Friday, 23 November 2012

Platooning Colby Rasmus

Colby Rasmus has been a Blue Jay for nearly a year and a half now and other than him being streaky, one other thing has been realized, he cannot hit Left Handed Pitching.  Rasmus has posted a career wRC+ of 72 vs. LHP including his outlier 2010 season where he posted a 122 mark. His other 3 MLB seasons have been seasons of 25 (2009), 88 (2011) and 52 (2012).  This is not to say he's a RHP masher either though (career 107 wRC+).

Rasmus doesn't do anything particularly well vs. LHP, as it isn't a case where he posts awful slugging numbers but good on base.  His triple slash vs. LHP is .206/.285/.341 despite his walk and strikeout rates not really changing.  His line drive rate drops nearly 4 % from RHP to LHP and ground ball rate shoots up 8%.

What I'm proposing right here and now is a platoon between Rasmus and ... wait for it... Maicer Izturis.  With Rasmus out of the lineup Emilio Bonifacio would slide into CF and Izturis would fill in at second base.  There would be little defensive difference between Bonifacio and Rasmus in CF (both are average defenders) and Izturis may be a slight defensive upgrade at second over Bonifacio.

Maicer Izturis hasn't posted incredible results vs. LHP with only a 90 wRC+ for his career, but does get on base at a solid rate (.333 career OBP).  While Rajai Davis has produced better against LHP for his career (108 wRC+), the loss of defense in CF would be huge and I feel that the loss of defense outweighs the offensive gain. Also, Davis would then be free to pair with Lind as a platoon partner (assuming no other RHB bench bats were brought in).

Given the power of the lineup already at hand, Izturis seems like a great fit at the bottom of the order with solid OBP helping to set the table for the secondary power hitters. Given the current personnel, I could see a batting order vs. LHP look like this.  Personally, I like the Idea of stretching out the order by building the second half of the order as you would the first.  Lawrie hitting behind EE could offer some protection as well.

It could be that platooning Colby isn't something to do right away, after all he is only 26, and has lots of potential. On the other hand though, the Blue Jays could be in the hunt nearing the middle of the season and if Colby continues to struggle vs. LHP, the prospect of potential may have to take a back seat to getting production out of the lineup, and in that case a platoon would be a great idea.

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