You may remember May 31st of last year. It was the day that Carlos Pena was sent to Toledo and Chris Shelton made his 2005 debut. While Shelton was with the team in 2004, getting a start every other weak against other teams toughest pitchers is hardly worth counting. So now that we are into June of 2006, we can take a look at what a full season’s worth of Shelton looks like.
Using the Day by Day Database at Baseball Musings, it is easy to take a look at Shelton from May 31, 2005 to May 30, 2006.
In his first full season’s worth of games, Chris Shelton posted a line of 303/366/533 across 568 at-bats. He hit 29 homers, and surprisingly 6 triples. Those numbers are certainly acceptable, and downright gaudy, for what essentially is the rookie season.
Taking a look at some of his splits, there are some surprises that may indicate the best is yet to come.
He has actually hit better against right handers than left handers. He has a 924 OPS against righties and an 824 OPS against southpaws.
Also surprising is not necessarily that he hits better in Comerica Park (938 OPS) than on the road (867), but that 15 of his 29 homers have come in the homer supressing park. His isolated power is 241 at home and 220 on the road.
His best month was of course April and his worst month was of course May.
The most interesting split may be when he faces starters versus relievers. He has a 986 OPS versus starters and only 706 against relievers. I’d attribute that mostly to Shelton’s rigorous preparation. Reports are that he’s a big video guy. And while he can take a good long look at the starter, it is harder to anticipate which members of a bullpen he’ll face.
Now with a full season in, I can’t help but wonder if Chris Shelton’s recent struggles are a bit of a sophomore slump?