Elite Platoon Options to Fill in MLB Lineup Holes
The biggest MLB stories of this winter will surround Robinson Cano and other blockbuster names. However, not every team needs to make that type of move. Some teams need complementary pieces that might seem insignificant, but when added together, make a significant difference.
Here are five players that can make a difference in the right situation. You might not want them to play every day, but if you evaluate how they perform in a platoon role, they can assist in the creation of a formidable lineup.
Michael Young went to the Philadelphia Phillies last season to be a full-time third baseman, but after he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, he transitioned to a much more reduced role.
His value mainly lies in his ability to hit right-handed pitchers, and as there are more right-handers than lefties, his talent is obviously valuable. Last year, Young hit .289 and six of his eight home runs against righties.
He might not be good enough to get an everyday role at a position where power is becoming more and more important, but he can do a good job against right-handed pitching if necessary.
Due to injury, Franklin Gutierrez only got into 41 games last year for the Seattle Mariners. However, when he was in the game, he demonstrated an ability to crush right-handed pitchers.
Even though he only got 90 at-bats against righties, he hit seven home runs. If you extend that over a season—where he might get 300 at-bats against right-handed pitchers—we are talking about 20 home runs in that situation alone.
Personally, I think that he should play every day. At the very least, you can expect him to do some damage.
Mark Reynolds doesn’t hit for average, and we all know that. If you are going to bring him onto your team, you have to expect that.
That being said, he does hit a home run against right-handers approximately every 22 at-bats.
I realize that might not be top-of-the-line, but if you could get that kind of production from a part-time player, you would probably be pretty happy.
At the very least, he can fill either corner of the infield and pack a punch.
Rajai Davis is pretty underrated as far as outfielders go. He doesn’t offer much power at all, but he can steal an awful lot of bases and is versatile.
On top of that, he hit .319 with a .383 on-base percentage against left-handed pitchers. His strikeout percentage also dropped down to approximately one in 10, whereas against right-handed pitchers it was approximately one in five.
In a platoon, he could definitely play part-time and make an impact. It is not that he is bad against right-handed pitchers necessarily, but playing him versus lefties would accentuate his strength.
In 2013, Dioner Navarro only appeared in 89 games, but he absolutely unloaded on left-handed pitching all season.
His batting average was .361, and his on-base percentage was an outrageous .451. Granted, he only had 61 at-bats against left-handed pitching, but that is still impressive. He also hit a home run approximately every 10 at-bats against left-handers, which is a high ratio for catchers.
Maybe Navarro does indeed deserve a full-time job, but if he ends up with another part-time job, most teams would certainly benefit. There are very few catchers that did better against left-handers last year.