AND JUST WHEN WE THOUGHT CASTO WAS 'THE MAN' IN LEFT
If Jim Bowden and Manny Acta are counting on Snelling as their every day left fielder, then the Nationals are putting themselves in a position to fail. There is little doubt that the team will best be served by having Alex Escobar start in center -- Nook Logan has just too many holes in his game to play every day (at least the Tigers thought so). But are there three outfielders in the National league that have had more injury problems in recent years than Chris Snelling, Alex Escobar and Austin Kearns? We forget that Kearns couldn't stay healthy during his time in Cincinnati -- that's why guys like Wily Mo Pena got the opportunity to play every day.
There is now little doubt that Ryan Church will be traded in the near future for a starting pitcher, and while I don't like it, I can at least accept it. One thing is for sure, both Chris Snelling and Kory Casto will need to be part of a platoon in left. Playing for Harrisburg last year, Casto hit only .169 against lefties. Snelling has done even worse against left-handers, batting .117 since his major league debut in 2002.
Mike Restovich, 27, batted .311 with 7 home runs and 19 RBI's against lefties at 'AAA' Iowa last year. Based on a 550 at-bat season (something he could never do against lefties, but it gives you an idea of his ability), he would have hit 36 homers and 98 RBI's over a full season. He had a .413 OBP against lefties and his .979 OPS was one the best in the league. Assuming that Restovich would see roughly 200 at-bats in a platoon, he would likely hit something like .275-13-38, give or take.
Based on Snelling's major league statistics, he would likely hit about .271-15-40 with a .356 OBP. A platoon of Snelling and Restovich, then, would create solid production out of left field: .273-28-78 with a .387 OBP (again, give or take). At this point, every Nats' fan would love to count on that type of production out of left field next year.
But what about Kory Casto? I think he's ready for the major leagues, and I know that he can't hit lefties, at least not yet. If in fact he's ready, I wouldn't be surprised to see him put up numbers similar to those of Chris Snelling. And it's not like you can "play the kid" over the veteran (you know, that's part of 'the plan') because they are both 25 years old.
If Snelling gets the nod in left field, then Acta has no choice but to send Kory Casto to 'AAA' Columbus; he isn't experienced enough to languish on a major league bench. And if Casto wins the starting job in left, what happens to Nook Logan? Having lost Alfonso Soriano's bat to free agency, I can't foresee a scenario where the Nationals can afford Logan's defense in center over Escobar's offense.
There is one more possibility in the outfield. We could start the season with Casto/Restovich in left, Escobar in center and either Ryan Church or Chris Snelling in right. Church might bring a #3-4 starting pitcher, but Austin Kearns could bring a #2, especially if Jim Bowden throws in a low-level prospect. Given 500 at bats, Church has proven he could provide the same offensive punch as Kearns.
I guess it just depends on how big a chance Jimbo is willing to take.
The only other possibility would be Escobar platooning with Casto, but that leaves Nook Logan in center, which scares me a little bit too.
Add it all up, and even assuming Church will be gone, there might not be enough room on the roster for Escobar + Restovich. Or, perhaps, Casto? Or, perhaps, Logan? Seems Macias' versatility might squeeze someone in the OF out of a job.
Not that I'm saying Logan will be gone, b/c you need a CF in the event Escobar gets hurt. But I think you guys are right that Casto might be in Columbus, until Snelling injures himself.
Ought to be interesting!
When can Cordero become a FA? Probably not for awhile. Maybe Nats, as a money-oriented franchise right now, are getting worried about Cordero's future arbitration outcomes.
I thought the idea was to dump older guys for prospects, but keep the young guys like Cordero, still 24--and if they are good, like Cordero, then ink them to multi-year deals.
Wily Mo strikes out too much, doesn't walk, and doesn't hit for average. What a combination! We would be tired of him by mid-season.
Links to this post: