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Saturday, February 01, 2014

Castrovince: Platooning and position-sharing here to stay

“Stay out of this, Elias. This ain’t your show!”

Platooning is increasingly in vogue in this era of pitching prominence and diminished offensive returns. As we sit here today, more than half of MLB’s 30 clubs have some sort of timeshare on the table at one or, in many cases, multiple positions. And the Oakland A’s and manager Bob Melvin—referred to by one player as the “King of Platoons” last season—are not alone in employing the practice.

“You’re never going to have, more often than not, a perfect player,” A’s general manager Billy Beane said at the Winter Meetings. “It’s just trying to use every bit of the roster that we have.”

Others undoubtedly agree. Some of these situations are born out of necessity, others out of creativity, and many are subject to change as the season evolves.

But what’s clear is that a mind-set and methodology almost as old as the game itself still apply, more so now than at any time in recent memory.

Last season, according to Elias Sports Bureau, players batted in favorable matchups (right-handed batters against left-handed pitchers, and vice versa) 56 percent of the time, the highest such percentage since 1995 (57) and an indication, perhaps, of the measures teams are taking to eke more efficiency and efficacy out of their offenses at a time when runs per game and league-wide batting averages have dipped to their lowest levels in decades.

Although the word platoon is often unfairly assigned to several of these situations, given that playing time won’t always be predicated upon handedness, not having an everyday player prescribed at every position isn’t necessarily a shortcoming and could, in fact, emerge as a strength.

Repoz Posted: February 01, 2014 at 10:30 AM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mlb

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. adenzeno Posted: February 01, 2014 at 06:17 PM (#4649909)
Earl Weaver and Casey Stengel are smiling...
   2. jingoist Posted: February 01, 2014 at 10:13 PM (#4649966)
Adenzeno
My thoughts exactly.
When I saw this article my mind immediately jumped back to the early 1980's Orioles team and my all-time favorite LF platoon of Roenicke and Lowenstein.
I remember well the O's going down to the final game in 1982 only to lose out to the Brewers.
It didn't hurt that Lolo and Gary R had career years in 82.

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