Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jays land a solid Lead-off man!!!

. . . And Clarance announces his intention to rot him on the bench.

*Heavy SIGH*

The Jays acquired Fred Lewis for, essentially, nothing tonight, which is a great move. All huzzahs to Alex Anthopoulos for another excellent move. The man can't seem to miss when it comes to player acquisition (it's too early for me to eat crow on Kevin Gregg yet but there's a dish heating in the microwave).

Lewis is a solid hitter, with - according to Giants fans - much unfulfilled potential. He's speady, he gets on base well and splits somewhat better vs RHP. He'd be a fine full time outfielder, particularly in left and an outstanding platoon partner with Jose Bautista. The problem of course, is that Mr. Loyalty Clarance Gaston can't be moved to insult that keystone of the franchise by platooning him. Gaston's first comment was "he'll be a bench player" and Alex, demonstrating perhaps his only flaw as a GM, fell into lockstep with Gaston and backed his position. Ok, let me rephrase - it's not a flaw to decline to publicly undermine your manager - but if he ACTUALLY agrees with Gaston or is deferring to him when he knows better, THAT I take issue with.

Is Lewis part of "The Plan"? Probably not. But he's under team control through2013 and that's plenty of time to bridge over to the better prospects. and he's a far better player than you should be able to get for this price.

More specifically, he's a considerably better offensive player than Bautista.

One can only hope he'll find his way into the the inscrutable affections of the Manager so his abilities are not wasted while JB is exposed.

Update:

Did some digging and this is what I came up with. last year the Lead-off hitters for the Jays accumulated 782 plate appearances. Let's round that up to 800 for ease of calculation and since about 1/4 of plate apperances come against LHP, let's give 200 to Bautista and 600 to lewis and watch what happens.

If we take the two player's splits over the last three years vs the pitchers they hit best (Bautista v. LH and Lewis v. RH) and pro-rate the results to the number of plate appearances mentioned above then Frose Lewtista would give you counting totals of 43 doubles, 10 triples, 20 home runs, 25 steals and 89 base on balls. The slash lines look like this: .280/.361/.455/.816

Hands up everyone who thinks Bautista will do that alone.

Does this argument sound familiar?

If you recall, I made a similar case for platooning Bautista and Overbay last year (with Lind at 1B if JB couldn't handle it). Had this been done, Mr. Overtista would have had the following line (pro-rated to the number af plate apperances for all Jays 1B last year):

.285/.396/.515/.911

Think we could have stood a bit of a defensive downgrade to get that? Of course this impacts the rest of the roster a bit. Before Rios was waived, it's simply a matter of Bautista getting all of Millar's wasted appearances. If he can't handle 1B, then play Lind there, DH Snider and put Bautista in LF. After Rios was gone, Bautista got all the RF at bats.

Simple solution? Platoon him still. when Overbay plays, Lind is in LF, Snider is in RF, and Ruiz is the DH. when Bautista plays instead of Overbay, Ruiz is at 1B and Lind is the DH with JB in LF (to avoid flipping Snider back and forth). The only bat you lose here is Millar. and however bad Snider does vs LHP playing full time, it wouldn't have been worse than Millar was after April.

Again, Gaston would likely cite defense, but I don't think the defensive loss here is close to what's gained at the plate.

Sadly, it looks like we're in for Act II.

4 comments:

eyebleaf said...

As a leadoff hitter:

Fred Lewis
103 GP (98 starts)
458 PA
.275 BA
.349 OBP
.790 OPS
103 OPS+

JOBAU
100 GP (98 starts)
472 PA
.270 BA
.359 OBP
.837 OPS
129 OPS+

Is this really ANOTHER reason to shit on Cito? Come on, bro.

The Southpaw said...

got a split for how Bautista does as a lead-off hitter AGAINST RHP?

Bautista has started a game as a lead-off hitter all of 35 times in the last three years. I doubt VERY seriously that his performance vs RHP suddenly gets better when he leads off.

It's much more likely that he was only hitting in that spot when a lefty was on the mound (might make a project out of researching that)

So yeah, absent evidence JB gets on base in impressive fashion against righties when leading off, I stand by my opinion.

I will try to research it though.

The Southpaw said...

Case in point (in a very small sample but still instructive given his overall line)

Bautista led off 17 times last year.

He accumulated 15 at bats vs LHP and 60 vs RHP

vs lefties he hit:
.400 - .500 - .667 - 1.167

vs righties he hit:
.266 - .302 - .516 - .818

And that power v. RH came on that hot streak of homers in the last 10 games. A damned small sample to build a case on.

It was much more likely his hot streak than leading off.

Take note, in the final 13 games as a lead-off hitter, his OBP was .323 and his OPS was .973

In his previous 13 games only one of which was leading off, his OBP was .378 and his OPS was 1.009

If that's not enough, in his final 13 games he faced a playoff contender in 3, in the previous 13 games he faced a playoff contender in ALL 13 GAMES!

The prosecution rests.

eyebleaf said...

Excellent rebuttal, my man.

I'm with you: as you've pointed out, JoBau is terrible against RHP, and let's hope Cito uses Lewis wisely.

But all the angst on Cito using JoBau in the leadoff spot is what gets me. He really had no other options. Until now. So platoon it up. It only makes sense. Plus, they're in first place. Playoffs!!!1