Thursday, June 08, 2006

Castro vs Bartlett

Juan Castro will be the Twins' Opening Day shortstop, while Jason Bartlett will head to Rochester to work on leadership skills.
He's a quiet kid," Gardenhire said. "But in the middle, you have to be vocal. You have to lead, and that's what I told him you need to do. 'You go down there and take control of the infield. You be the leader. Once you start getting that part of the game down, you'll be more confident all the way around.' "
Gardenhire compared it to the presence of a quarterback in football. He referred back to the Twins infields from their World Series teams of 1987 and 1991, the way Kent Hrbek served as the infield leader.

Has anybody else ever heard that a SS must be a vocal leader? Shouldn’t the manager of the team be the leader? I don’t remember ever hearing that Kent Hrbek was considered the leader of the infield. In fact this is the first time I have ever heard of an infield leader. Is Mauer being a leader? From what I hear he is very quiet on the field and in the clubhouse. It seems to be that the infield leader should be at catcher. He is involved in more action than any other player than the pitcher and he even talks to the pitcher more than any other player.

The fact is that we don’t need leaders we need players, Mauer is a great player, Juan Castro is as good a player as Fidel Castro is a dictator.

If it is so important to have an infield leader then help Castillo be the leader, he is a Gold Glove 2B and he is a veteran. Why Bartlett? I wonder what Bartlett did to deserve this treatment. Was he dating one of Gardy’s daughters? Does Castro have naked pictures of Gardy? That’s all I can assume. It is so illogical and irrational to keep playing a sub-par hitter who has also turned into a sub-par fielder.

What’s strange is that last year they were both fairly equal players. Defensively Bartlett and Castro were basically a wash. Castro had a Fielding % of .985 while Bartlett’s was .979, very close. But Bartlett had a much better Zone rating than Castro’s tt was .865 vs .813. Not really close at all.

Now I am not necessarily saying that Bartlett is a better fielder, but that argument can be made. What I am saying is that if Castro is indeed better than Bartlett defensively that it is not by enough to justify his offense.

Last year they were both dreadful offensively, they both had an OPS of about .660. But at least the much younger Bartlett should some patience at the plate with a .313 OBP while Castro’s was an anemic .279. My guess is that if Bartlett played everyday he would likely have a batting average higher than Castro's OBP. This year Castro is batting .238/.262/.315. And he is being paid a million dollars to do so.

Castro is playing now for his defense and leadership abilities I have not seen that this year. His Fielding % has dropped to .965 and his Zone rating has dropped to .796. Both are not the stats of a defensive specialist. I will admit that these stats don’t show the whole picture, but there are no perfect stats for defense. Even watching defense is sometimes an imperfect way to determine a good fielder. But are any of you tired of 8-hoppers being hit up the middle that you assume will be turned into an out but instead rolls slowly into centerfield. I know I am sick of it. Also, a leader doesn’t drop a throw from the catcher to nail a base stealer. Castro does this.

Even if Bartlett’s defense is atrocious I have to believe that his offense will overcome that and prove to be much more value than what Castro provides.

I will look at the numbers this weekend and try to put a more definitive number on the differences offensively and defensively.


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