Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Weaver's First Law: No one's going to give a damn in July if you lost a game in March.

On the topic of strategy, we'll discuss bench strategies the Jays could employ against right-handed pitchers this season.

When every player is healthy and a right-hander is starting for the bad guys, the Jays should trot out a line-up that looks something like this:

1	Cat	L	LF	RF,1B	367	469	836	266	297	563
2	Hudson	B	2B		353	448	801	264	332	596
3	Wells	R	CF		326	491	817	359	512	871
4	Koskie	L	3B		388	505	893	330	381	711
5	Shea	R	DH	1B,3B	327	460	787	342	475	817
6	Hinske	L	1B	3B	346	443	789	309	395	704
7	Rios	R	RF	CF,LF	326	385	711	374	376	750
8	Zaun	B	C 		325	363	688	347	361	708
9	Adams	L	SS		388	597	985	182	100	282
Where "SEC" represents secondary positions that these nine have played over the last three seasons. I didn't bother filling in "DH" for any of these players, under the assumption that any hitter can meet the defensive demands of not playing defense. The OBP/SLG/OPS figures are from the 2002-2004 seasons. As always, keep sample sizes in mind, particularly for young players such as Adams and Quiroz.

Here's my best guess as to the composition of the bench:

x	Johnson	R	LF	RF,CF	324	365	689	357	478	835
x	Menech	R	2B	3B,SS	345	332	677	367	465	832
x	McDon	R	SS	2B,3B	271	315	586	264	304	568
x	Quiroz	R	C		250	276	526	280	217	497
x	Myers	L	C		365	474	839	338	373	711
When Myers is healthy, it is likely he'll be on the 25-man roster and Quiroz will be in AAA.

Looking at the above line-up, there are two players that I can't see taking out for a defensive replacement or pinch-hitter: Vernon Wells and Shea Hillenbrand. Let's examine the other seven.

1. Frank Catalanotto

Since Reed Johnson is a better defensive player in LF, you've got to replace Frank with Reed if you don't expect the #1 slot in the order to come up in the game again. An obvious example is the bottom of the 9th when the Jays are leading on the road. That one is a no-brainer.

Cat is particularly weak against lefties, so when there's a left-handed reliever, you'd want Reed in there. Of course, if you use Reed to pinch-hit, the opposing manager may pull the lefty to put in a righty reliever. In that case, would you rather have Cat vs. the lefty or Reed vs. the righty? It depends on who the two relievers in question are, but in most cases I think you'd rather have Reed in there, particularly since your defense will end up getting a boost as well.

2. Orlando Hudson

This one is a bit tougher, since Orlando is such a terrific defensive player and is starting to improve vs. southpaws. If you're down in the 9th and the other team has a left-handed closer, you've got to pull the O-Dog and use Menechino or Reed to pinch hit. That's a no-brainer.

I can't see Orlando ever getting pinch-hit for when the Jays have the lead. His glove is far too valuable. The difficult decision comes when the Jays are down by a run or two in the 8th with men on base. Do you let the O-Dog hit against a lefty, or do you put Menechino in there? I think in most cases the opposing manager will have a righty warming up to face Wells, so if you put Menechino in, he'll bring in the righty a batter earlier than planned. Because of that and the drop in defense if you have Menechino or McDonald play 2nd, I don't think you'll see Hudson pinch hit for before the 9th.

4. Corey Koskie

Koskie has had some trouble against lefties, but unless it's the ninth inning against a left-handed reliever, I think you have to leave him in. There are other spots to use Menechino and Reed Johnson as pinch hitters, and the defensive drop-off between Koskie and Menechino is significant.

6. Eric Hinske

This slot is going to cause problems for the Jays late in a game. Unless Hinske gets his stroke back, I wouldn't want him at bat late in a game with runners on, particularly if a lefty is on the hill. At the same time, it's going to be difficult to pinch hit for him. The only player other than Hinske who is really qualified to play first is Hillenbrand, but if you put Hillenbrand at first, you lose the DH (and the pitcher has to bat in the DH slot) unless you perform a double-switch:

    The Designated Hitter may be used defensively, continuing to bat in the same position in the batting order, but the pitcher must then bat in the place of the substituted defensive player, unless more than one substitution is made, and the manager then must designate their spots in the batting order. Rule 6.10
A Tom Wilson type player who bats right-handed and can play 1st (and possibly other positions such as catcher), would really help the Jays out. Eric Crozier isn't really a solution here, since he hits lefty, and has yet to master major league breaking pitches.

