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Is Mike Carp a platoon candidate?


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#1
Lonnie

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Ok, I asked Jeff Sullivan about Mike Carp being a forgotten man, and one of the reasons I stated that is because nearly everyone wants to either platoon him or put him in as a DH because he is "horrendous" on defense.

Chris Crawford over at ProspectInsider.com writes that Carp will likely be the starter in LF, but only against right-handed pitching. Now, I like Chris and I am sure that he has his reasons for thinking that a platoon is needed in LF against left-handed pitching, but I'm not sold. His stats from last year just do not support this line of thinking.

Mostly...

Against lefties Carp put up a slashline of .306/.342/.542 for a very robust .884 OPS and an isolated power number of .236. Carp had a batting eye (BB/K) of 0.24, which I acknowledge as pretty bad (0.50 is baseline acceptable at the MLB level, which equates to 2 K's per BB). This was accomplished in 72 plate appearances, so the dreaded SSS comes into play (Small Sample Size).

Using the Geoff Baker Matrix (20% or less K's, 10% or more BB's), Carp works out to be 22.37% K-Rate, and a BB-Rate of 5.26%. The K's are reasonable, but that walk rate is putrid (4 walks in 76 PA's).

Against righties Carp put up a .266/.321/.440 for an OPS of .761... Wait... THAT really seems backwards! How about the rest? ISO was still a rather diminished .174, and his batting eye was .234, which is close enough to call it a draw compared to what he does against lefites. The GBM (Geoff Baker Matrix) has him as striking out at a 27% clip and walking at 6.33% of his plate appearances. Carp does a better job of walking against righties, but strikesout at a significantly higher rate.

So, this is what he did at the plate in 2011. Does he show a reverse split in his years prior?

In 2010 Carp had a mere 9 plate appearances against lefites, so we are talking about a micro sized sample. Just looking at his slashline, Carp put together a .222/.222/.333 line for an OPS of .555. Against righties Carp had a whopping 32 plate appearances and a line of .179/.281/.214 and an OPS of .495

2009 saw Carp make his debut at the MLB level. During this, his initial exposure to MLB pitching, Carp put together a nice slashline against lefties, but again in was a very small sample (9 plate appearances). His line of .286/.444/.286 for an OPS of .730. Against righties his line of .319/.411/.489 for an OPS of .900 looks more like what we might expect from the big lefty.

I guess what everyone wants to know now is whether Carp put up reverse splits in the minor leagues now. Jeez, you people are so demanding!

2010, AAA Tacoma
VS lefties, 124 PA's
.200/.266/.324 OPS = .590, EYE = 0.48, K% = 20.16%, BB% = 9.67%
VS righties, 373 PA's
.266/.341/.544 OPS = .895, EYE = 0.36, K% = 20.37%, BB% = 8.79%

2009, AAA Tacoma
VS lefties, 164 PA's
.275/.348/.423 OPS = .771, EYE = 0.43, K% = 22.56%, BB% = 9.76%
VS righties, 323 PA's
.272/.371/.463 OPS = .834, EYE = 0.71, K% = 18.27%, BB% = 13.0%

Alrighty, I don't think that it does any good to go beyond 2009. Prior to the 2009 season Mike Carp was a completely different hitter. In fact, it could be said that the changes that Carp made in his offensive approach begun with the 2009 season and started to bear fruit in the 2010. Regardless, I'm not seeing any sort of reverse split.

So, what is with the wierd reverse split for Carp in 2011? Is this an attribute of his evolving offensive approach? Something that a lot of us have noticed over the course of the last two years is that Carp's bat speed has increased. It almost seems like Carp's internal timing is just off a tick or two and he needs to be a bit more patient when he comes up against righties.

I really don't anything to support my internal clock hypothysis. Looking at his groundball (GB), flyball (FB), linedrive (LD) split rates doesn't really show a lot other than he hits more linedrives off of righties (you would expect that) and hits more flyballs against lefties.

Regardless of the reason, there was definately something different about Carp in 2011 when he faced righties as opposed to lefties. Do the numbers support the need to platoon Carp? Maybe. The real question is are the Mariners willing to let Carp get 150 PA's against righties to work his problem out?

What do you folks think?

Lonnie
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#2
Huindekmi

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I think he'll be a platoon player, but not a strict L/R platoon and not to limit his playing time against lefties. It's all about getting playing time for everyone.

