David Pinto wonders about another disappointing young Padre:
- Kevin Kouzmanoff played an unusual game Monday night. He picked up two hits and drove in four runs. His seasonal age stands at 27, an age in which he should be showing his best. Instead, he's posting the worst numbers of a lackluster career. As of this morning, Kevin's career line stands at .258/.305/.427. Even his career road number, .271/.318/.458 don't inspire hope of him becoming a good player, and this year his road numbers are worse than his home numbers.
Kouzmanoff regressed for the second year in a row, at a time in his career when he should have been improving. He's fallen to replacement level, and his fielding is the only thing keeping him slightly above that. What is it about the left side of the San Diego infield that turns decent hitters into nothings? Does the constant failure that PETCO park imposes on hitters like Greene and Kouzmanoff just rob them of any desire to hit, or are the Padres just poor judges of hitting talent?
You can number me among those who believed that Kouzmanoff would become, at the very least, a solid major leaguer. But before we number the Padres (and me) among those who were simply wrong about Kouzmanoff, let's at the very least recall that he was a solid major leaguer in 2007, his first season with the Padres. And he was OK last year, too. This year he's been a train wreck, with a .224/.271/.348 line. Essentially, he's hitting more ground balls and fewer line drives, which isn't the ideal combination.
The chances are pretty good, though, that he'll turn things around. Remember, too, that to get Kouzmanoff the Padres gave up Josh Barfield, who's been a huge bust for the Indians. I just don't see a pattern here, because all we've got is one bizarre Khalil Greene season (2008) and two lousy months of Kouzmanoff.
What's more interesting than those two guys is the ballpark ... But again, I'm not seeing the pattern yet. Greene and Kouzmanoff have been disappointing, but Adrian Gonzalez and Brian Giles have thrived (not to mention Scott Hairston). Chase Headley hasn't been good this season, but he showed some promise last year and, again, we're only a couple of months into this season.
I believe that Petco is a mistake, just as I believe that Coors Field was a mistake. I just don't believe that truly extreme ballparks are, in the long run, conducive to building a strong organization. But I'm not ready to blame the ballpark for Khalil Greene and the mildly disappointing Kevin Kouzmanoff. Not yet, anyway.