Any of you watch "The Wiggles"? There is a character on the kids show that wears a purple shirt and is constantly falling asleep (his name is Jeff). Time after time, the other Wiggles have to keep waking him up; it gets old and tired but they keep doing it because he is an integral part of the band. Jeff from the Wiggles is very similar to Travis Hafner. A guy with crazy/sick talent and skills who is now having to be told to WAKE UP constantly over the last year plus.
The man known as "Pronk" is vital for the Indians success and right now he is just not cutting the mustard. The club's #3 hitter is slumping yet again and as TBS' Buck Martinez said yesterday he looks very uncomfortable and unsure at the plate. We endured Pronk's "off-year" last season and the team rallied mostly without him, but this year it cannot happen again. Hafner is too important and now he is also a big money investment after inking a four year 57 million dollar deal. He signed that deal because the guy could mash and his slugging percentage numbers were off the charts in 2005 and 2006. .595 and .659 respectively. In 2007, that number dipped down to .451 and there was concern. Is Pronk hurt? Did contract talks distract him? Is Pronk a new man now that he is Amy Beekman's hubby? Tribe brass and players all say he did have a few nagging ailments and his shoulder may not be 100 percent, but he is still scalding the ball at batting practice. Cool. Great. In 2008 (yes we are only 25 games into the season) Travis' slugging percentage you ask? .366.
What do Eric Hinske, Melky Cabrera, Mike Napoli, Carlos Quentin, and Casey Kotchman all have in common? They all have 5 or more HR's this season. Pronk has 3. Travis Hafner when his head is screwed on straight is a better hitter than all of these guys. He is not finished. No way. On April 8th in Anaheim, Travis put the team on his back and delivered a 2 out 2 run HR in the top of the 9th off Justin Speier to win a game. He crushed the first pitch he saw and stood there and admired it. The skills are still there and that night, so was the bat speed. Since that night, Hafner has 1 HR and 9 RBI and 2 extra base hits!! Come on Big Fella! Wake up! It starts tonight against the Yankees.