The breathless stories that tracked Howie Kendrick through the minor leagues and into the majors were all but required to refer to him as a future batting champion.
And why not? In his four full minor league seasons, he batted .368, .367, .366 and .369. In 2007, the first year he broke camp with the Angels, he batted .322. He was 24.
He turns 30 this summer. In the three years he has had enough at-bats to qualify for the American League batting title, he has not finished in the top 20.
The Angels are happy with their second baseman. Kendrick is a career .292 hitter, and last year the Angels signed him to a four-year contract for $33.5 million.
Kendrick said he would consider it "awesome" to win a batting title but would prefer the Angels win a championship.
"Winning, that's what it comes down to," he said.
Angels hitting instructor Jim Eppard, who also coached Kendrick in the minors, said he believes a batting title remains within reach, even with the hype long gone.
"Maybe it's unfair to put those kinds of expectations on a young man like that," Eppard said. "The whole story isn't written yet. There's still time for him to do that. It's in there."
Kendrick noted that his son has started to play baseball, and to learn about plate discipline.
"That's something I wish I would have worked on in Little League," Kendrick said.
Angels hope Howie Kendrick will be better than average
Los Angeles Times | Feb 23