Thursday, 10 April 2014

A Cry for Sanity

That sure looks like the image of a guy who just struck out, doesn't it?

Now, I'll not be the first to mention that Ryan Goins is on this team thanks in large part (whole part?) to his defense, and that we aren't supposed to expect him to do much hitting, if any.  We knew he couldn't hit, and that he was going to strike out at an outrageous clip, provide no walks, no steals, and relatively few quality plate appearances.  We didn't necessarily agree with it, but we knew what was coming.

I also know that we're 9 games in to the season, which amounts to 20 plate appearances for Goins, and that probably 18 of them have been utter garbage. Those 20 plate appearances amount to about 60 innings defensively, which certainly haven't been bad, especially given that he can fill in admirably at SS, along with playing a pretty good 2B.

Goins has been getting pinch-hit for late, or has been stuck in to games as a defensive replacement quite a bit so far over the first 9 games (you're looking at the "Inngs" tab to show what innings he's played in each game), so it's not like the Jays aren't already well aware that Goins should be batting is little as possible.

I don't think I've said anything yet that nobody knows, so maybe I'll just say what we're all thinking: send Goins down to the minors, and do it now.

I realize that we're dealing with a really small sample here, but Maicer Izturis seems completely reborn.  I don't expect him to continue slashing .455/.500/.500, but I would expect something a bit closer to his .270/.332/.373 career batting line than what he did last year, even if he is on the decline part of his career.  His fielding should also improve from the -18.5 he put up last year according to Fangraphs.  He's no longer a good player (was he ever good?), but if there's anything that we can draw from a 9 game sample, it's that he's also not the worst player in baseball.  That's a role reserved for Ryan Goins, I guess.

Beyond Izturis, Jonathan Diaz is certainly making the most of his first real look in the bigs.  He's not hitting the cover off the ball, but he's at least not flailing away at everything in sight.  Diaz is definitely a defense-first kind of guy, but he's also walking at a 10% clip.  Again, it's only 19 plate appearances, but (1) walk-rate is one of the first stats to stabilize, at around 120 plate appearances, and (2) Diaz has a career 13.9% walk-rate over 3000+ minor league plate appearances.  I'd say 10% in the bigs is a bit ambitious, but something close to that isn't outrageous.  Goins, to compare, has a 7.8% walk-rate over 2100+ PA's in the minors, and a 2.3% walk-rate over 141 MLB appearances.  Again, walk-rate tends to stabilize around 120 PA's.

Diaz isn't a bad fielder either-- he's playing shortstop, after all, and seems to be doing a reasonable job over a pretty small sample.  Given that, I don't think we're really missing all that much by sending Goins down, are we?  Especially if it's Munenori Kawasaki coming up the other way?  Imagine the standing O's and the walks.

Of all the middle infielders on the big league roster right now, Goins is playing the worst baseball by far.  We're (apparently) about a week shy of having Jose Reyes back, which obviously leaves enough room for two of Izturis, Goins, and Diaz.  Diaz has outplayed Goins badly so far, and I'm sure he's good enough to figure out 2B, especially in a reserve role.  Let Goins figure out how to hit AAA pitching, and if he can't do that, then he certainly shouldn't be in the majors, glove be damned.

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