It is well known that the Oakland Athletics love options when it comes to constructing the starting lineup. Whether it is a platoon player, a switch hitter, or a utility man, expect the A’s starting roster to be different on a daily basis depending on the opposing pitcher. That being said, Oakland’s 40-man roster is full of players that allow for a lot of different choices to be made for each game scenario.
This ideal stayed strong during the offseason even when it came to the re-acquisition of Jed Lowrie. With Marcus Semien at shortstop, it was quickly assumed that Lowrie would be the starting second baseman for the Oakland Athletics in 2016. However, Oakland also has the option of platooning him with Eric Sogard. It may even be a good idea to platoon these two for the entire season rather than have Lowrie fill the starting second baseman role while Sogard stays on as the backup infielder.
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There are a couple of reasons as to why it might be smart to platoon Lowrie and Sogard at second. First off, Lowrie has only played 58 games in the majors at second base and has not played at that position since 2013. For Sogard, second base is his normal fielding position and he has 323 games under his belt with a combined .987 fielding percentage at second. Additionally, even though Lowrie has a respectable .975 fielding percentage at second base, he is known for having a weak throwing arm for a middle infielder.
It is clear that Sogard’s defense at second is superior to Lowrie’s. Additionally, Lowrie is going to have to reacquaint himself with how to effectively field at this position. It would be ideal to platoon these two players at least at the beginning of the season in order to make sure Lowrie is actually a reliable second baseman.
Secondly, Lowrie is a switch hitter while Sogard bats from the left side. Lowrie hits much better as a right-handed batter. In 2015, Lowrie hit .267 right-handed and only .206 when he batted left-handed. Over the past three seasons, Lowrie has batted .272 against left-handed pitchers and .259 against righties. Even though Sogard’s bat is not as strong as Lowrie’s, Sogard is almost as successful as Lowrie against right-handed pitchers, hitting .254 over the past three season. If Lowrie struggles against righties this upcoming year, Sogard will be there to pick up the slack.
Overall, platooning Lowrie and Sogard gives the Oakland Athletics more options when it comes to constructing their daily lineup. Additionally, it allows for more chances for the team to win if the A’s come up with the right combination of players for each game. Lowrie’s and Sogard’s strengths and weaknesses compliment each other in such a way that it easily allows for a successful platoon at second base to take place.