Aubrey Huff. I'm going to dust off an old nickname and call him Spanky from here on out. I'm sure Mike LaValliere won't mind.
What to expect from Spanky this year? Expect him to be worse than last year. Why?
AVG HR OBP SLG OPS
2000-2004 .295 98 .348 .491 .839
2005-2007 .269 85 .333 .445 .778
He's gone from a fairly useful, sometimes dangerous, slugger to a marginal 1b/DH type.
He has gotten progressively less patient at the plate and his slugging is down almost 50 points over the last three years.
He posted a .779 OPS last year. It isn't as if he brings a lot of speed or defense to the table to offset that number. That puts him right above Jose Vidro and behind Kevin Millar among MLB first basemen for the 2007 season.
(I'll cover this later but Millar has been such a bargain over the last two seasons. He outperformed Spanky and cost the team less than half Huff's salary...I don't find Millar to be a bad player at all, at least for the talent level available on the Baltimore roster. He's the best option for 1B on the 40-man roster. That's right, I said it.)
Is there any hope? Some take solace in that strong August and September Spanky had to finish the season. I don't. He's always finished strong. That's his modus operandi. It's also to start so slow that he is one of the worst offensive firstbasemen in the major leagues before Memorial Day.
All we can pray for is that he posts a first half worthy of notice and some contender offers to take him off our hands. And good riddance.