I did a little research tonight on Rick Ankiel. My eyes are telling me that Rick Ankiel is having some issues right now and is not nearly as good of a hitter as advertised. The numbers back me up as I watch Ankiel strike out with the bases loaded tonight against Kenny Rogers in the 5th inning.
Here are some of the disturbing trends.....
In the month of June Ankiel is hitting .196 with 4 Home Runs and 7 RBI's.
Against left handed pitching he is hitting .217 with 3 Home Runs and 8 RBI's
The more distrubing numbers then the recent slump are that Ankiel is not producing when it counts.
With Runners in Scoring Position he is hitting .239 with 21 RBI's.
This one really floored me. After the 7th inning Ankiel is hitting .120 with 4 HR and 8 RBI.
Those last two stats are telling me that he is not hitting in the clutch. When you consider that for a good part of the season he has been hitting in front of or behind Albert Pujols this is a distrubing trend.
The other thing that concerns me about Ankiel is he hit the wall at about the same at-bat total as where his falloff started last season. In his first 81 at-bats in 2007 he was hitting .358 9 HR 29 RBI. He finished that season with only 2 more HR and 10 more RBI in 91 at-bats. The same trend is happening this year. In Ankiel's first 100 at-bats he was hitting .290 with 5 HR and 16 RBI. Since then he has accumulated only 7 HR and 16 RBI in the next two months with 135 at-bats. The average though is down to .251 a drop of 39 points.
I'm not saying that the Cardinals need to bench Ankiel immediately. But I do think there are some disturbing trends with Ankiel at the plate. I used to be of the opinion that Ankiel should be out there every night regardless of pitcher. The numbers say there are times that it might be wiser to go another way.
Ankiel's glove and arm are clearly superior then most of the other Cardinals outfielders but his bat is not as great as what I think conventional wisdom says. This might be something to keep your eye on as the season continues. Just some food for thought and discussion.