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Thread: Platoon in LF for 2014?

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    Platoon in LF for 2014?

    Since the Reds are ~ $111mm in salary for 2014, they don't have the cash to spend on upgrading their personnel this year.

    Just out of curiosity, I was looking for cheap OF's who hit left handed. (I know the Reds do need a RH power bat to bat cleanup, but hey, they really are kind of financially restricted @ the moment) But I was looking for a lefty who could platoon with Ryan Ludwick.

    Ludwick over the past 3 years has a slugging % of .491 vs lefties and .405 vs Righties. OPS of .843 vs lefties compared to .717 vs Righties.

    This to me suggests there is a prime opportunity for a platoon in LF. (So you run the risk of a 3-4-5 all hitting lefty, but it's not so bad-- the Cards starting rotation are all righties.)


    Nate Schierholtz was a guy I was looking @. The Cubs don't really need him long term. Soler is their future RF. He's a FA after 2014. He's definitely attainable in a trade.

    His expected arb # is $4.4mm so a bit pricey for a platoon. Plus he should be cheap to trade for--- a C+ prospect and maybe some international bonus slot money should do the trick. (Theo loves to build farm systems and draft players)

    Anyway- it's hard to cut and paste so I'll just cut and paste a few #'s, vs things like doubles, triples etc.

    Votto played 162 games last year and had 716 plate appearances. 480 vs righties, 236 vs lefties. I figured this gives me a good approximation on the R/L distribution for this exercise.

    Because Luddy missed most of last season, I had to use a 3 year average on his splits.

    Based on a # of 236 ab's vs lefthanders (what Votto saw last year) He would be expected to hit like:

    PA BB AB's HR
    236 31 205 11.60

    Nate Schierholtz #'s over a 3 year period and based on 480 ab's, his #'s would look like.

    PA BB AB's HR
    480 32 448 18.27

    Combined over a season, 29.87 Hr's with a .483 slugging % over 716 plate appearances. Oops, slugging % didn't cut and paste properly--- but it came to a .483 slugging.


    Schierholtz played a bit more last year than the previous years and if we are looking @ just last year's #'s-- he would approximately do the following damage in 2014.

    PA BB AB's HR
    Nate Schierholtz 480 22 458 22.39


    Combined with Ludwick's approximation, a platoon next year would be around 33.99 or 34 HR's from the pair and a .497 Slugging %.


    Historically here are Ludwick's Slugging % #'s.

    SLG % Age
    .479 28
    .591 29
    .447 30
    .418 31
    .363 32
    .531 33
    .326 34


    If the Reds got a platoon that did a combined .497% slugging next year-- that would be solid given what Ludwick has done historically over the past few years. I'm highly doubting he can pull off a year like he did 2 years ago.

    Not to mention, over the past 7 years-- he's only averaged 408 ab's a year. He's not a 155 games, 675 plate appearances type player. He's perfect for a platoon situation-- and it doesn't work real well when his backup (Heisey) is a right handed hitter as well.


    Arb #'s approximation. Shierholtz $4.4mm-- Heisey ~ $1.7mm. So a difference of $2.7mm, plus something in a trade.


    Best case scenario-- and the Reds got Schierholtz and the platoon worked--- it is 34 HR's and .497 Slugging %.

    FWIW-- Jay Bruce over the past 3 years has averaged 32 HR's a .488 slugging %.

    Actually the platoon should be a little worse-- Ludwick's #'s are inflated by his 2012 production. However it shouldn't affect it that much since Ludwick would only get about 1/3rd of the ab's in a platoon.


    Downside is a 3-4-5 order that is lefty lefty lefty. But I'm assuming if a lefty came in to pitch- the Reds would pinch hit Ludwick for Schierholtz-- and vice versa if Ludwick was in and a RH came into pitch.


    Anyway-- Finding a Lefty bat to platoon with Ludwick could give a nice increase in production out of the LF spot. Especially since that left handed hitter should see about 2/3rds of the ab's.

    If someone wants to take the time and research-- who would you recommend to be a LH bat to platoon with Ludwick in 2014? The only restriction is the player has to be cheap and can fit into the Reds budget. I would say about $5mm max. Basically a LH batter to replace Heisey.

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Platoon in LF for 2014?

    The Reds offense is filled with so many splitty, low OBP, medium power RH bats, I'm a big believer that platoons at many positions could really improve the offense. 2B, SS and 3B could use LH Bats to at least tandem with the starters if not a straight platoon. Brayan Pena and Skip Schumaker will probably be used as tandem partners (though Skippy maybe at more than one position). I thought Kelly Johnson (LF, 2B and 3B), Eric Chavez (3B), Garrett Jones (LF), Seth Smith (LF), Raul Ibanez (LF) and Nate McClouth (LF/CF) were guys who have already been moved/found new homes this off-season who might be good fits. Xavier Paul wasn't a terrible choice, but the Reds chose to keep a few lesser players (IMO) on the roster while non-tendering a guy who was at least useful. Jack Hannahan is one lefty bat who is not really an upgrade and I hope is somehow moved this winter or released in Spring Training (or sooner).

