Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sure, But Maybe He Should Be

When asked why Schneider and not Flores given today's day game and opposing lefty starter, Manny Acta said something about wanting Schneider to work with Hill. That's a reasonable explanation, and one that's really hard to disagree with given the results.
But Manny went further:
"Schneider's our everyday guy anyways," Acta said. "He's not a platoon guy."

He's right in that he hasn't been platooned, but should he?
2006: .251 .325 .333 .271 .304 .318
2005: .269 .331 .435 .265 .324 .294
2004: .260 .334 .409 .244 .286 .360
2003: .243 .315 .403 .179 .282 .358
TOTAL .255 .324 .395 .249 .309 .332

Almost every player has some sort of platoon split, so pointing out that a left-handed batter has a harder time with lefties isn't ground-breaking stuff.

Against right-handed pitchers, .255/.324/.395 is a pretty good line. That's basically league average for a catcher. When you factor in his defense, he's a solid, better-than-average backstop.

But against lefties, he's almost worthless. That .249/.309/.332 career line is execrable, and he'd have to be the lovechild of Johnny Bench and Pudge Rodriguez -- man, that'd be an ugly baby -- to be an asset to a team.

So while Manny Acta is right in that Schneider hasn't been a platoon catcher (save for a brief time in '05 when Frank inexplicably fell in love with Gary "PB" Bennett), maybe he should be.

Jesus might not be the second coming -- and in baseball, the devil you don't know is often preferred to the one you do -- but starting him against tough lefties to give Schneider a breather would make sense.


  • I particularly enjoy how the question/answer regarding Flores not starting was framed around the idea that it would be a platoon. My thought of Flores starting yesterday was based upon day game after night game/getaway game. It'll be interesting to see if Flores gets the Sunday start.

    By Blogger Brian, at 4/27/2007 7:54 AM  

  • Man, Hill is really starting to make a believer out of me; we just may have a nice little diamond in the rough with this guy.

    Watching him throw free and easy strikes and getting the Phillies to hit one ground ball after another was great. I was hoping he could get the complete game, but that was more than good enough.

    Now, if Cordero would just stop trying to give us all a heart attack with every appearance...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/27/2007 8:18 AM  

  • Brian -- the Mets start lefties Friday and Saturday. I'm sure Flores will get the start Sunday, even if Saturday -- Glavine? -- might be preferable bc of platooning.

    You're exactly right. It doesn't have to be a strict platoon, but the advantage of having a left-handed catcher, is that there are built-in offdays. Flores has started three games; two of those were against righties. That doesn't make much sense.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/27/2007 8:34 AM  

  • I have to wonder how much (if any) foresight is going into the lineup decision process. I would think that -- particularly for the catcher position -- the manager would want to pre-plan to some extent when guys are going to get a day off. You don't have to go all Earl Weaver with figuring out whether one of your guys is 5-14 lifetime against one of the projected starters in the next series, but you might want to make sure you're not starting your backup against a guy he has no hope of hitting. Why not give the occasional day-off on the night before a day game, if would give you a better matchup?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/27/2007 9:56 AM  

  • FWIW, Frank essentially did platoon Schneider for much of the second half of '05, especially from mid-August into September. Of course, Schneider had several aggravating injuries at the time . . .

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/27/2007 9:56 AM  

  • I can't believe Flores isn't playing more. Look at Schneider's RBI vs avg/obp/slg. We need hits with people on base,not sac flies, especially considering our pitching staff. Who cares if Scheider calls a good game? It hasn't seemed to help this bunch of donkeys. Isn't the whole idea of the "Plan" to develop our young guys??? I don't get it.........

    By Blogger Rob B, at 4/27/2007 10:52 AM  

  • Acta is sending the wrong signals to the players. He's playing personal favorites--Schneider and Fick being the most obvious.

    Players resent it when their manager bases decisions on his personal preferences rather than on performance on the field. So now we can add disgruntled players into the sorry mix of "The Plan."

    What else can be decided wrongly by this crowd?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/27/2007 11:05 AM  

  • Crap. Upon further review, you have that parenthetical saying exactly what I said. Sorry!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/27/2007 11:48 AM  

  • Jesus Flores was a hitting machine in Viera. I just don't understand why Acta is afraid to use him. Brian Schneider can't hit his weight and he can't throw base stealers out anymore. If Acta keeps using Schneider like he currently is, Brian will be fifty years old by the end of the season.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/27/2007 11:54 AM  

  • I agree that "playing favorites" can really poison a locker room. I also agree that Flores deserves (much) more playing time, and that Acta's "Schneider is not a platoon player" argument doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

    That being said, I don't get the sense that Acta is one to play favorites, or to ignore obvious performance issues. My personal theory is that Acta is reluctant to start resting Schneider during this slump. I know that doesn't make sense at face value, but perhaps he's giving his most veteran player (and most visible clubhouse leader) a chance to work his way out of his slump before he starts resting him. Acta may feel that if he starts "resting" Schneider now in favor of Flores, he may create the impression (on Brian, on the team, on the media) that he's worried about Schneider. Essentially, it's a vote of confidence to a veteran player who "plays the right way."

    I'm not saying this is the right move, just that there may be reasons behind Acta's decisions that he's not articulating in these interviews.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/27/2007 12:51 PM  

  • NattyFan -- That's a good comment, and something I've considered. It certainly makes a lot of sense, especially because Schneider's confidence has to be low after two crappy years.

    there's gotta be a happy medium in there somewhere.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/27/2007 1:09 PM  

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