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Chase Headley confident that his 2012 was not a fluke

Jan 6, 2013, 9:07 AM EDT

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Padres third baseman Chase Headley hit .286/.376/.498 with 31 home runs, 31 doubles and 115 RBI in 699 plate appearances last season, blowing away all of his previous career-bests. And he’s pretty certain he can keep that pace going forward.

Via Corey Brock, beat writer for MLB.com:

“I expect a lot out of myself. And I do think that the norm of my career will be much closer to last season than the years before that,” Headley said. “I feel like I’m closer to being that type of player … having that success I had last year, gives me a lot of confidence going forward. … I care about what I want to do. I want to be the best I can be.”

The 28-year-old batted just .289/.374/.399 with four homers and 44 RBI in 439 plate appearances for the Padres in 2011, but he was dealing with shoulder, calf and pinkie injuries. Good health and newfound power helped him reach a new level of stardom last summer, and he’s ready to build on that here in 2013.

The fences are being moved a bit closer at San Diego’s Petco Park, which should help matters.

  1. ptfu - Jan 6, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    He’s finally getting a clue at the plate. Headley used to have such terrible at-bats–going for bad pitches, swinging for the fences–and he still produced. Really frustrating to know what he could do, and watch him hacking at pitches in the dirt. I’m glad he’s getting it together. He’s still got room for improvement too.

    I see no reason Headley’s 2013 shouldn’t be comparable to his 2012. Even if fewer fly balls find their way over the wall, if he keeps taking good at-bats then he’ll be fine.

    • paperlions - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      Odd.

      The only difference between Headly last year and Headly before last year was the increase in HRs. Same walk rate (which is pretty nice), same K rate (which is fairly high), same BABIP (which is highish, but he’s sustained it). Health seems to be a lot bigger factor than plate approach….and really, the only new thing was the HR rate.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        I’m unclear why you attribute his higher HR rate to health. If the other rates are the same-ish, why wouldn’t you be inclined to say his plate discipline made the difference?

      • paperlions - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        His plate discipline didn’t change, it’s always been good. He walked about 1% more often last year, which was probably just him being pitched around because of the HR rate (not the other way around). His HR rate about doubled if you ignore his injury plagued 2011. Chance can greatly affect HR rates. He really wasn’t much different last year than before. Same BBs, same Ks, same 2Bs, same BABIP. It is more likely that a combination of health, age, and chance affected his increase in HR than approach…as there is no evidence that his approach changed…is there?

      • historiophiliac - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:47 PM

        IDK, I don’t follow the Padres really. I was curious. When I just look at the numbers it seems plausible to say that his injuries must have been minor and didn’t affect his hitting too much — and that he may have learned to hit smarter to compensate for what issues he had (which could explain his improvement in HR’s when the rest of his hitting didn’t change much). I can’t get educated here if you guys don’t show your work.

      • clydeserra - Jan 6, 2013 at 2:37 PM

        His HR/FB rate jumped from 4% to 21%. That is cause for caution.

      • chacochicken - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        His grit to guts ratio went way up.

  2. hardballtalkusername - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Lol, would be more entertaining if he said “oh yeah last year was a total fluke. I have no chance to ever repeat that success and the Padres should trade me now while my value is the highest.” Now that would be newsworthy.

  3. chacochicken - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Perfect title for the Onion “Chase Headley confident that his 2012 was a total fluke”

    • historiophiliac - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      I kinda think it would be funnier (or funner) if that headline was about Dickey.

      • chacochicken - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:26 PM

        Hmmm, maybe “R.A. Dickey turns out to really be 38-year old white knuckleballer from Nashville.”

  4. djjackson81 - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    I don’t get it the fences are being moved inn but y’all think there will be less home runs hit? Is any of this relevant if he is traded to Az for Upton?

  5. icanspeel - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    I really think hitting coach Phil Plantier helped him a lot. He was working with him on elevating the ball more and not taking first pitch strikes down the middle and the progress showed as the year progressed.

  6. ningenito78 - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    FUTURE NEWS: Padres 3B Chase Headley suspended 50 games for testing positive for PEDs and related substances.

    • hardballtalkusername - Jan 6, 2013 at 2:59 PM

      FUTURE NEWS: You receive a lot of thumbs down for such unoriginal trolling.

  7. uyf1950 - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    If he comes close to duplicating his 2012 performance in 2013 it will be very interesting to see the teams that line up to try and trade for him. He’s projected to make via arbitration about $8.3MM this year. Another year like 2012 in 2013 and he will probably make about $12MM or so if not more in his final year of arbitration. Unless he’s willing to give the Padres a very, very friendly home town discount he won’t be with them very much longer. Just my opinion.

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