Don't look now, but over the past week the Rays best hitter has been Dioner Navarro. I know that best hitter and Dioner Navarro haven't been synonymous this year, but it's true. Ok, let's throw out the small sample size alert; however Navi has hit .375/.412/.750 over the last five games. The more encouraging news is he is not just getting seeing eye singles or bloop hits. He is driving the ball with authority and has four extra base hits over his last 17 plate appearances. He had just 13 in his first 243 PAs.
Once more, it's hard to see this five game stretch and get excited for a guy who is hitting .223/.252/.335 overall, but you have to start some where. Strangely, Navarro's mini hot streak has come with an increase of off speed pitches. Pitchers are throwing him fastballs nearly 64% of the time this year, but only around 53% over the last five games. That could just be because of the style of the pitchers he has faced, however, it's something to keep an eye on.
Navarro is still hacking quite a bit. His O-Swing overall is 26.7% and it's been up over 30% during these five games. Only Evan Longoria, is swinging at more pitches outside of the zone during the stretch. On the other end of the spectrum is Gabe Kapler, who has not swung at one pitch out of the zone in the past week; the man is disciplined.
With the Rays offense in a slump over the past week, it's nice to see a game like last night where everyone got involved. Navarro himself had three hits including a double. While it's way too early to say Navi is going to break out in the second half of 2009 like he did in 2007, it wouldn't be a shock.