Matt Holliday’s slow start

Yesterday afternoon Matt Holliday hit his 7th home run of the season. Holliday has been a target of criticism for a slower than typical start, but Dan Buffa posted yesterday the dates that Holliday hit his 7th home run of the season, which I’ve expanded here a little bit for all his years with the Cardinals and with some more info.

2010: Hit on June 18th in game 67, hit 28 total
2011: Hit on June 16th in game 70*, hit 22 total
2012: Hit on May 15th in game 36, hit 27 total
2013: Hit on May 28th in game 51, hit 22 total
2014: Hit on July 18th in game 97, hit 20 total
2016: Hit on May 25th in game 47…

*- in his first game back after missing 14 games while on the disabled list

So we see that Holliday’s overall home run production is pretty equal to what he’s done in previous seasons where he hit 20 or more home runs.

But for the sake of discussion, let’s see where Holliday has stood after game 47 in each of his previous seasons.

2010: .279/.344/.442, 5 HR, 18 RBI
2011: .356/.447/.468, 6 HR, 30 RBI
2012: .261/.341/.473, 10 HR, 32 RBI
2013: .263/.347/.425, 6 HR, 28 RBI
2014: .267/.366/.369, 2 HR, 25 RBI
2015: .320/.433/.444, 3 HR, 24 RBI
2016: .233/.307/.453, 7 HR, 24 RBI

As we can see, Holliday’s power and slugging still seem to be present, but his batting average and OBP are well down from his normal start. We can also see that, pretty much outside of 2011, he is a slow starter as he has a .295 batting average during his time with the Cardinals. Holliday has pretty consistently been a player who really gets going in the summer time. For his career, June and July are his two best months at the plate.

But let’s take a look at how he finished each of those seasons out over the team’s final 115 games.

2010: .325/.407/.568, 23 HR, 85 RBI
2011: .267/.358/.503, 16 HR, 45 RBI
2012: .311/.396/.508, 17 HR, 70 RBI
2013: .317/.408/.521, 16 HR, 66 RBI
2014: .274/.374/.467, 18 HR, 67 RBI
2015: .197/.311/.342, 1 HR, 11 RBI

As a brief aside, it’s worth pointing out that the second half of 2011 is really what earned Holliday his “unclutch” reputation. After all, how did the #4 hitter on the league’s fifth best offense only rack up 45 RBI over 115 games? Lack of opportunity. For whatever reason, he didn’t get many chances. His 19% RBI rate in 2011 is one of the best of his career, but he got 10% fewer opportunities than he typically has as a Cardinal.

I also included 2015 even though it isn’t very indicative as he played just 30 games, and most of those while coming back from a long stint on the disabled list and likely struggling with his timing. But what we see from all the data is a guy who has typically hit near .300 and adding 16-18 home runs from Game 48 to the end of a season during his time with the Cardinals.

At his current pace, he should have 431 remaining plate appearances this season. Let’s say he hits .300 with 15 home runs the rest of the way. That would put him hitting an overall .273 with 22 home runs.

I think we all would be happy with that.