Friday, September 10, 2010

FJM Friday: Bench Ostler

I don't know much about Scott Ostler. I always get him and John Shea mixed up. And I rarely read the Chronicle anymore, unless it is ruthlessly/pathetically looking for articles to appear on Fire Joe Morgan Friday. I feel like I've heard him on KNBR before, but that might have been John Shea. Except it was probably Scott Ostler, because I remember the guy being kinda awkward and not very engaging, giving lots of short answers. John Shea looks like a nice guy, who would wanna talk. Scott Ostler looks like, um, someone that might be like that guy I heard on KNBR a couple years ago. Whatever. Scott Ostler wrote some really dumb things in today's Sporting Green, so here they are in bold, with my thoughts in regular text.

Bench Panda. The Giants are making a dash for the playoffs. They need runs. Time to bench Pablo Sandoval.

Uh oh. This can't be going anywhere intelligent.

Sandoval's batting average is 61 points lower than last season, 76 points lower than 2008. Hello. Something is wrong.

As long as you're going to use the sarcastic "hello?" as a device in your article, please include the recommended question mark, a punctuation tool that provides the tone necessary for accomplishing your intended sarcasm. Also, did you really just cite his 2008 batting average? When he had 154 plate appearances?

He cannot hit right-handed. Against lefty pitchers, he's at .233. With one home run. One.

Yes, Pablo Sandoval has struggled mightily this year against lefties. But splits, especially single year ones, can be very deceptive, and should be analyzed with caution. Here's why:

Sandoval, right handed, 2010: 146 PAs - .233/.288/.316/.603
Sandoval, right handed, 2009: 159 PAs - .379/.428/.600/1.028

Pablo Sandoval can't hit left handers. Pablo Sandoval CRUSHES left handers. Which is it? Well, it's neither. Sandoval was simply a better hitter last year, and it happened that he was STRONGER from the right side. This year, for whatever reason, he is struggling as a hitter, and he happens to be weaker from the right side. Why? Quite simply, randomness. That's what it is. It's random. If Sandoval had a serious problem seeing lefties or with his right handed swing, he wouldn't have made it this far as a switch hitter. And he wouldn't have OPS'd over 1.000 last year as a right handed hitter.

He would be better off batting lefty against lefty pitchers, so at least he could concentrate on grooving his lefty swing. That's not going to happen.

This is not a good idea. There is a reason that switch hitters are switch hitters. It is an advantage to hit in the opposite direction of the pitcher. Yet I hear this a lot, that a switch hitter should just focus on the one side. It's usually the side that he is appearing to hit well from. But that kind of thinking ignores what I presented above, that switch hitters don't naturally hit better from a particular side, that it is randomness that makes it appear so.

But at the very least, Sandoval should sit down every time the other team throws a lefty. Take a seat.

Please stop writing with the short phrase style of Ernest Hemingway. "Take a seat". "Hello". "One". We get it. You are making a point. This is not a telegram. Stop. (Yes, I did do right there EXACTLY what I just told you not to.)

Juan Uribe can play 3rd. Aubrey Huff. Freddy Sanchez. Get hot bats in the lineup.

You didn't seriously just suggest that Aubrey Huff play 3rd base. Okay, you did. And yes, Aubrey Huff has played 3rd base in the past. But still, hell no. Aubrey Huff should not play 3rd. Of course, all 3 of these players CAN conceivable play 3rd base in place of Sandoval. But they all already have positions in the starting lineup. So who replaces them?

Shortstop (Uribe): Renteria = Not better than Sandoval
2nd Base (Sanchez): Fontenot = Not better than Sandoval
1st Base (Huff): Ishikawa = Not better than Sandoval, ESPECIALLY NOT AGAINST LEFTIES!

None of these players is better offensively RIGHT NOW than Sandoval, nor do they have the offensive potential of Pablo. So this does not improve the Giants scoring in the least.

I'm not saying the Giants should give up on Panda. But the final 3 weeks of the season is all about now; it's not the time for a reclamation project.

You're right, and if the Giants had a better hitter to put in the infield, then it might be the right move. But any of the hitters that would ostensibly take Sandoval's place as an everyday player are NOT better offensively. Any defensive improvement is negligible at best. So stick with Sandoval, because there's nothing else to do, and he COULD always suddenly heat up.

Oh, one more thing before the clock strikes midnight. Brian Wilson is not a candidate for the NL Cy Young. And he shouldn't be. No reliever should ever be, unless he pitches maybe 100 innings, has a perfect save percentage, and allows .500 baserunners per inning. Only then. Goodnight.

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