- Carp and Wells will split time in LF
- Wells and Guti will split time in CF
- Carp will give Smoak the occasional break at 1B
- Carp will get some playing time at DH when Montero catches
- Wells will also give Ichiro the occasional day off

The goal is to play Carp, Wells and Guti around 70-80% of the time, Montero and Smoak around 80-90% of the time, and cut Olivo back to around 40-50% of the starts. All of this is performance dependent, of course. Play well, get more time. Play poorly, get less.

It's a good problem to have.
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#3
garbonzo

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I think he'll be a platoon player, but not a strict L/R platoon and not to limit his playing time against lefties. It's all about getting playing time for everyone.

- Carp and Wells will split time in LF
- Wells and Guti will split time in CF
- Carp will give Smoak the occasional break at 1B
- Carp will get some playing time at DH when Montero catches
- Wells will also give Ichiro the occasional day off

The goal is to play Carp, Wells and Guti around 70-80% of the time, Montero and Smoak around 80-90% of the time, and cut Olivo back to around 40-50% of the starts. All of this is performance dependent, of course. Play well, get more time. Play poorly, get less.

It's a good problem to have.


I sure hope it's the way you have it mapped out here. Not having a Jack Cust on the team really allows Wedge to get creative with the DH position. I just hope a couple of bad games behind the plate doesn't convert Montero into an every day DH.

And Lonnie, to answer your question, Mike Carp was the best all-around power bat the M's had last season. You don't want to limit his plate appearances if you have a place for him in the lineup. Especially for an offense as anemic as this one.
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#4
xarmyguy78

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The goal is to play Carp, Wells and Guti around 70-80% of the time, Montero and Smoak around 80-90% of the time, and cut Olivo back to around 40-50% of the starts. All of this is performance dependent, of course. Play well, get more time. Play poorly, get less.

I think this is some intense wishful thinking and is not going to happen,
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#5
DocMilo

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- Carp and Wells will split time in LF
- Wells and Guti will split time in CF
- Carp will give Smoak the occasional break at 1B
- Carp will get some playing time at DH when Montero catches
- Wells will also give Ichiro the occasional day off

The goal is to play Carp, Wells and Guti around 70-80% of the time, Montero and Smoak around 80-90% of the time, and cut Olivo back to around 40-50% of the starts. All of this is performance dependent, of course. Play well, get more time. Play poorly, get less.

It's a good problem to have.

Wells could give Ichiro many days off. If Carp, Wells and Montero are mashing, it's going to be hard to keep them out of the lineup. I've been eyeing Wells as the RF replacement for Ichiro since the M's first picked him up. I'm pretty sure he came up as a pitcher, so he should have adequate arm to play RF in Safeco.

Edited by DocMilo, 06 February 2012 - 04:57 PM.

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#6
Baseballfan

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Lonnie, nice topic. Carp is intriguing from several angles. He was a guy a lot of people were initially excited about when he came over from the Mets. That excitement was subsequently tempered by the reality of his performance. The guy could get on base and might hit for a good average, but didn't have the power you want from a generally below average glove at 1B.

Last year (really the last couple years), he added a new trick to the bag. Suddenly he's hitting for power, but the K's are piling up and the BB's have dropped off. While many are just looking at the stats and pronouncing a judgment on his MLB career path as a back-up or platoon player with limited potential. At the moment, my untrained eye is seeing something else. A player that's still changing and evolving. I don't think it's an absolute given that his walk and strikeout rates are carved in stone at this point. He might have to dial back the power a little, but he's now played with both sides of his game. The reduced power high OBP & average approach, and the high power low OBP approach. I suspect he may just keep evolving toward some medium between the two extremes he's shown thus far. That final player outcome ranges from a fringe/platoon player to a very solid everyday regular MLB hitter. Limiting and labeling Carp at this point seems just a tad bit premature. Give him another year to grow and evolve before deciding exactly what he is.
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#7
Vidya

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I think this is some intense wishful thinking and is not going to happen,

I disagree. Olivo seems destined to be a back-up in 2012 to me, and a FA in 2013. Montero will be given every opportunity, Jaso will get a lot of starts, and I expect Moore to rebound enough at Tacoma to force Zduriencik to trade Olivo to the first team with an injured catcher this season.
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My 2014 AAP's:
James Jones, Rainiers outfielder extraordinaire.