    Your Schierholtz suggestion is pretty good. Some other names for you in order of preference:

    Matt Joyce
    Will Venable
    Mike Carp

    and one that would require a team eating a ton of money - Andre Ethier.

    Joyce is probably most obtainable of that group.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Re: Platoon in LF for 2014?

    Unless Ludwick really struggles, I don't see either Walt or Price looking at him as a "Platoon" type player.

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    Old school 1983 (12-27-2013)

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    Re: Platoon in LF for 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    Your Schierholtz suggestion is pretty good. Some other names for you in order of preference:

    Matt Joyce
    Will Venable
    Mike Carp

    Joyce is probably most obtainable of that group.
    Based on 3 year splits. (Not a perfect way to estimate of course)

    PA BB AB's HR Slg%
    Matt Joyce 480 58 422 19 0.467
    Nate Shierholtz 480 32 448 18 0.48
    Will Venable 480 37 443 14 0.447
    Mike Carp 480 50 430 17 0.449
    Lucas Duda 480 72 408 16 0.456


    Joyce made $2.45mm last year. Venable has a 2 year deal-- $4.25mm per year the next 2 years. SD just resigned him a few months ago. Duda would be a disaster fielding in LF I would imagine-- but the Mets are shopping him. Duda and Carp basically made $500K last year- so they are cheap.

    I should have put .OBS-- but I was looking @ Slugging because Ludwick bats 4th in the order-- I was looking for lefthanded hitters who had some pop.
    Last edited by Ladeda; 12-27-2013 at 05:44 PM. Reason: Wow, that is ugly to read. I tried to format it to make PA, BB, AB's, HR and Slg% easier to read. I failed.

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    Re: Platoon in LF for 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Fan View Post
    Unless Ludwick really struggles, I don't see either Walt or Price looking at him as a "Platoon" type player.
    Considering how Ludwick has not exceeded 490 ab's any of the past 5 years, he is almost a platoon player by default.

    At best he will get about 500 plate appearances out of approximately 715. So that is 70% of the ab's. Someone else will be getting 30% of the ab's in left field.

    Why not take advantage of his strengths and use him exclusively vs lefties?

    Over the past 3 years here are his splits.

    .OBP SLG OPS
    .352 .491 .843 vs Lefties
    .312 .405 .717 vs Righties


    .405 Slugging % vs righties. Not to mention, he's getting older and odds are he will continue to be declining. In reality, he's not going to have a 2012 again where he slugged .513 vs righties. Odds are he's going to hit more like he did in 2011, when he slugged .347 vs Righties. 2012 was an aberration. He's 35 and turns 36 in July of next year. Expecting another 2012 is very very unlikely. Possible, but very, very unlikely.

    Give me one of those lefties who will slug 100+ points higher than Ludwick-- especially if they are batting 4th/5th in the lineup.

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    Torty ac084c's Avatar
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    Re: Platoon in LF for 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ladeda View Post
    Considering how Ludwick has not exceeded 490 ab's any of the past 5 years, he is almost a platoon player by default.
    His ABs over the last four seasons are due to his injury-proneness. There is no such think as a platoon player by default.

    You don't play a platoon player 9MM/year - unless you've got a 200M+ payroll. The last time I checked, the Reds are far from that.

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    Re: Platoon in LF for 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by ac084c View Post
    You don't play a platoon player 9MM/year - unless you've got a 200M+ payroll. The last time I checked, the Reds are far from that.

    Salary shouldn't even be entering into the equation. It's a sunk cost. If he's not good enough, he's not good enough. What happens if Heisey gets off to a hot start in the games he plays? Are you going to bench Heisey just because Ludwick has the higher salary?

    You have to look @ every opportunity to improve the team, and LF is definitely one spot. If you can find a LH platoon partner for cheap that will perform significantly better than Ludwick vs Righties- then it's definitely something to look @. The Reds don't have the cash to sign/trade for a $10MM OF.

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Platoon in LF for 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ladeda View Post
    Salary shouldn't even be entering into the equation. It's a sunk cost. If he's not good enough, he's not good enough. What happens if Heisey gets off to a hot start in the games he plays? Are you going to bench Heisey just because Ludwick has the higher salary?

    You have to look @ every opportunity to improve the team, and LF is definitely one spot. If you can find a LH platoon partner for cheap that will perform significantly better than Ludwick vs Righties- then it's definitely something to look @. The Reds don't have the cash to sign/trade for a $10MM OF.
    I somewhat agree with the theory, but Ludwick is penciled in as the primary RH power bat in the line-up. He's going to be the clear starter and won't be part of a straight platoon. I do see him getting frequent days off (that was true even in his big season of 2012). What he needs is a LH Hitting "caddy" to play a couple days each week against certain RH pitching. The puzzling part to me is that Xavier Paul seemed like a pretty decent choice for that job. I have a hard time understanding the need to release a guy who may have made $1 Million in arb in order to make a roster spot for Juan Duran, Ryan Lamarre or Nick Christiani. When he was released, I assumed the Reds were clearing the path for a better player, but we've gotten Skippy, Brayan Pena and a minor league deal for Jason Bourgeois.

