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Saved for Saturday: So what about Corey Hart?

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With all due respect to Rickie Weeks, Bill Hall and Mike Cameron, Corey Hart is arguably the most polarizing Brewer, which is amazing considering he would have been in the running for most beloved around the All Star break last season.

As noted in Thursday's Advent Calendar, Hart's September was the worst month (by OPS) of any Brewer in 2008. That terrible month was compounded by quotes like this one which jihad recently recounted:

“Nothing is working right now with a lot of the guys. We’re trying to see pitches and see what we can do. … I’m not going to sit there and walk, though. I’ll eventually find it, and hopefully we’ll still be in it.” -Corey Hart

Even hitting .173/.192/.245 in September wasn't enough to convince Hart of the wisdom of taking an occasional pitch. Dixieflatline's recent research showed that during the 2008 season, Hart swung at first pitch fastballs outside of the zone 31.7% of the time. That doesn't even take breaking balls in the dirt or anything else into account: that's just fastballs.

Hart's precipitous drop in September brought his OBP to 2008 all the way down to .300, second worst in all of baseball among players with at least 600 ABs:

Player Team OBP
Kevin Kouzmanoff San Diego .299
Corey Hart Milwaukee .300
Miguel Tejada Houston .314
Chris Young Arizona .315
Jose Lopez Seattle .322

Those five players were the only players in all of major league baseball to accumulate 600 ABs with an on base percentage under .325. Hart's terrible September wasn't solely responsible for this number, though: His OBP was only .321 on September 1.

Hart hits for a decent enough average: .283 in 2006, .295 in 2007 and .286 before September of 2008. But his unwillingness to draw a walk, and based on the quote above I think we can call it unwillingness, is among the league leaders. Among players with at least 1200 plate appearances between 2007 and 2008, only 4 have drawn fewer walks than Hart:

Player PA BB BB%
Jose Lopez 1248 47 3.8%
Freddy Sanchez 1261 53 4.2%
Kevin Kouzmanoff 1202 55 4.6%
Delmon Young 1304 61 4.7%
Corey Hart 1223 63 5.2%

Hart struck out 100 times for the first time in his career in 2008, fueled by one every 4.7 at bats in September. I'm concerned that pitchers have figured him out, seeing as he practically comes to the plate with "I'M HACKING" written on his forehead. Am I right? Vote in the poll below.

If you're not a big fan of this contentious topic, there are some other debates going on in the comments of other posts as we speak:

  • Friday's Mug has debates on economic theory, profit/value maximization, and the value of signing veteran roster filler to minor league deals.
  • This FanPost from a Cubs fan wants to know why we're not spewing more vitriol over a disappointing offseason. I'm likely spewing enough vitriol for all of us.