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Ltlabner
05-27-2009, 05:15 PM
Much like Jerry Narron's bullpens, the Reds have gone to war this year with a LF by committee. It started as JHJ and Chris Dickerson and poor play and injuries have added Laynce Nix and Johnny Gomes to the mix.

How have they fared thus far?

Decidedly, not very well.

The top of the list were names you'd expect to see (Ramirez, Ibanez, Braun and Dunn) along with those who you don't (Juan Pierre). So here's a list of some of the NL left fielders who graded out to be middle of the pack with regards to production at the plate. These aren't world beaters, but they aren't dreck either.



NAME PA EqA OBP SLG OUTR VORPr RAR RAP
Fred Lewis 166 .281 .373 .413 0.60843 0.125 8.5 0.7
Chris Duncan 168 .267 .351 .451 0.6369 0.114 6.3 -1.9
Josh Willingham 117 .273 .350 .469 0.63248 0.102 5.2 -1.2
Jeremy Hermida 193 .281 .373 .382 0.62176 0.096 9.7 1.3

By comparison, here's the Reds rotating cast of characters at LF:



NAME PA EqA OBP SLG OUTR VORPr RAR RAP
Chris Dickerson (66) 103 .257 .369 .349 0.62136 -0.021 2.6 -2.4
Jonny Gomes (9) 16 .340 .500 .500 0.4375 0.649 1.7 1.0
Laynce Nix (56) 87 .284 .333 .588 0.66667 0.334 4.9 0.1
Jerry Hairston (27) 141 .264 .314 .456 0.66667 0.153 4.9 -0.5

The numbers in () are the numbers of At Bats the player has logged while playing LF. I can't sort the rest of the data by that level so this will have to do.

The the picture being painted isn't very pretty.

Dickerson is clocking in right at replacement level and the only thing saving him is his solid OBP. Will he adjust? JHJ is...well....JHJ. The jury is still out on a Nix/Gomes platoon but the very, very, very, very, very early returns are promising.

I'm not one to be stuck on "LF is the power bat" but if you're going to fly in the face of convention you better have a good reason. Are the Reds so stacked with offense elsewhere that they can afford to carry some also-ran placeholders in LF? Is it possible to provide such awesome defense in LF that it negates a weak bat (IMO no)?

The season is still young so this isn't cast in stone by any means. However, the Nix/Gomes duo better continue to take off if the Reds have any hope of their LF's producing at a level somewhere in the same galaxy as their competition.

TRF
05-27-2009, 05:33 PM
Duncan can't stay health, and Hermida is underperforming, of the two, I'd prefer Hermida, but I doubt the fish give him up. Hermida's numbers aren't much better than Dickerson's, but I think Chris has the edge defensively.

Willingham is the right target. good mix of hitting/defense. He's in a crowded situation, but Kearns unwieldy contract works in his favor. I'd sell high on Stubbs, and throw in a pitcher, someone from Sarasota perhaps and see if the Nats bite.

TheNext44
05-27-2009, 05:48 PM
The numbers for the Reds LF are actually worse than that. Here are the OBP and SLG for each player when they are playing LF.


Dickerson .338 .318
Nix .283 .536
Hairston .200 .222
Gomes .222 .222
McDonald .250 .167

But that makes sense. Dickerson and Hairston started off in terrible slumps, Hiarston got most of his good AB's as an infielder and Nix got a lot of his good AB's as a pinch hitter.

However, Dickerson has seemed to gotten into a grove lately, with these #'s in the last two weeks:

.308 .526 .615 1.142

Very small sample size, but so is the size of his bad #'s.

Hairston has these #'s the last month:

.291 .340 .535 .875

And we have seen what Gomes can do when he is hot.

And if the Reds stick to a Nix/Hairston platoon, these are the #'s they have put up so far this season:

Hairston Vs LHP
.283 .327 .587 .913

Nix Vs. RHP
.324 .373 .662 1.035

So basically, LF has been just horrible so far, but things are looking up.

That said, none of them impress me enough to say no to acquiring a solid power bat to play LF, if the price is right. But they do impress me enough that if the Reds don't acquire a power bat for LF, I am not worried.

nate
05-27-2009, 06:08 PM
Just for reference, this is what LF has produced so far this season:

.210/.286/.352/.638

medford
05-28-2009, 04:38 PM
And if the Reds stick to a Nix/Hairston platoon, these are the #'s they have put up so far this season:

Hairston Vs LHP
.283 .327 .587 .913

Nix Vs. RHP
.324 .373 .662 1.035

So basically, LF has been just horrible so far, but things are looking up.