Ji-Man Choi, Rainiers slugging first baseman.

Carson Smith, Rainiers bullpen.


#8
DocMilo

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I disagree. Olivo seems destined to be a back-up in 2012 to me, and a FA in 2013. Montero will be given every opportunity, Jaso will get a lot of starts, and I expect Moore to rebound enough at Tacoma to force Zduriencik to trade Olivo to the first team with an injured catcher this season.

:cpoint:

Not to change the subject, but does Moore have an option left?
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#9
Toomany10pins

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I think you have to have his power bat in the line-up just about everyday.
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#10
Sandy - Raleigh

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The question I suspect is more important on platooning is ... is it time to consider Ichiro as a platoon bat?

For career:

vs RHP: .322/.368/.420 (.788)
vs LHP: .335/.376/.424 (.800)

2008:

vs RHP: .320/.373/.404 (.777)
vs LHP: .288/.332/.346 (678)

2010:

vs RHP: .318/.369/.420 (.789)
vs LHP: .309/.340/.343 (.684)

2011:

vs RHP: .268/.304/.340 (.644)
vs LHP: .281/.325/.323 (.648)

The 2008 season was the first where Ichiro really started to show a platoon skew. He bounced back in 2009, but the problem arose again in 2010. Of course, last season he was miserable against all pitching.

He hasn't hit .700 against lefties in 3 of the past 4 seasons. As many HoF level players do, Ichiro has been adjusting as he ages. IMHO, I think he's at the stage now where he (and the team) might be better served sitting him against most lefties, (giving him extra time off), and also simplifying his adjustments. Many would like to see him rebound. It's possible he could repeat his 2010 lines. But, what if he repeated his 2010 line against RHP, and you reduced his ABs against lefties from 243 to 80-100. His aggregate line would jump even higher.

Additionally, since he hasn't broken .700 in 3 of the past 4 years against LHP, (despite having a career line slightly higher against them), this would give Wedge an extra portal to squeeze some PT into the lineup for some of the RH players that previously has been completely off limits. You could actually play Guti and Casper together some to get a feel for the potential defensive dynamic should both work out offensively.

In truth, such a move seems pie-in-the-sky to me. But, I would certainly suggest keeping a close eye on Ichiro's platoon split this season.
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#11
Vidya

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:cpoint:

Not to change the subject, but does Moore have an option left?

Good question. I wish I had an answer.
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My 2014 AAP's:
James Jones, Rainiers outfielder extraordinaire.

Ji-Man Choi, Rainiers slugging first baseman.

Carson Smith, Rainiers bullpen.


#12
MtGrizzly

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Good question. I wish I had an answer.


Per Curto:

Adam Moore: Moore, once one of the top prospects in the Mariners system, missed the entire 2011 season after severely injuring his knee in his second game of the season. Hes healthy now he caught in the Arizona Fall League in November, and is on track for spring training. Look for Moore to get regular reps behind the plate in Tacoma, as he attempts to get his career moving forward once again.


Curto

It's not definitive but he's closer than we are.
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#13
Die hard M's fan

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Carp appears to be a leader in Arizona.

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I worry about his emotional readiness for the season.

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Edited by Lonnie, 12 February 2012 - 12:53 PM.
Edited to scale down the image

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#14
DaddyO

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The whole T-shirt thing is a terrific gesture by Carp (due credit given to the minor leaguer who thought it up).
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#15
DocMilo

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MLBTraderumors has a page

:cpoint:

Not to change the subject, but does Moore have an option left?

I guess this isn't off topic since Mike Carp makes this list. MLBTraderumors has a page up with the list of all players by team that are out of options.

Here is the M's list:

Mariners

Mike Carp, Cesar Jimenez, Brendan Ryan, Jason Vargas


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#16
Vidya

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Except for Cesar there is not a problem here. Some may even add that losing Cesar is not a problem. I'm not one of those people. I really like his bat at Tacoma and hope he accepts a minor league contract with the Mariners.
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My 2014 AAP's:
James Jones, Rainiers outfielder extraordinaire.

Ji-Man Choi, Rainiers slugging first baseman.

Carson Smith, Rainiers bullpen.





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