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I HOPE MANNY ACTA DOESN'T READ ROTOWORLD.COM

[November 15th] -- I'm not one to complain when other baseball websites get it wrong; goodness knows that I don't have a perfect record when it comes to "getting it right." That said, sometimes the inaccuracies of some of the bigger sites makes me wonder.

Rotoworld.com is one of my favorite baseball sites. The moment a transaction occurs or news is made in the baseball world, rotoworld.com has both the information and their analysis on that team's site. So when new manager Manny Acta mentioned that he likes outfielder Nook Logan, rotoworld posted this analysis:

"Acta seems as excited about Logan as Frank Robinson was. "Logan played well during the month of September," he said. "Nook has a tool that never goes into a slump and that is speed, especially playing in spacious RFK Stadium. This team has not had a reliable center fielder the last three or four years. We are going to give him every opportunity to win the job." It'd be positively disgusting if Church didn't have a starting job given the current competition, but he is a better option in left than in center. It could be Church versus Casto in left and Logan against Escobar in center. Casto is the only one who is unlikely to get a bench spot if he doesn't win a starting job. Unmentioned by Acta was the recently signed Michael Restovich, who would be a solid choice as a platoonmate for Church."

There is no question that Mike Restovich was signed to be a possible/probable right-handed bat in an outfield platoon. It's just that Ryan Church wasn't the person the team was considering platooning; it was Kory Casto.

There are two certainties regarding the Nationals' young outfielder. First, Casto destroys right-handed pitching. Second, he can't hit lefties to save his life (.189 in 2006). Knowing that he can't hit left-handers well, but also realizing that Kory Casto may be a starter in the outfield in 2007 by default, Jim Bowden brought in a quality bat in Restovich, a guy who would just love to be in the major leagues regardless of the situation. A Casto/Restovich platoon could easily produce numbers in the .275-25-85 range, not Soriano like, but certainly good enough for the '07 Nationals.

So why does rotoworld.com think that Ryan Church should be platooned?

Take a look at these splits from Church's last two seasons with the Nationals. Both lines took his actual at-bats against lefties and righties and extrapolated them out to 580, typical for an everyday player. You tell me if he needs to be platooned:

Against lefties, Church has a higher batting average, better run production, and a higher OPS. Against righties, Church has more pure power.

Why then would rotoworld.com want to platoon Ryan Church?

One of Church's main "selling points" is his ability to hit lefties and righties equally well, as well as providing solid defense (two errors in the last two years) and above average speed. Austin Kearns, on the other hand, should be platooned. In 2006 Kearns batted only .236 against right-handers (who he faced 71% of the time). His home run ratio of 1:26 against righties is worse than Church's 1:23. Against lefties, Kearns bats 100 points higher.

So why is rotoworld trying to platoon Ryan Church but not Austin Kearns and Kory Casto? Church's 2006 season, based on those same 580 at-bats, would have looked like this (now compare what Church might have done to what Kearns did do)

Granted, I am comparing what Kearns did vs. what Church would have done, but I think the suggestion is clear enough. Church could easily replace Kearns in right next year. Defensively, Church may not be adept enough to patrol center on a regular basis, but he is certainly capable in right. Over the past two seasons, Kearns has made seven errors, Church two. Kearns has a .984 career fielding percent, Church is ten points higher at .994.

1] The Nationals need starting pitching. 2] The Nationals have a glut of outfielders. 3] The Nationals should trade an outfielder for pitching. Which player do you think will bring a better starting pitcher, Ryan Church or Austin Kearns? The Nationals could trade Kearns (perhaps throw in a less-needed prospect, say Larry Broadway) and get a pretty good starter for the team's deficient rotation. Church could then take over in right and (hopefully) provide at least the same production, perhaps a bit more than Kearns did. The Casto/Restovich platoon could be an effective replacement for Soriano in left, and Nook Logan and Alex Escobar could battle for the starting center field job.

I still think rotoworld.com is a fine site and I'll still visit it several times a day. It would be nice, however, if they provide analysis based on hard, cold statistics rather than a subjective guess based on seeing a player play poorly in one game out of 162.

DeRosa DeRicher: Mark DeRosa, the epitomy of a journeyman infielder, signed a three year, $13 million dollar contract with the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.

Do general managers take drugs during the off-season?

Sure, De Rosa, 31, had a good year for the Texas Rangers, batting .296-13-74, but one season does not a career make. Prior to last season, De Rosa had 1,100 at-bats over eight major league seasons, hitting 25 home runs (one homer every 45 at-bats). Going into 2006, he had a career .325 on-base percentage and a .262 batting average.

Then, based on one good year, De Rosa is now the starting second baseman for the Cubs, making $4.3 million dollars per year. Hmmm. The Red Sox fork over $51 million to bargain with a pitcher who has never played a day in the Major Leagues, and the Cubs pay $13 million to a guy whose total career at-bats barely add up to three seasons worth of games.

Maybe it's a good thing that Stan Kasten and Jim Bowden are shying away from this year's free-agent market.


Comments:
As I have said, repeatedly--Ryan Church is a MUCH BETTER Hitter for average and power against lefthanders. There is just no reason for him not to get a legitimate shot in 2007. If he fails, we all know, once and for all. Logan will end up being alot like Endy Chavez--he will be spectacular for a short period of time--tingling managment's brain into a frenzy--then, when it really, really counts--will not deliver. Logan can not hit lefthanders, at all--At 47, I swear I still have enough in my swing to do better, no joke. Hoping Jimbo didn't tell Acta who he has to play, as part of getting the job. Mentioning Logan so soon, along with Church, may be telling.
 
The Cubs are famous for throwing money down the rat hole. Didn't DeRosa play for the Rangers, not the Royals?? He credited his big season to adopting the Roger Clemens workout regime. If he gets "big" like Roger, he might hit 75 home runs in Wrigley Field.
 
You're right, Phil. It was the Royals before the Rangers. I'll fix the mistake. Thanks!
 
Farid, DeRosa played his entire major league career (1998-2004) with the Braves prior to his two seasons with the Rangers.
 
Right again, Phil. I was thinking of Tony Graffanino, another backup infielder for the Braves before moving on to other teams.

My bad.
 
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