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Evan Chambers: I'll Try To Be More Aggressive

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Here's a nice interview with Evan Chambers, who I imagine will be the starting centerfielder at Bradenton this year. He repeats something he's said in previous interviews, which is that this year he will try to improve his aggressiveness at the plate. That could be a pretty radical adjustment for him: Chambers has a very interesting set of skills (speed, power, a tremendous batting eye, defensive ability), but the most important facet of his 2010 season was his passivity, as he put up a very low batting average and picked up walks and strikeouts in bunches. As I've said before, I definitely think Chambers is an interesting prospect, but I'd much rather see a guy who has a similar skillset but hits for average rather than walking all the time - think Starling Marte. A fair number of hitters walk infrequently in the minors but end up walking in the majors. Sammy Sosa and Jermaine Dye come to mind. My sense is that players like Chambers who post poor averages and lots of walks in the minors don't usually make it. (I know I keep saying this while producing only anecdotal evidence to back it up, so I just wrote to Dan Szymborski, the creator of ZiPS, to see what he has to say about it. If he gets back to me, I'll let you know what he says.) It isn't impossible for someone like Chambers to make it, though. Last time we talked about it, Vlad mentioned Mickey Tettleton, who had a good career with a minor-league profile similar to Chambers'. UPDATE: Szymborski responds in the comments: "Tettleton actually is a funny case in that he was considered a glove man first in the minors and his defensive reputation quickly changed when he started to hit. "All-walk guys in the minors do tend to translate/project fairly poorly. Usually, players like that hit a point where better pitchers just eat them alive. Players who can do it in the majors are usually OK - after all, they’re already doing it against the best competition. Plate discipline should be a means to an end - you gotta punish good pitches. Even Lance Blankenship, possibly the most extreme player of this type to have actual value in recent years, still hit .273 in the minors." You can check out Dan's ZiPS projections at Baseball Think Factory.

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