Nebraksa knows turned me onto this article at DetNews dot come by Kurt Mensching, Tigers have the left fielders they need, if they’re used correctly.
For the first few paragraphs, I was agreeing with what Mensching had to say. I don’t think Nick Castellanos is the answer to the vacancy in left field. He’s not pounding AAA pitching, he’s only batting .278. I think that at this point, the best the Tigers can do is platoon and hope Dirks’ bat perks up. If it doesn’t, try Don Kelly. If that doesn’t work, hoping and praying won’t hurt.
The second half of the article, Don’t Forget About Defense, is where I lost any interest in the story.
What should keep Dirks in the lineup is his glove. That’s a far cry from what we’ve come to expect of past Tigers left fielders.
The advanced metrics have painted a nice picture of his game. Those stats take into consideration a number of factors, such as where and how hard a ball is hit as well as the unique configuration of each stadium. Baseball Information Solutions has people watch and “score” every defensive play, then formulas are applied to the results to compare players.
This season, Dirks has been worth eight runs more than an average left fielder according to the Defensive Runs Saved stat. For his career, he has been worth 18 runs.
Using Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games, Dirks again shines. He has been about 17 runs better than an average left fielder this year per that stat. For his career, he has been worth about five runs per 150 games by UZR.
I am a believer in Money Ball statistics and I’m sure there is an advance metric that makes Andy Dirks look like Willie Mays but I also know statistics and metrics can be manipulated to say anything. In fact, there is an entire book written called, How To Lie With Statistics
. I’m not saying this “advance metric” is a Mensching fabrication, I’m just saying that empirical evidence doesn’t seem to corroborate the metric.
Dirks, at best has been an abomination in left field. I’m thankful when he makes the routine play. Anything more than routine, he won’t come close to. I remind readers again of his embarrassing performance on the last trip to Chicago.
Look, here’s the bottom line, I know the Tigers don’t have a left fielder. I think platooning and hoping is the only option for the Tigers right now. That being said, running Dirks out there every night because Jim Leyland suffers from Dirksburger Syndrome is not the proper way to platoon. Use Tui against lefties, but don’t let him sit around so long that he gets K’d by Ryan Rayburn. Put Dirksy in against righties but don’t let him struggle for a month before pulling him out.
One more thing, NEVER PULL MIGUEL CABREREA OUT OF A CLOSE GAME UNLESS HE’S INJURED.
“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural