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« David Price's Diminished Hook | Main | Verlander's Secondary Stuff »

Jack Cust: Two True Outcomes Hitter

After drifting from Arizona to Colorado to Baltimore to San Diego, Jack Cust established himself as a Three True Outcomes hero in Oakland. The left-handed hitter, ranked as a top-50 prospect by Baseball America at the turn of the millennium, finally made an impact in his late twenties with loads of walks, whiffs and jacks.

Cust still does two of those things regularly, but his pop has declined precipitously. Take a look at his Isolated Power figures since 2007, compared to the league average (in parentheses):

2007: .248 ISO (.155)

2008: .245 ISO (.152)

2009: .177 ISO (.155)

2010: .166 ISO (.145)

2011: .116 ISO (.140)

While offense is down throughout the league over the past couple of seasons, Cust has gone from an elite power hitter to well below-average this year. Considering his contact issues and lack of versatility, it's no surprise that Oakland let him go last winter and Seattle released him earlier this month. The Phillies recently signed Cust to a minor league deal, but it's unlikely that he does much more than get on base at Lehigh Valley.

At the top of his game, Cust crushed just about everything that he made contact with:

Cust's in-play slugging percentage by location, 2008

In 2009 and 2010, he at least remained dangerous on pitches thrown middle and away:

Cust's in-play slugging percentage by location, 2009

Cust's in-play slugging percentage by location, 2010

But in 2011, his hot spots are just about gone:

Cust's in-play slugging percentage by location, 2011

Cust still takes his walks, but all of those punch outs just aren't palatable from a DH-type lacking top-notch power.

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