Seth Smith is pretty awesome. Well, not as far as fielding goes this season, but in general, he's awesome. Ok but here's another stipulation: Smith is only awesome against right handed pitching. Seriously. Against southpaws, he's pretty... well, he's not good. Thus far in 2011, Smith has batted to the tune of .289/.345/.506, good for a 122 wRC+ (which is the park adjusted scaled stat suggesting that Smith is 22% above a league average bat). That's good. There really doesn't appear to be a reason that Seth Smith shouldn't be a regular starter.
Then you see his platoon splits. 134 wRC+ vs RHP, 57 v LHP. Yes, friends, that's an 80% drop from right to left. It's not an isolated thing, either. In 2009, Smith posted a 121 wRC+ v LHP in 69 times at bat. Every other season, comprising 147 plate appearances, Smith has been decidedly below average, to the point of a negative wRC+ in 2008 and 2010 (I don't entirely know what that means, either, aside from "bad"). His career shows that same ~80% drop from right to left.
Now, there are a lot of well-argued stances out there that suggest that Smith could hit lefties well enough to not bench him against them, but for the sake of this discussion, I'm considering Smith a "no lefties" guy. This way, we can talk about what the management (who's completely on board with the "no lefties" idea) might do in light of this.
Seth Smith is about to hit his first arbitration year, so there's probably not gonna be a reason to move him at this point in his career. The problem remains that he's going to play in a platoon. So who do you bring in to platoon with Smith? Over the past several years, Smith has been matched with an interesting array of different people to fill out that platoon. By which I mean Ryan Spilborghs. Since 2009, Spilly has hit lefties quite underwhelmingly, notching only a 90 wRC+.
With Spilly being a very strong NonTender candidate this offseason, it's time for the Rockies to start taking things seriously, and start looking to acquire Jonny Gomes.
Gomes, 30, is a beast. Sort of. You wouldn't know it by looking at his "meh at best" fielding, his slightly-above-average batting line, and generally gentle demeanor. Oh, but you're missing the best part.
Since 2009, Gomes has hit lefties well. Very well. As well as Seth Smith hits righties well. Like 135 wRC+ well. See where I'm going with this? That's the equivalent of putting Corey Hart into the Rockies lineup.
Thing is, platoons happen. They're a very real part of baseball, and not necessarily a bad thing, either. Lots of good players are parts of platoons. Lots of good managers used platoons regularly, such as Casey Stengel and Earl Weaver. Hell, even Jim Tracy makes heavy use of platoons, in the form of "Players I like" and "Players I don't like".
But seriously folks, there are a decent number of outfielders out there who can hit lefties quite well, but given the fact that the majority of MLB pitchers are RHP, these outfielders' overall lines leave a lot to be desired. A few such men include: Matt Diaz, Rajai Davis, The aforementioned Gomes, Andruw Jones...well, you get the idea. Getting a solid platoon partner for Seth Smith will very likely help seal one of those holes in the Rockies' lineup going forward.
I just hope they can get someone as awesome as Jonny Gomes.
Dexter Fowler HAS been notably improved since his return from banishment to the Springs. He was massive in July (171 wRC+) and decent in August (111 wRC+). I still have hope that Fowler can be a 120 wRC+ guy, but he'll need to continue retaining and growing upon months like July to get anywhere near that mark.
Spilborghs set to rejoin Rockies in San Diego | ColoradoRockies.com: News
I hate when guys are on a clear decline, approach the end, and then they get hurt. The problem is that a lot of sportswriters will then surmise that the bad batting numbers were due to the injury. No, they're probably due to a decline and the guy's nearing the end. Sure, maybe they'll come back for a week or two and put up some sort of decent MLB line, but there's a better chance that they've dropped to AAAA level and it might be time to figure something else out. Trust me, I love Spilly, but he's not going to make this September any more fun, and he's likely not coming back next year. Maybe I'm just trying to detach myself.
Colorado Rockies lefty prospect Edwar Cabrera looks like his name is missing a letter, but he's leading the minors in Ks.
Sickels has Cabrera slated for seeing the majors by 2012. Really?! 2012? I think half of the organization is going to burst forth in 2012 and the Rockies are gonna have a mammoth logjam in the pitching staff.
Suddenly, Nolan Arenado out of nowhere with the folding chair! OH He's got Kouzmanoff down on the mat, and NO! YES! HE'S GOING FOR THE MURDERDROP
Maybe this is a repeat link, but good for you, Jason! Congratulations!