Reader email: Moss/Freiman, Donaldson, and Weeks
Back on June 3rd (it slipped past me -- my fault), reader Dave emailed:
I don't have a lot of insight on Moss v. L against Freiman v. R. Platoon splits take such a long time to stabilize that we're essentially always in the world of scouting, and I think the angle at which baseball is televised can make lefties look more hopeless against lefty pitching than they might actually be. One issue that question raises: what does forcing (or "forcing") the other manager to go with a lefty do for the rest of the lineup/game? That is, suppose Freiman vs. a righty actually is a slightly better matchup in general -- do the A's gain some value from having a lefty in, or from having the next righty in after the one-batter lefty faces his guy, such that you're willing to take that hit?
Donaldson was never really a big prospect. My understanding at the time was that he was sort of a throw-in in the Rich Harden trade, a guy who would hopefully be a backup catcher with some stick, but nothing special. That he's played as a top-ten player in the league so far is a total shock, but it's also one where unsustainability doesn't immediately jump out -- his BABIP isn't .450 or anything, and his plate discipline has improved significantly to my eyes and by the numbers to the point where I don't think pitchers are going to start throwing him all junk outside the zone to get him out. He seems capable of laying off those pitches now.
It's probably unreasonable to expect him to finish in "could get MVP votes" territory, but I've significantly raised my expectations of him from "he'll regress to below average but marginally playable" to "he'll regress and be a nice average or slightly above-average player, well worth his small salary."
Weeks definitely seems to be on the outs, though it doesn't help that even in the PCL, he's got a slugging percentage of .371. He's got to do something to make pitchers afraid of him or else they'll just lay stuff right down the middle and shrug their shoulders when he bloops a single now and again. I also think that he might have some issues behind the scenes, even beyond the quotes when he was sent down last year, quotes that I frankly found pretty innocuous. He clearly believes in himself -- what pro athlete doesn't? But it's entirely possible that he's not presenting the sort of makeup/attitude/effort that a team with a middle-infield logjam wants to see.
If Eric Sogard were to get hurt, I think there's a decent chance we'd see Weeks just because the other options can't hit left-handed, but if Rosales gets hurt, I suspect Weeks is third on the list, behind Nakajima and Green (in some order, though I can't hazard a guess as to which order that is). I guess there's still Andy Parrino, but I don't know if I expect him to even survive the year on the 40-man, much less get another call-up.
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