Saturday, April 28, 2007

Will Platooning Take Us To The Playoffs?

I am not a huge fan of platooning. I would prefer to see the Indians play their 9 best everyday with the exception of a late inning defensive replacement, a lefty-righty pinch hit, or an occasional day off to rest a player. Manager Eric Wedge, however made it very clear early on in spring training that this edition of the Cleveland Indians would be heavily platooned. Let’s examine how Eric’s plan is working;
As of Friday evening, April 27th , the Indians are in the following positions in the American League; ninth in batting average (.247) and last in fielding percentage (.975). The good news is that they reside in first place in the American League Central Division.
Here is how…

Batting Avg.
Minnesota - 5th (.265)
Cleveland - 9th (.247)
Detroit - 9th (.247)
Chicago - 13th (.229)
Kansas City - 11th (.238)

Slugging %
Cleveland - 5th (.411)
Detroit - 8th (.397)
Kansas City - 11th (.388)
Minnesota - 12th (.385)
Chicago - 13th (.381)

On Base %
Cleveland - 3rd (.345)
Chicago - 6th (.326)
Minnesota - 9th (.322)
Detroit - 10th (.316)
Kansas City - 11th (.313)

Fielding %
Minnesota - 2nd (.987)
Chicago - 4th (.985)
Detroit - 5th (.984)
Kansas City - 7th (.983)
Cleveland - 14th (.975)

Detroit - 5th (4.00)
Chicago - 6th (4.03)
Minnesota - 8th (4.05)
Cleveland - 9th (4.30)
Kansas City - 10th (4.48)

The top 4 teams in the division are all within 2 games of first place. The Indians are capitalizing on making the most of their opportunities, on base and slugging percentages. A closer look shows that, although they have the worst fielding percentage in the entire American League, and they are 9th in batting average, the “platooners” are not the problem. The bulk of the errors are owned by regulars Marte (has since been placed on the disabled list), Barfield, and Peralta. These same players, along with Blake, are all batting under the team average of .247.
So, I will become a disciple of manager Eric Wedge and support him in platooning. He will need to continue to work his platooning magic while he waits for his infield core to jell as a fielding team and begin to hit for average.
All in all, it has been a very exciting start to the season. They have been fun to watch and…There’s no place like first!

Friday night, Manager Eric Wedge gets himself "Platooned" by home plate umpire Bill Miller!

No comments: