In researching yet another aspect of the Dodgers’ ineptitude Eric Stephen of True Blue LA stumbled across an interesting stat about the Giants, noting that San Francisco catchers have hit just .222 with a .647 OPS since Buster Posey’s season-ending ankle injury.
At the time of the injury Posey was hitting .284 with a .756 OPS and he batted .305 with an .862 OPS in winning Rookie of the Year honors last season, so the dropoff behind the plate has been massive.
Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart have split time pretty evenly in Posey’s absence, with Whiteside starting 29 times compared to 20 starts by Stewart.
Over the weekend the Giants promoted a third catcher, Hector Sanchez, but the 21-year-old prospect hasn’t started a game yet and isn’t expected to see much action despite hitting .302 with an .802 OPS in 67 games between Single-A and Double-A. Sanchez has terrible plate discipline and a grand total of 25 career games above Single-A, so odds are he’d be overmatched right now anyway, but if the Giants felt it was worth calling him up why not give him a shot instead of the .222-hitting veteran duo?
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.