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Thursday, January 29, 2009

With Lots To Prove, He Wants To Prove

Position: First Baseman
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 210 lbs.
2009 Age: 26

On July 29, 2008, the Braves traded soon-to-be free agent Mark Teixeira to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for two players. One was pitching prospect Stephen Marek, and the other was first baseman Casey Kotchman. Once regarded as the Angels' top prospect, Kotchman has yet to live up to his 20-25 homer potential, though.

After he was traded to the Braves, Kotchman had a very hard time adjusting. He brought his glove, but not his bat, hitting just .157/.259/.214 with no homers and five RBIs in his first 20 games as a Brave. He was put on the bereavement list for a few weeks because his mother was suffering from an illness. That, and the transition to a totally new organization, may have been affecting his play.

Kotchman has first base all to himself; there is no immediate threat to usurp him from the job. Still, it's up to him to produce to keep the job. As long as he is able to hit to all fields and put the ball in play like he can, he'll be the Braves first baseman for this year, and maybe the next.

AWFUL AUGUST: In his first month as a Brave, Kotchman dealt with a lot of issues, finishing with a .180/.292/.246 line, with no home runs and five RBIs. Those were garnered in his first 20 games, as mentioned above.

OLD PROMISE: In 2005, Baseball America called Kotchman the top prospect in the Angels organization and was sixth-best in the country, according to editors John Manuel and Jim Callis.

HIGH LEVERAGE LEADER: In "high leverage" situations last season, Kotchman batted .340/.362/.520 with four homers and 38 RBIs.

My Outlook: September of 2008 showed that Kotchman was able to hit more like he was "supposed" to. If he can keep his production around or just below those numbers, he should be productive.

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