08 July 2012
Quintin Berry burst onto the scene in late May as a fill-in for the injured Austin Jackson. The month of May ended with Quintin Berry as the new superstar in Detroit with a nine-game (Major League debut) slash line of .333/.395/.436 that also included five stolen bases and nine runs scored. He wasn’t necessarily replicating the production that Jackson had provided, but he was helping the struggling Tigers stay afloat.
But naysayers popped up all over the net to tell us why Berry’s success wasn’t going to last. His minor league track record wasn’t particularly good, his .542 BABIP wasn’t sustainable, he was striking out too much (34%), and his walk rate wasn’t all that high (7%). He was surely going perform worse in the future.
But 14 games later, after a 5-5 day at the plate versus the Colorado Rockies, Berry’s numbers were actually better than they were on June1. His slash line now read .333/.409/.436. But his peripheral numbers were still concerning. His .473 BABIP was still unsustainably high, his strikeout rate (26%) remained problematic, and his walk rate (7%) was still below league average. There remained much doubt that Berry could be a successful big league hitter with those types of numbers hanging over his head.But things have been different in the 18 games since his five hit day. His numbers have been a bit worse, his slash line since that day is .242/.356/.355, but it wasn’t the utter collapse that many (including myself) predicted. The .711 OPS is a bit lower than you’d like from a corner outfielder, but he’s doing it with a very-good .356 OBP which is still incredibly useful even when accompanied by very little power.
His peripheral numbers look quite different over this stretch of 18 games. His BABIP was a very reasonable .326, his strikeout rate continued to hover at 24%, but his walk rate more than doubled to 15%. So even thought the BABIP magic hasn’t continued, and the strikeout rate remained elevated, Quintin Berry has managed to stay productive by upping his walk totals.
He’ll be able to remain a fixture in the outfield and at the top of the lineup as long as he can keep up a similar approach at the plate. He’s not going to be a high average hitter, and he certainly doesn’t possess raw power, but if he steps up to the dish looking for a free pass, he’s going to do just fine setting the table for Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.