"Splitsville" is a series of articles on the Nationals' prospects that we'll be doing throughout their minor league careers. In version one/chapter one (v1.1) of Rick Short, we'll look how he did against the right-handed pitchers versus the southpaws, how he hit with runners in scoring position, and more.
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Actually Hit Righties Better!: Rick Short, who's hardly considered a "prospect" since he'll turn 33 years old in December, showed his veteran presence in 2005 by hitting .383 for the AAA New Orleans Zephyrs. A big reason for his phenomenal season was his success against right-handed pitchers. Short, a right-handed batter himself, posted a .358 average against southpaws. As solid as that was, he hit a ridiculous .391 in 281 at-bats against right-handed hurlers.
Even more remarkable than his higher batting average against right-handed pitchers was how his power remained consistent between the two sets of pitchers. 32.4% of his hits against lefties went for extra-bases and 32.7% of his hits against right-handed pitchers were extra-base hits. The fact he hit for the same power shows just how valuable his experience (drafted in the 33rd round of the 1994 MLB Draft by the Orioles) served him in '05.
Hot As The Summer Months: Short began the 2005 season hitting .321 in his first 45 games with New Orleans, raking 14 doubles and hitting 5 home runs during that time. However, as soon as the summer months drew closer, Short's bat became a hot as the summer months. He hit an even .500 in the month of June before finishing off his final 40 games with a .394 batting average - that means he hit .433 from June 1st until the end of the season!
Road Warrior: Short hit .361 at Zephyr Field, which is 50 points higher than the next highest home batting average posted by Tyrell Godwin (among players amassing a minimum of 100 at-bats at home). Seemingly as good as it gets Short hit a mind-numbing .404 on the road in 2005, which was 69 points higher than the second highest road average for the Zephyrs (Juan Melo hit .335 on the road).
Money In The Clutch: Rick Short was the epitome of a clutch hitter for the New Orleans Zephyrs in 2005. Just a .350 with the bases empty this past season, Short hit a team-high .418 with runners in scoring position. Taking it step further, Short was even better in higher pressure situations. He hit .424 overall with runners on base in 2005 and his average jumped up to .426 with runners in scoring position and with two outs. Imagine where the Zephyrs, who finished 14.5 games out of their division, would have been without Short's clutch hitting.
Middle of the Order Hitter: As his clutch numbers would indicate, Short distinguised himself primarily as a heart-of-the-order hitter. He hit a combined .338 batting either third or sixth in the New Orleans' lineup with just one home run in 40 games. As the team's cleanup hitter or batting fifth in the lineup, Short's average jumped up to .413 with 20 doubles and 7 home runs in 58 games.
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