Its no secret that I am not a fan of the platoon at any position in baseball. It’s also no surprise that I prescribe to the theory that baseball can’t be explained or dissected with statistics and spreadsheets alone. Certainly if you do believe that everything is just a percentage of potential success with each batter a platoon makes a lot of sense. My biggest problem with the concept is the affect it has on a hitters timing. I’ve talked to former players (add that to my bragging montage) and I get the sense that there is something to the idea of “being in the zone”. I’m not going to try and convince you that this is some magical place where hitters are more focused than usual but I do think that it has something to do with muscle memory. Precisely why I hate the idea of Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin sharing time evenly in center field this year.
I really like Craig Gentry. He’s proved in 2012 during his 260+ plate appearances that he can be a productive hitter when he hit .304 and had an OBP of .367. Very solid numbers for a guy who wasn’t blessed with incredible physical gifts. All that being said, the odds are not in Gentry’s favor that the 29 year old can be repeat his solid 2012 season.
On the other hand, you have a guy in Leonys Martin that has a ceiling higher than the screeches from women when Craig Gentry is introduced (He’s handsome). Martin is a 25 year old outfielder who defected from Cuba 2010 and after being allowed to become a free agent by MLB was signed by the Rangers to a five-year 15.5 Million dollar contract including a five million dollar signing bonus. The Rangers made a significant investment in an unknown commodity because of his potential which he showed off in 2012 prior to being called up in June. He hit .344 in Round Rock with a .414 OBP. He’s a terrific defensive center fielder with a 70 grade arm. Keep in mind this year that he’s learning, he’s being exposed to things as a MLB player that he’s never been exposed to before. Growing pains and struggles are to be expected. They can’t all be Mike Trout.
I want Leonys to get the opportunity to struggle and learn in the big leagues and if he’s splitting time with Gentry its going to extend the learning curve for a guy that has the potential to be a much bigger difference-maker than Gentry.
Here’s hoping Wash see’s things my way.