    Maybe Donald Lutz will start-off hot at AAA and enter the picture. If the light goes on, he could be an answer as a LH platoon option. Since all the Reds seem to be doing this off-season is hoping things go right instead of actually filling holes with established guys, Lutz fits the plan.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Torty ac084c's Avatar
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    Re: Platoon in LF for 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ladeda View Post
    Salary shouldn't even be entering into the equation. It's a sunk cost. If he's not good enough, he's not good enough. What happens if Heisey gets off to a hot start in the games he plays? Are you going to bench Heisey just because Ludwick has the higher salary?

    You have to look @ every opportunity to improve the team, and LF is definitely one spot. If you can find a LH platoon partner for cheap that will perform significantly better than Ludwick vs Righties- then it's definitely something to look @. The Reds don't have the cash to sign/trade for a $10MM OF.
    If you're telling me that money doesn't affect these managers/gms decisions - then I don't know that to say. If Heisey was good enough to displace Ludwick as a starter - he would have already.

    If they have an internal minors player that they want to bring up to get significant at bats in LF - then they would trade Ludwick - like the Cardinals did with David Freese. They could have played Freese off the bench and to platoon against LH hitting at third - but they didn't want to pay a bench player $4MM.

    Ludwick is the starter, barring injury.

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    Re: Platoon in LF for 2014?

    ac084c is right on the salary issue. Ladeda, you're right that it should not be an issue but we are talking about real management, owners and money. Maybe for us, sitting here having a BB discussion it shouldn't be an issue and is a sunk cost but across baseball, how many guys making Ludwick's money are platooned or sit regularly? There are a few but darn few. When a guy making that much ends up on the bench it almost always prefaces a trade. Owners want to see their bigger investments out on the diamond. As mth123 points out, Lud is rested already on a frequent basis, even when healthy so there is an opportunity for a guy who can hit RH pitching to get some ABs. It doesn't rise to the level of a platoon, though.
    No - I am not from State Farm!

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    Re: Platoon in LF for 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by ac084c View Post
    If you're telling me that money doesn't affect these managers/gms decisions - then I don't know that to say. If Heisey was good enough to displace Ludwick as a starter - he would have already.

    If they have an internal minors player that they want to bring up to get significant at bats in LF - then they would trade Ludwick - like the Cardinals did with David Freese. They could have played Freese off the bench and to platoon against LH hitting at third - but they didn't want to pay a bench player $4MM.

    Ludwick is the starter, barring injury.
    You mean like how the Cardinals signed Mark Ellis to a $5.25M contract to play off the bench and to platoon against LH hitting???

    I agree with your Ludwick as a starter idea though. He is going to be making $7.25M next year with a 2015 $4.5M buyout. He'll play


    Mark Ellis contract:

    ■1 years/$5.25M (2014)
    ■signed by St. Louis as a free agent 12/16/13
    ■performance bonuses: $0.125M for 250 plate appearances and each additional 25 PAs to 475

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    Torty ac084c's Avatar
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    Re: Platoon in LF for 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by PadsFS View Post
    You mean like how the Cardinals signed Mark Ellis to a $5.25M contract to play off the bench and to platoon against LH hitting???

    I agree with your Ludwick as a starter idea though. He is going to be making $7.25M next year with a 2015 $4.5M buyout. He'll play


    Mark Ellis contract:

    ■1 years/$5.25M (2014)
    ■signed by St. Louis as a free agent 12/16/13
    ■performance bonuses: $0.125M for 250 plate appearances and each additional 25 PAs to 475
    Pretty big difference in that Ellis is an insurance policy in case Wong, an unproven player, isn't ready.

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    Moderator RedlegJake's Avatar
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    Re: Platoon in LF for 2014?

    Ellis is Wong insurance like Schumaker is BP gets traded insurance. They just paid more for their policy.
    No - I am not from State Farm!

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    Torty ac084c's Avatar
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    Re: Platoon in LF for 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedlegJake View Post
    Ellis is Wong insurance like Schumaker is BP gets traded insurance. They just paid more for their policy.
    Well that and Ellis is an excellent defender who can hit LHP.

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    Re: Platoon in LF for 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by ac084c View Post
    If you're telling me that money doesn't affect these managers/gms decisions - then I don't know that to say. If Heisey was good enough to displace Ludwick as a starter - he would have already.

    If they have an internal minors player that they want to bring up to get significant at bats in LF - then they would trade Ludwick - like the Cardinals did with David Freese. They could have played Freese off the bench and to platoon against LH hitting at third - but they didn't want to pay a bench player $4MM.

    Ludwick is the starter, barring injury.
    First off, Ludwick's contract is untradeable. $8.5mm this year, and a buyout for $4.5m. He's basically $14mm this year for 1 year, or $17.5mm a year for 2 years.


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