7. Alexis Rios

If Cat is on the bench, I could see using him to pinch hit for Rios if a righty is on the hill. Since Cat is almost certainly going to be in the starting lineup when a righty starts, I don't see Rios getting pinch hit for.

8. Gregg Zaun

If Myers is healthy, I imagine he'd pinch hit for Zaun against a tough right-handed reliever. With Quiroz on the bench, I don't see this happening. I imagine the team would rather have Zaun's defense late in a game than Quiroz's, since Quiroz is still learning the ropes.

9. Russ Adams

Ignore the OPS figures; they're useless with such a small sample size. Late in the game you want John McDonald at short for his defense, similar to how you'd want Reed Johnson over Cat. Russ is a lot less likely to get pinch hit for rather than Cat, since you would not use John McDonald as a pinch hitter. Thus to pinch hit for Russ you shorten your bench by two players: the pinch hitter and John McDonald. Unless Gibbons gets creative with the double-switches, I don't see Adams getting pinch hit for too often.


When a right-hander starts expect to see Frankie Cat and Russ Adams pulled for defensive subs late in the game. Due to the small size of the bench (only 4 players), don't expect to see too many other moves, though in the 9th inning Hudson, Koskie, and possibly Hinske could be pinch hit for if the situation warrants.

In Other News...

If you find an interesting article I haven't linked to, please let us know about it. Be sure to include a one or two sentence teaser letting us know why other Batter's Box readers may want to check it out.
Spring Training Game Report 2 - Devil Rays 8 - Jays 4 | 30 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
sweat - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 08:57 AM EST (#104728) #
Thank goodness for other news.
BallGuy - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 09:21 AM EST (#104729) #
I just heard on the Fan that they will be broadcasting today's game at 1pm. Ahhhh, it'll be good to hear Tom and Jerry aga....aww crap! I'll be at work and won't be able to listen. Still, it's good to know they'll be broadcasting some games. Jamie Campbell said some of the Jays' Florida games will be shown on tv but it might just be the feed from the oposition braodcast and not a Sportsnet production. I love Spring Training radio and tv gives me a chance to warm up for the regular season.
BallGuy - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 09:22 AM EST (#104730) #
I guess the road for Hattig got a lot longer after 3 errors yesterday.
Ryan01 - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 10:23 AM EST (#104731) #
I guess the road for Hattig got a lot longer after 3 errors yesterday.

Not even in the slightest. It's his first game of Spring training, not to mention his first time ever in major league camp. That's what spring training is for. To work on new things like footwork and positioning and trying to work out the kinks. Yeah it's great to finally see some baseball, but let's try to keep things in perspective. Besides, if Hattig is to become a succesful major leaguer it's going to be his bat that gets him there.

superdevin - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 10:54 AM EST (#104733) #
relax sean penn, i think it was a joke.
Jobu - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 11:08 AM EST (#104734) #
Great analysis Pepper. The late game situations were interesting, I would have enjoyed at least one 80s pop culture reference but other than that great work!

Anyone have any theories on pinch runners or should we not get ahead of ourselves?
Tom L - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 11:12 AM EST (#104737) #
Great Roundup and great analysis today. It's good to see that the beloved links are back up, but I also think the wonderful analysis truly complements the articles that can be found in the links. Great Work.
Pepper Moffatt - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 11:12 AM EST (#104738) #
Thanks for the kind words, Jobu.

RE: Pinch running. I was thinking about that, but I'm not sure who you'd pinch run for on this team. I guess whoever is catching, I suppose. You could do a double switch: have Reed pinch run for Zaun and then have Quiroz take Cat's place in the batting order. Or have McDonald pinch run and then use Quiroz to replace Russ Adams.
Rob - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 11:12 AM EST (#104739) #
If it helps with Russ Adams and Guillermo Quiroz, here are their left/right splits from 2003 (nothing available for 2004, for whatever reason). Any errors on OBP and SLG are entirely possible, since I had to calculate them by hand:

Vs LH, Dunedin: .284/.400/.373 (67 AB)
Vs LH, New Haven: .297/.375/.469 (64)
Vs RH, Dunedin: .277/.361/.393 (191)
Vs RH, New Haven: .262/.325/.339 (183)

Vs LH, New Haven: .304/.415/.532 (79)
Vs RH, New Haven: .276/.344/.514 (290)
(His OBP's are larger than they appear, since none of his 12 HBP's were accounted for.)

These are two years old, but you can see Adams hits lefties better than righties, 10 September 2004 at bats notwithstanding.

I know the batting order is a fun yet useless debate topic, but vs. lefties, I'd like to see:
Johnson 7, Adams 6, Wells 8, Koskie 5, Hillenbrand DH, Hinske 3, Hudson 4, Rios 9, Non-Myers Catcher 2.