That said, none of them impress me enough to say no to acquiring a solid power bat to play LF, if the price is right. But they do impress me enough that if the Reds don't acquire a power bat for LF, I am not worried.

Thanks, these are the numbers I've been interested in, as well as what potential Gomes can give them vs LHP.

Color me very, very impressed w/ what Nix has shown vs Righties, as the numbers would seem to indicate. Can those numbers hold up? I don't know, but my eyes tell me that they can. However, he often looks lost vs lefties. So if a combo of Hariston/Gomes can give you a .950 ops vs righties, then I think you have something going. You have to figure that in any tight game, Nix is going to see a left handed pitcher sometime around inning 7, 8 or 9. Good news is that Gomes can immediatly pinch hit for him or Harriston and still play in the field, unlike if you were trying to play the platoon game with a more defensive oriented position like SS or CF.

Obviously the same could be said when Gomes gets a start vs a Left hander, a Righty bullpenner is going to come in late at some point and be on the mound when Gomes is at bat. Dusty can feel comfortable sending Nix up to pinch hit off the bench (assuming there's not a Lefty already warmed up ready to counter the move) and leave him in the rest of the game for his defense.

Now what I'm really looking forward to in the St Louis series is a game where Gomes is starting, and they reach the 8th inning of a tight game. Mr Baseball calls for the tough righty out of the bullpen to face Gomes who's hitting b/w Votto & Bruce. Dusty counters by sending Nix in to pinch hit for Gomes. LaRussa then goes to the mound and calls for his left handed pitcher out of the pen to take on Nix. Dusty promptly counters by bringing Hariston off the bench to face the new lefty. Mr Baseball then decides that the right hander he got up when the first reliever came in is ready, and brings him in to face Harriston. However, Dusty trumps that move and brings in Dickerson to face the new Righty.

After 30 minutes of lineup changes and no real action, we're finally able to settle in as both teams bench and bullpens are used up, and Micah Owings wins it w/ a pinch hit home run in the top of the 10th. Doesn't really seem all that far fetched, does it? :D

Eric_the_Red
05-28-2009, 09:48 PM
Doesn't really seem all that far fetched, does it? :D

Frighteningly not.

PuffyPig
05-28-2009, 10:26 PM
Willingham is the right target. good mix of hitting/defense. He's in a crowded situation, but Kearns unwieldy contract works in his favor. I'd sell high on Stubbs, and throw in a pitcher, someone from Sarasota perhaps and see if the Nats bite.


Stubbs plus more for Willingham?

I doubt Willingham would bring anything more than a Nix/Gomes platoon. certainly wouldn't give up Stubbs for a replaceable LF.

redsmetz
05-28-2009, 10:32 PM
Now what I'm really looking forward to in the St Louis series is a game where Gomes is starting, and they reach the 8th inning of a tight game. Mr Baseball calls for the tough righty out of the bullpen to face Gomes who's hitting b/w Votto & Bruce. Dusty counters by sending Nix in to pinch hit for Gomes. LaRussa then goes to the mound and calls for his left handed pitcher out of the pen to take on Nix. Dusty promptly counters by bringing Hariston off the bench to face the new lefty. Mr Baseball then decides that the right hander he got up when the first reliever came in is ready, and brings him in to face Harriston. However, Dusty trumps that move and brings in Dickerson to face the new Righty.

After 30 minutes of lineup changes and no real action, we're finally able to settle in as both teams bench and bullpens are used up, and Micah Owings wins it w/ a pinch hit home run in the top of the 10th. Doesn't really seem all that far fetched, does it? :D

Almost like watching George Foster bat against Al Hrabowski, no?

VR
05-28-2009, 11:36 PM
What would the May only splits look in LF for the Reds? April was an unmitigated disaster.....I'd think May by itself might be a better judge.

mth123
05-29-2009, 05:56 AM
I think trying to man LF, in this park, in this era, with a speed based duo of Hairston and Dickerson is just a mistake (and a big reason to dislike the Willy deal since CF is the spot for that duo). Hairston has surprised with his power but not until he moved back to the IF. LF is traditionally a run producing spot and I wonder if both Hairston and Dickerson were pressing in trying to live up to that. The Nix/Gomes duo is much better equipped for the role and makes me much more upbeat about this team's chances. (Though I wasn't real high on Nix coming into the season and wanted the team to get a vet like Geoff Jenkins).

