The State of National League Platooning
From SABR member Christina Kahrl at ESPN.com on June 4:
If the American League has very few stable platoons but a few identifiable platoon players getting work, is the National League any better off? Even with today’s bigger bullpens, the absence of a DH gives NL skippers and GMs a little more freedom to carry a player whose primary value is to platoon, since they have five reserves, so even if one is a catcher and another is someone who can play short, that still leaves space for the odd guy. Say, that journeyman who can knock a situational lefty right out of the box, or who can help put up a crooked number against that tiring right-handed starter in the fifth or sixth inning. And it doesn’t hurt that these kinds of guys are handy for double-switches.
As in the American League, you find a few catching platoons of convenience, in which the backup backstop bats from the other side and conveniently gets his starts on the days the starter needs a rest. The Braves’ setup with Brian McCann and David Ross is the best of the lot, but when Atlanta afforded itself Ross, it did so knowing it was getting more than a platoon player. The Mets’ young/old and lefty/righty combo of Josh Thole and Ronny Paulino has its virtues. Charlie Manuel has the benefit of a slight inversion of the paradigm when Brian Schneider is healthy — a lefty-batting backup is a lot easier to spot when Carlos Ruiz really does need a rest, since most pitching is right-handed — but he’s on the DL.
Stable platoons beyond those behind home plate are surprisingly limited in the Senior Circuit.
Read the full article here: http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/11907/national-league-platooning
Originally published: June 9, 2011. Last Updated: June 9, 2011.