Big A Baseball

July 24, 2009 6:54 PM

Mike Napoli versus Jeff Mathis: Platoon Not Catching On.

Let's see, Jeff Mathis is a self proclaimed "automatic out" hitting below the Mendoza line with minimal power. Mike Napoli has 13 homers, "as much raw power as anyone in the league" according to his manager, and is hitting a solid .285 - not to mention his walk off double last night against the Twins.

Why are they platooning again?

Oh, right, Mathis is a slightly better signal caller, emphasis on the 'slightly.' He's no Johnny Bench back there. He's an above average catcher who calls a good game.

But he can't hit. The guy was a career .276 hitter in the MINOR leagues. It wasn't likely to get better in the bigs.

And while Napoli might not be Mathis' equal behind the plate, he's no stiff. You don't lose much with the glove with Nap, but oh man do you lose with the bat with Mathis.

Yes, Scioscia has used Nap as a DH to keep his bat in the line-up, but when Vladdy returns, DH is his.

Which means Mathis needs to go to the bench as a back-up catcher. Give him one game a week. Use him as a late inning replacement if Nap is replaced for a pinch runner, or in blowout games to give Nap a rest. 

But stop this ridiculous platoon system.

49 starts for Napoli to 45 for Mathis? Using this guideline, why not have Willits platoon with Vladdy? Willits is by far a better outfielder.

Silly, you say. Of course it is. But so is Mathis splitting even time with Napoli.

I know Scioscia loves a good glove-man, and well he should. And no one can question Scioscia about catchers without sounding like an idiot (uh oh...)

But if there's one area where Scioscia has a blind spot, it's his loyalty to particular players. He sticks with them well after they have proven themselves mediocre.

To Scioscia's credit, he eventually sits them down or sends them down, but it takes a while. And with this team showing signs of major playoff potential, a while is too long.

The Angels need to hit and continue to hit, because they're not going to win this year on pitching.

Napoli in. Mathis out. That's the way the ball bounces.



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