If Hudson shows continued improvement against lefthanded pitching, put him back at the 2-hole and keep whoever is hitting better between Johnson and Adams batting leadoff.

Mike D - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 11:14 AM EST (#104740) #
Nice analysis, Pepper. Your conclusion seems to underscore the point that an extra bench player -- i.e., one fewer pitcher -- would come in handy, since the Jays have some LOOGY vulnerabilities up and down their everyday lineup.
Pepper Moffatt - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 11:26 AM EST (#104742) #
Thanks guys! I really appreciate it.

Mike D is right: the Jays are going to have trouble against LOOGYs. The Jays could really use a right-handed bat who can also play first base.

That would mean you'd have to have an 11-man bullpen, which I can't see the Jays going for. The other possibility is having one less bench middle-infielder. If you take McDonald off the team, though, Russ Adams is rarely if ever going to get a day off since Menechino isn't really a shortstop.

The other possibility is to take Menechino off the team. This makes more sense to me, because McDonald can back up Adams and Hudson and the Jays are full of guys who can back up Koskie. The difficulty is in finding a 1B who hits lefties as good if not better than Menechino. There's little point to making the change if your new 1B doesn't hit lefties all that well.

There's a whole lot of trade-offs no matter which route you go. I think 11 pitchers is the best solution, though I understand why the Jays wouldn't want to go that route. Plus this would be they'd actually have to go out and get a righty 1B, since there aren't any realistic candidates in the system.
Wildrose - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 11:31 AM EST (#104744) #
Good stuff Mike. The story on Hattig was particularly good. I think players from non-traditional baseball backgrounds may take a little longer to develop. I think Hattig may be such a player. In terms of platooning this guy may be a potential loogy buster. I'm not sure Menninchino is substantially poorer than Koskie as a fielder. He's moving down the defensive spectrum, and seems to have a fairly solid throwing arm.( I think he's stretched as a middle infielder but is fine at the corners.)Koskie is a very sound player, but has huge splits. I wouldn't start him against lefties, even at 5.5 million a year.
Pepper Moffatt - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 11:34 AM EST (#104746) #
Thanks Wildrose!

I had completely forgotten about Alfaro. Does anyone have minor league platoon splits for him? (Rob?)
Wildrose - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 11:35 AM EST (#104747) #
Could any of the younger ,more computer savy Bauxites help me with HTML. Why does my paragraph structure dissolve in this format?
Pepper Moffatt - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 11:48 AM EST (#104750) #
You need to add paragraph breaks manually under ouur new software in HTML mode.

Just add <p> at the end of your paragraphs. It's the quickest way to do it. It's also technically incorrect, so you can watch Joe Drew cry a little every time you do it. :)
Wildrose - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 12:14 PM EST (#104753) #
Thanks Mike. When you said "Weavers first Law", I'm afraid my mind immediately thought of Jered Weaver. I just got my B.P. They have him , despite not playing a game as a pro, rated as the 16 th. best prospect in all of baseball. If he goes back into the draft( I think he'll sign at the last minute with the Angels)would the Jays role the dice ( and their wallets) and take this guy?
jsoh - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 12:24 PM EST (#104754) #
would the Jays role the dice ( and their wallets) and take [Jered Weaver]?

If I can channel Bill Dana for a moment, "oh, I hope not".

The last things that the Jays need to do (IMHO) is to draft the second coming of Matt Harrington. From what I recall, Boras is asking for something like an $8-10 million signing bonus, and a major league contract.

Even if the Jays decide that its financially viable to cough up that much money (and no-one else seems to be willing), giving Weaver a ML contract rapidly accelerates the period of time until the Weaver becomes a free agent - something that we cant really afford either.

garth - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 12:53 PM EST (#104760) #
once again thanks for bringing back links to jay's reviews. Also great analysis in your report.