I'm hoping Nix/Gomes become the second coming of Gary Roenicke and John Lowenstein as a LF platoon (see the 82/83 Orioles. Gary Roenicke is Josh Roenicke's dad btw). Right now, I'm optimistic about it. The fact that Nix is a plus defender as LF goes and Gomes has shown some nice hustle out there is more than I would expect on defense in a position where offense is king.

GAC
05-29-2009, 07:34 AM
Just for reference, this is what LF has produced so far this season:

.210/.286/.352/.638


http://stayviolation.typepad.com/.a/6a00d834515bc269e20112796cfc9f28a4-320wi

It has become a definite weakness (hole) on this team, and I really don't like the way Baker has approached it. How can any singular player be properly evaluated and get into synch when they don't know if/when they are going to be playing?

I like Nix.... but as a utility player. Nice pop. I'm all for giving Gomes a shot since Baker seems to be "down" on CDick. But I still say that he hasn't been given a proper and fair chance to lose the job.

But here is the key as far as I'm concerned. We got three guys, in Nix, Dickerson, and Gomes, who are now in their "prime" productive years (27-28), and are still trying to crack somebody's lineup. That should be a sign that the answer in LF probably ain't there, and needs to be found elsewhere as far as I'm concerned.

Chip R
05-29-2009, 11:13 AM
It has become a definite weakness (hole) on this team, and I really don't like the way Baker has approached it. How can any singular player be properly evaluated and get into synch when they don't know if/when they are going to be playing?


How do you know that they don't know when they will be playing?

HokieRed
05-29-2009, 12:06 PM
Let's assume we are going to have a Nix-Gomes platoon in LF (or CD for Nix if he can outperform Nix). Nix's lifetime split against righties is .730, Gomes' against lefties is .883. Seems reasonable from this to expect about .800 (probably will be higher in GABP but that would also be true for the alternatives so we bracket out). Willingham seems to be a favorite on these boards. He's actually been very consistent over the last several years, has a lifetime .830. So how much do we pay for that .3 (assuming Nix or CD do no better than their .730 part of the platoon)? I might give up a minor league reliever, nothing more.

GAC
05-29-2009, 03:29 PM
How do you know that they don't know when they will be playing?

twitter

medford
05-29-2009, 04:23 PM
It has become a definite weakness (hole) on this team, and I really don't like the way Baker has approached it. How can any singular player be properly evaluated and get into synch when they don't know if/when they are going to be playing?


While I won't argue that the position can't be fixed, I have to give Dusty an approval of his handling of the situation in LF this season (aside from starting McDonald on opening day). He gave Dickerson pretty much every starting nod vs righties early in the season, even while Dickerson struggled. Meanwhile, Nix was crushing righties, and pretty much forced his way into the lineup vs starting righties. Nix has struggled big time vs left handers, in addition to his past injuries is probably the main reason I never think he'll be a "regular" but as part of a platoon, I don't mind him, provided you've got someone that can hit from the right side late and not trip over themselves defensively later in the game when a left handed reliever comes in (the defensive part should be easy considerring that we're talking LF)

At this point, I doubt there is anyone on the market right now that wouldn't cause an arm and a leg that I'd take batting vs righties on a regular basis. Sure I'd take Holliday as a more complete package, but I doubt Oakland is moving him quit yet, and it could get expensive depending on who else is interested, and I'd love to have Man-Ram there assuming he wasn't suspended, but he ain't walking thru that door. Nix has proven he belongs up there vs righties, and I see no reason to replace him now until a better full time option presents itself; at which point I'd love to see him on the bench.

Clearly that calls for a right handed version. I think many have their hopes pinned on Gomes. While the early results are nice, I wonder if they'll hold up to a full time platoon situation, and how much he'll hurt on defense (if any). JHJ's history tells us that he's going to get hurt the more often he plays, but move him around, play him 4 times a week at different positions you should be able to keep him fresh and provide a solid option to double switch with later in games.

That leaves Dickerson kind of out in the cold. He's showing signs of coming around, and I've noticed that Dusty has used him a bit more as his bat has warmed up. I think that's a good sign of a good managerial move, but unless Nix gets hurt, Dickerson is limited to filling in for Taveras a couple of times a week (which could perhaps lead to a full time job there next year if he hits like he did at the end of last season).

My guess is that at the moment, all 4 of the LFers in question have a pretty good idea of when they're going to play. JHJ's going to fill in at 2b, 3b or SS, Nix vs RHers in LF, Gomes vs LHers in LF, Dickerson off the bench w/ an occasional start in CF. Look at the pitching matchups for the next several games and they'll have a pretty good idea of how many at bats they're going to get.