Good Casey, Bad Casey
My projection of Casey Kotchman for 2007 is .264/.333/.400 in 291 at bats. That really isn't good enough to play 1st base in the majors. Kotchman certainly has the potential to do better than that. I really have no idea how he'll do in 2007, but that projection is a midpoint for a player who has shown remarkable ability at times, but also has suffered through horrendous slumps and most recently missed an entire season (well, he should have missed the entire season, its not like he helped any when he was playing) to mono.
Good Casey hit a combined .370 between AA and AAA during the 2004 season, at age 21. In 2005, he finished the year with the big club as probably their second best hitter after Vladimir, hitting .278/.352/.484.
Bad Casey played in the majors in 2004 and hit only .224 with no power. Between his .368 and .372 minor league stints, he seemed like a deer in the headlights and followed the Gary DiSarcina approach to hitting, his only goal seemed to be not to strike out. Bad Casey returned when he went to AAA to start the 2005 season, and he came on strong after a horrendous early season slump, but still hit only .289 in 363 at bats, and when you are in a hitters park in a hitters league, that isn't very good.
Combining minor league numbers (translated MLE's) for 2004 with major league numbers for 2005, I get good Casey. Combining minor league 2005 with major league 2004, I get bad Casey.
Good Casey hit, per 150 games, .292 with 36 doubles and 15 homers. He struck out 65 times with 38 walks. That's a fine young player, a Wally Joyner/Mark Grace/Sean Casey type. That's what everyone seems to think he should be. Comparisons to Rafael Palmeiro have been made in the past, but should be considered invalid unless Casey can get past MLB testing and use some illegal viagra or something.
Bad Casey, though, hits only .232 with 27 2b and 8 HR per 150 games, though his K/W ratio is remarkably similar at 63/41.
My projection, once again, is a midpoint. He's young enough to improve, and hopefully will finally be healthy. Here's hoping He's healthy enough to let good Casey play and we never see bad Casey again.