Asking players that hit from both sides of the plate to stop and just focus on the side with better splits is a common refrain. We've heard it about Pedro Florimon and it's something we've heard before about Hicks, too. This time around, Mackey uses Shane Victorino as an example of a time where keeping to one side of the plate works out.
Of course, Victorino will go back to hitting from both sides of the dish when he's healthy in 2014. His success on the grand slam that sent Boston to the World Series is working in an exceptionally small sample size. There's also nothing to say that a player's performance is guaranteed to improve against the opposite-handed pitcher anyway. Hicks has a .742 combined MLB and MiLB OPS as a left-handed hitter versus right-handed pitchers, but how do we know that number gets better simply because he hits lefties better as a right-handed batter?
The answer is: you try it out. Of course if it doesn't work, you've asked a 24-year old to change a hitting approach he's grown up with and he's lost valuable early-career development time. Basically, it's all a crap shoot - unless someone can show me numbers that prove general success for switch hitters who have changed to stay on the side of the plate with the stronger splits.
I like the idea, and because Hicks has a history of the same splits in the minor leagues I'd support him and the coaches if they chose to make a change. It would also constitute an outside-the-Twins-box strategy, which would be exciting in its own way.
Warne: Chavez, Plouffe Platoon
With Brandon's off-season debut with Twinkie Town now on the books, it's also worth noting that he's worth following on Twitter for his #HotTwinsTakes. Here's one I liked from this morning.
If the Twins were more open to platoons, Eric Chavez (.279/.335/.492 v. RHP) and Trevor Plouffe (.300/.371/.455 v. LHP) would have potential— Brandon Warne (@Brandon_Warne) October 21, 2013
If you see my reply you'll note that I doubt whether Eric Chavez would consider playing for the Twins. Chavvy turns 36 in December and those players tend to gravitate towards teams looking for a puzzle piece to help supplement their already talented roster en route to a post-season run. That's not Minnesota until 2015 at the earliest. But, you never know.
Speaking of following Warne on Twitter, all of us here are fairly active there. If you ever want to engage us individually, that's the best way to do it besides here on the site.
I've posted this in the cover, but it's worth popping over to SB Nation Rays' site DRaysBay. Over the last few days I had an email exchange with one of their editors, Daniel, and we bantered back and forth over what it might take for Minnesota and Tampa Bay to make a deal for their ace pitcher.
Long story short: we couldn't find middle ground. He was insisting on including Byron Buxton or Miguel Sano in the deal, and while I was willing to part with a number of our top prospects those two players (and Alex Meyer) were off limits. Be sure to head over and read the full discussion.
I know some people are wishing the Twins would have delayed their decision on Ron Gardenhire so that they'd have a shot at luring Leyland over, but the reality is that Leyland is probably done as a manager in Major League Baseball. He's tired, and it shows: he looks 78, not 68.
Besides, did you notice how he fretted with his bullpen in the ALCS? Can you imagine how unhappy many of his advocates would be if he managed Minnesota's bullpen the same way?
Since taking over the reins of the Tigers in 2006, Leyland has led Detroit to four playoff appearances in eight seasons including two World Series appearances (0-2) and four trips to the ALCS (2-2). This season marked the franchise's third trip to the ALCS in as many years.
For what it's worth, Minnesota was 66-81 versus Leyland's Tigers with .500+ seasons in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
He doesn't like it. And I don't blame him. In the best-case scenario for Minnesota he signs an incentive-laden deal and he's platooned with somebody who can hit left-handed pitching. It doesn't seem feasible, and when you hear what Justin has to say on the topic anyway, it's not like he's glowing at the idea of a return.
Click through and check out his short video on the subject. It doesn't sit well with anyone who's going to be sentimental about the potential or a Twins/Morneau reunion - which means a part of it makes me sad, in a way - but it's a reasoned take and Rand's interests clearly lie with the best interests of the team.
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