Death of the Platoon?
Everyone complains about the price of players, but no one does anything about it — even though platoons, especially in corner positions, often provide above-average production for below-average cost, if you can spare the extra roster spot.
Growing up as a Jays fan in the 80’s, I watched many great platoon combinations. These include:
- Rick Leach, Juan Beniquez DH
- Ernie Whitt, Buck Martinez C
- Pat Borders, Greg Myers C
- Rance Mulliniks, Garth Iorg 3B
- Rance Mulliniks, Kelly Gruber 3B
- Fred McGriff, Cecil Fielder 1B
- Lenny Dykstra, Mookie Wilson CF (honourable mention)
These days platoons are few and far between. The following are players who are cost effective and could add punch to a lineup that can spare the roster spot if they are plugged into the appropriate role:
Phelps feasts against lefties hitting .314/.392/.500 against them. He also has potential 30 HR power if he improves his effectiveness .vs RHP as he has been doing the last few years. Even so, put him in solely against lefties for a value play.
Gomes has fallen out of favour with the Rays due to them having a crazy-deep farm system and young guns pushing Gomes out of the way. Gomes’ 2006 season was a write off due to a mangled shoulder, though he showed improvement in 2007 where he still dominated lefties hitting .313/.376/.542. He is another cost effective option that is a 30HR power threat.
If ever there was a candidate for being a platoon player, Kielty is it. Kielty has absolutely mashed LHP throughout his career and been miserable against righties. Although the sample size in 2007 is too small to discern any real trends, in 2006 Kielty went off on southpaws, hitting a pretty .325/.358/.607. This guy could be had for the league minimum and would fit nicely with a left handed hitting slugger who gets killed by lefties.