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1/7/1979 (38 y, 1 m, 21 d)
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Cust and Matt LaPorta were released by the Orioles on Friday, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. (3/21/2014)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Cust crushed pitchers for near-.250 ISO marks in 2007 and 2008, but the Three True Outcomes hero delivered a more modest power output in 2009. The journeyman posted a .177 ISO, with his home-run/fly-ball rate falling from a leviathan 30% in 2008 to 18% this past season. Cust remained one of the more patient batters in the game, drawing a free pass in more than 15% of his plate appearances. However, he offered at more pitches than usual in 2009. Cust took a cut at 18% of pitches thrown out of the strike zone, compared to 14% in 2007-2008. He swung at 68% of pitches within the strike zone, up from 62% in the previous two seasons. That led to a higher contact rate and a modestly lower strikeout rate, but might have contributed to less extra-base pop.
The Year Ahead:
Look for the 31-year-old Cust to take his more traditional take-and-rake approach from the get-go in 2010. During the early part of the season, Cust tried a more aggressive, contact-oriented approach. From April through June, he had a 22% O-Swing percentage, a 71% Z-Swing rate, and a 12% walk rate. His wOBA was .319. From July forward, he had a 14% O-Swing percentage, a 65% Z-Swing rate, and a 19% walk rate. Cust's wOBA climbed to .365. His BABIP was much higher from July-October than April-June, but Cust did a much better job of reaching base once he returned to his roots. Although his glove should come with a Surgeon General's warning, Cust will again be outfield-eligible in 2010. Assuming he regains some of the thump shown in 2007 and 2008, Cust is a worthy buy-low proposition. (David Golebiewski)
Cust's 2010 experience started in 2009, when he was somewhat surprisingly tendered a contract after the acquisition of Jake Fox, the alleged health of Eric Chavez, and a glut of outfielders pushed him down the Oakland depth chart. The depth chart didn't change between contract-time and the conclusion of spring training, and he found himself in Sacramento to open the season. Cust was back in Oakland by mid-May though, as Fox was a dud and Chavez's health was proven fraudulent. The "three true outcomes" extraordinaire didn't disappoint in two of the three categories: his walk and strikeout rates were 16.0 % and 36.4 %, respectively. The third true outcome was a little unfulfilled, with 13 home runs in 349 at-bats and a .439 slugging percentage. That slugging figure represents a bit of a bounceback from his .417 mark in 2009, but is still well off his peak performances in 2007 and 2008. Cust again found himself down the A's depth chart entering the '10-11 offseason, but this time the A's chose to cut him loose, and he found a new home in Seattle. Cust's glove limits him to DH/LF duty, but there should be at bats for him in the Pacific Northwest. (Patrick Newman)
The Quick Opinion:
Cust still shows at least two and a half of the three true outcomes
Between 2007 and 2010, Cust averaged 24 home runs and .370 wOBA a season with the Athletics. Unfortunately, he breathed in some of the toxic cloud of failure lingering around Safeco Field, and hit a whopping three home runs in nearly half a season before getting released. The Astros picked him up cheap and he may get some run, but he's well into his decline phase and plate discipline can only take you so far, especially when you can't do anything with the ball when they throw it down the middle. His isolated slugging percentage has dropped every year since he became a regular, and without power, he's not worth much. (Patrick Dubuque)
The Quick Opinion:
The Astros signed Cust to a cheap contract, but he's well into his decline phase and plate discipline can only take you so far, especially when you can't do anything with the ball when they throw it down the middle.
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Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 3:32 AM ET
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