Kottaras is Greek for walkoff. #Brewers
— Jaymes Langrehr (@JaymesL) April 18, 2012
George Kottaras continued his magical month of April on Tuesday evening, lining a game-winning double into the right-center gap off Dodgers’ closer Javy Guerra. The play was punctuated with a tremendous slide by first baseman Mat Gamel, in which he slid to the outside portion of the plate and avoided the catcher’s tag by mere inches. All in all, it proved to be a succinct illustration of why baseball is simultaneously an exhilarating, beautiful, and heart-wrenching sport.
The double by Kottaras was only his fifth hit of the entire season. Four of the five have been for extra-bases, and it was his first hit since connecting on a solo home run against the Atlanta Braves on Friday.
This marks the third time in his four-year career that more than half of his total hits have been extra-base hits. Here is a chart that compares his total hits to his extra-base hits over the past four years:
|Year||Extra-Base Hits||Total Hits|
That trend is obviously extremely desirable in any position player, especially a catcher. In fact, only two catchers have posted a higher ISO than Kottaras between the 2011 and 2012 seasons (min. 100 PAs) – Mike Napoli and Henry Blanco. The Brewers’ catcher owns a higher ISO than every other catcher in all of Major League Baseball in that time frame.
His weak throwing arm and his inability to control the running game keep him from garnering an everyday role on a major league roster. The best way to utilize Kottaras, it seems, is with the occasional start when Randy Wolf takes the mound and as a primary pinch hitter against right-handed pitching. That maximizes his value to the big league squad, while minimizing the time frame in which his weaknesses can be exploited.
It’s crazy to think Kottaras possesses a 1.250 slugging percentage thus far in 2012 and is currently tied for the most RBI (8) amongst Brewers players, despite only twelve at-bats.