It wasn't long ago that I wrote up a post on Jack Cust's career-high groundball rate. The normally airborne Cust had been putting more than half his balls in play on the ground, and so it was hardly any wonder why he wasn't hitting for power. The big question at the time was whether Cust could get things fixed, or if his career had simply gone over the edge, never to return.
Well, now there's good news and bad news. First, the good news. Cust's 2011 groundball rate peaked on April 23rd. Here are some splits:
Through April 23
- 56% groundballs
Since April 24
- 43% groundballs
In the first block, Cust had one extra-base hit. In the second block, Cust has seven extra-base hits. He's actually been a very productive hitter for the past few weeks.
But the bad news, obviously, is that Cust is still waiting on his first home run. Through 146 trips to the plate as a Seattle Mariner, Cust has yet to hit a ball over the fence. He's gotten close - in Boston, and a few times in Baltimore - but we don't expect Jack Cust to come close to hitting home runs. We expect Brendan Ryan to come close to hitting home runs. We expect Jack Cust to do the damn thing, and he still hasn't done the damn thing.
So it's a bittersweet split. Jack Cust appears to be making progress. He has straightened a lot of things out, to the point at which he's now helping the lineup score runs. But because he still hasn't knocked a ball out - or, more accurately, because he still hasn't knocked a few balls out - we're left wondering if he's simply lost something that's not coming back.
We'll see. I'm happy to see that Cust is hitting a little bit, and I'll give him more time to hit that first dinger, but I never in my life thought I'd be in a position where I'm wondering if Jack Cust is incapable of hitting the ball out a few times a month. He's having a weird season.