Corey Hart: I told you so

Thanks to the new metrics available at Fangraphs, I can finally and comprehensively explain and quantify why I hate Corey Hart as a fantasy asset and why I laughed so intensely at those who gave him an ADP of 58 on Mock Draft Central.

In 2007, I drafted Corey Hart and he paid off big time. With a .295 AVG, 24 HR and 23 SB (not to mention the 86 R/81 RBI), Hart entered the 2008 season high on my list of guys to target. Hart, however, would prove to me over the course of last season that he is not a guy with 30/30 potential (he only had 505 AB in 2007), but rather a player with poor basic skills to go with raw talent.

Corey Hart has never been a batter with a good eye. His career BB% is a below average 6.1%, but since his first full major league season, he has seen his already poor pitch recognition erode further. Last season, Hart posted a laughable 4.2 BB%, 15th worst among the 213 players who had a minimum of 400 PA's. This season, Hart has a deceptively "high" 8.8%, largely due to the 13 walks he drew in the month of April (Hart has only drawn double digit walks in a month of play one other time in his entire career -- 14 in June 1007). Since May 1, Hart has walked at a 5.2% clip.

Hart's power has also been in the decline since his first full season -- or perhaps it merely spiked in 2007. Hart's 2007 ISO (.244) is almost a full .100 points higher than this season's rate (.150). In 2007, he hit a HR every 21.1 ABs. In 2008, he hit a jack every 30.6 ABs. This season, Hart's home run power has regressed even further, as his HR rate has fallen to one per 34.4 ABs.

The sheer power of Corey Hart isn't the problem (his career home run distance average is over 400 FT, 418.5 FT this season), but rather the ability to make quality contact with pitches. With a swing% above the major league average and contact rate almost 10% below the league average, Corey Hart helps pitchers beat him.

Other aspects that have hurt Corey Hart's game have been decreasing speed (his speed score has gone from 7.6 to 6.2 to 4.5 since his debut), decreasing range (from positive defense to negative), a complete inability to hit sliders (his wSL (run value per 100 sliders) is -4.0 and pitchers have increasing throw sliders to him since 2007) and an increased groundball rate. All of these factors, combined with the waning/deceptively non-existent slugging power collectively conspired to make Hart incredibly overrated. The .380 wOBA player of 2007 set a bar that the .327 and .309 wOBA players of 2008 and 2009 have not and could not live up to.