Stewart still has room for growth
Updated: September 21, 2009, 2:18 PM ETBy Jason Grey | ESPN.com
Ian Stewart has put up the power numbers this season, hitting 24 homers and slugging .476 in fewer than 400 at-bats, but he also has struck out in close to a third of his at-bats and hit just .230. That obviously has been better than what Garrett Atkins has done for the Colorado Rockies this season, but Stewart knows that adjusting his two-strike approach will be key in helping him fulfill his potential. "I need to focus on battling more with two strikes and make the adjustments from pitch to pitch within the at-bat, focusing more on putting the ball in play," the Rockies third baseman said. Stewart hasn't necessarily improved during the second half as you'd expect from a young hitter settling into more regular playing time, as his splits have been basically the same and he's hit just .216 this month. His walk and strikeout rates have improved slightly, but not much. His batting average hasn't been helped by some poor luck, as his batting average on balls in play has been just .273, and his exposure to lefties hasn't gone well (.394 slugging), but he's shown enough to imply he will handle them well enough, so I'll chalk some of that up to sample size (99 at-bats).