39-117, what are his chances this year of increased playing time?
In 2010 he saw most of his time in LF, and by the looks of things it's his position to lose during spring training 2011. If we pencil him in as the starter, we have to assume his slow starts don't keep him from staying in the lineup, as he's a career.213 hitter in April and .207 in May.
In nearly 2,500 MiLB ABs and 1,000 MLB ABs, one thing is certain: Ryan Raburn is a pretty consistent .274 hitter. In spite of this, I am inclined to say that he has a lot of upside to his average. Why? If you look at his wOBA going back to his available data from the minors on FanGraphs, his ability to get on base and create runs is legitimate and quite impressive.
You have to head into your draft targeting this guy as a low risk, high reward player. He is currently the 267th player off the board in mocks, and if you're in a league where he's eligible at 2B, don't sleep on him because your league-mates might be reading this.
My 2011 Ryan Raburn Projection with 500 ABs (Ceiling): .290-80-25-80-5 (Floor): .270-65-20-65-2
Our third 2011 Nomination coming up: Logan Morrison.
Mike Harris is a Senior Writer for 4thandHome.com, where this original article can be found.