The Art of the Platoon
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
How would the 2013 Oakland Athletics have looked with 3 All-Stars like, Yadier Molina, Marco Scutaro and Joe Mauer, in the lineup? Well this article is going to show you how the 2013 Athletics did have these players in their lineup… well the offensive production anyway!
Starting in the 2012 season, Athletics General Manager, Billy Beane had given Manager Bob Melvin “options” to use at a certain position. For instance, most of the 2012 season we saw Jonny Gomes (a right handed hitter) and Seth Smith (a left handed hitter) split time (or platooned) at the DH spot in the lineup. There was also a platoon at first base between Chris Carter (right handed) and Brandon Moss (left handed). The point of this is to try to capture offensive production from what each player does well. Carter and Gomes both hit left handed pitching well while Moss and Smith both hit right handed pitching well. The production given is that of all-stars but for significantly less money. As we all know, Billy Beane looks for ways to save some money while maintaining maximum production. The success of this plan help spill over into the 2013 season.
In 2013 there were 3 spots in the Oakland Athletics lineup that were using a platoon. At first base, the Athletics used Nate Freiman and Brandon Moss. At second base the Athletics used Eric Sogard, Alberto Callaspo and Adam Rosales. Finally at catcher, the Athletics used John Jaso, Stephen Vogt and Derek Norris.
Here is how the 2013 Athletics first baseman (Moss vs right handed pitching and Freiman vs left handed pitching) performed statistically in the platoon. Also included is how the platoon compared to Minnesota Twins first baseman (and catcher), Joe Mauer, whom was selected to the 2013 All-Star Game:
Here are the 2013 Athletics second baseman (Sogard vs right handed pitching and Rosales/Callaspo vs left handed pitching) compared to another All-Star, Marco Scutaro (San Francisco Giants):
Finally, here are the 2013 Athletics catchers (Norris vs left handed pitching and Jaso/Vogt vs right handed pitching) compared to catcher Yadier Molina. Molina (St. Louis Cardinals) was also in the 2013 All-Star game.
Mauer, Scutaro and Molina made a combined $33 Million in 2013. The offensive platoons that Beane and Melvin put together in 2013 combined to make $6.84 Million in 2013. These are the things that the Athletics must do to contend with other teams that make and spend more money than them.
In 2014, I think you will see even more of the platoon. Look for Sogard and newly signed Nick Punto to share second base. I will also expect the Athletics to platoon Norris and Vogt at catcher and use John Jaso and Craig Gentry to split time as the DH. If everyone stays healthy, look for similar output in these 3 positions.
Until next time fans… Lets Go Oakland