Does anyone know if koch was signed to a minor league deal. The way he is pitching he looks to be overtaken by the youngsters.
Brent S - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 12:53 PM EST (#104761) #
---I had completely forgotten about Alfaro. Does anyone have minor league platoon splits for him? (Rob?)---

If Pepper asks, he shall receive! Courtesy of CNNSI, here are Alfaro's 2003 splits in New Orleans (AAA):

vs LH: .340/.401/.525 (97 AB)
vs RH: .286/.342/.444 (237 AB)

As Rob stated, the OBP calculations are a bit biased because CNNSI doesn't list sacrifices or HBP.
Cristian - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 01:06 PM EST (#104765) #
I just finished reading another "Jays will be stealing more bases" articles. Does anyone think that it might be wise for the Jays to hire a basestealing coach? I can't imagine stealing bases is as easy as saying you are going to steal. I'm sure JP knows that basestealing is only beneficial when it's done with a high success rate. I know I'm going to be freaking out this summer if the Jays consistently run themselves out of games.
joemayo - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 01:29 PM EST (#104771) #
relax sean penn, i think it was a joke.

lol. my accountants would like a word with you.

nice work Moffatt. good to see the articles back up. interesting to note that the Star would send Geoff Baker all the way to Guam to do a full page write-up - with another full page pic - on a relative unknown (to non-Bauxites anyway). oh well, i enjoyed the read.

Mike Green - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 01:38 PM EST (#104773) #
Cristian, my first spring Game Report will focus on this club and one-run strategies- basestealing, bunting for a hit, sacrificing and hitting and running.

For the time being, suffice it to say that baserunning coach or no, this club doesn't really have the personnel to justify any kind of emphasis on the stolen base as a regular part of the job of moving baserunners.
Cristian - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 01:55 PM EST (#104775) #
Thanks Mike. Of course there is one solution. Sign Rickey! to be a player/basestealing coach.
Ducey - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 02:10 PM EST (#104776) #
re: Weaver

Isn't likely his asking price will go down if he goes into the draft a second time? He will be a year older and a little rusty. I can't imagine he would want to go in the draft a third time.

Anyone know what has happened to guys going into draft number two? Do they get more reasonable?
StephenT - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 02:27 PM EST (#104778) #
BallGuy, Sportsnet is showing the Jays Thu Mar 10 (7pm vs. Yankees) and Sat Mar 12 (1pm vs. Twins). Presumably they're picking up the Yankees YES and Twins FSN feeds respectively, but that's fine with me. (I found this on the Interactive Guide of Rogers Digital Cable, looking at the Baseball Theme for each day of the next week.)
Wildrose - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 03:05 PM EST (#104786) #
Since I opened this can of worms regarding Weaver, I'll try to answer your question Ducey.

If unsigned the week before the 2005 draft, Weaver goes back into the draft-pool. As JSOH alluded, high school hurler Matt Harrington did this several years ago, drafted in round 1, he turned down $4 million, and went back into the draft. He subsequently played independent ball( poorly) and kept falling in the draft (and kept refusing to sign)and I believe finally was drafted in 2004 in round 36, he's regarded now as a non-prospect.

Weaver however, may be a different animal as he's proven himself at the D-1 level. The Sab community loves this guy( his numbers are as good as Prior's at a younger age), the scouting community however, is not sold, generally regarding his "stuff" as being not being as good as Prior's .

At any rate, Weaver's eventual ceiling,is just one more factor the Jay's might have to consider in this years draft

Lefty - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 10:21 PM EST (#104847) #
As I recall, I'm pretty darn sure its a major league deal.
Lefty - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 10:38 PM EST (#104849) #
For the time being, suffice it to say that baserunning coach or no, this club doesn't really have the personnel to justify any kind of emphasis on the stolen base as a regular part of the job of moving baserunners

I'm thinking the same thing. Even though the coaches and GM say the running game is now in effect I really don't see them being a huge stolen base threat.I really don't want to see V-Dub trying to be a 30/30 guy now that his baseline is more or less established. Cat had decent speed but is made of glass. Who backs up O-Dog after an unfortunate hand injury or something?.

Koskie, Rios and Hinske should be good for a few bags.

In hindsight I would have prefered Gathright in return for Cash. If that kind of deal would have been possible. And I bet it would have.

With repect to the batting order discussion, I think at some point this season there will be a discussion in the Box about moving Rios to the three hole, followed by Wells, Koskie etc.

6-4-3 - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 11:12 PM EST (#104852) #
I don't know about that. Just looking at offensive production (and conveniently ignoring playing time) Pat Borders was a better catcher than Cash last year. Cash's OPS+ is around the level of Mike Hampton or Dontrelle Willis. Personally, I find it amazing that JP got anything at all in return for Cash. Gathright went 341/399/397 in AA, and 326/384/373 in AAA. Even if Tampa doesn't think he'll pan out, the price is going to be higher than Cash.
Craig B - Monday, March 07 2005 @ 12:01 AM EST (#104854) #
In hindsight I would have prefered Gathright in return for Cash. If that kind of deal would have been possible. And I bet it would have.

Would you trade Gathright for Cash?

Under any circumstances?

Spring Training Game Report 2 - Devil Rays 8 - Jays 4 | 30 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.