I'm not the biggest fan of the Paulino-Barmes exchange. But now that the Astros have Clint Barmes, I'm more than willing to think about ways to maximize his productivity. The biggest question mark about Barmes is determining how well his Coors Field splits will translate outside of the Rockies organization. As Yogi might say, you never know for sure until we find out. Barmes platoon splits are another matter of interest.
Barmes Platoon Split
vs. LHP: .285, .333, .487, .820
vs. RHP: .243, 288, .374, .663
vs. LHP. .280, .340, .408, .748
vs. RHP. .214, .287, .324, .612
If the Astros can figure out a way to get overall performance from Barmes similar to his work against LHP, Barmes would be a nice addition to the lineup. And Barmes struggles against RHPs.. Barmes' batting average and OBP against RHP in 2010 is especially poor. So the obvious solution is to find a platoon partner for Barmes at shortstop. Tommy Manzella's platoon splits were similarly tilted toward LHPs. But maybe Angel Sanchez could split time with Barmes, taking some of the starts against RHBs. Sanchez isn't a LHB, but he did enjoy more relative success against RHPs last year.
Angel Sanchez Platoon Split, 2010
vs. LHP .284, .321, .311, ..631
vs. RHP .274, .309, .358, .666
Sanchez posted a better OPS against RHP in 2010. However, the sample size isn't big enough to draw definitive conclusions. But, given that Sanchez was a rookie in 2010, this is all the information we have on his major league splits. This isn't the most impressive case for a platoon arrangement. But I wouldn't be surprised if Sanchez draws some of the starting assignments against RHP if Barmes has trouble with RHPs early in the season. We know that Brad Mills pays attention to platoon splits when he sets the lineup.
More on Rule 5 Draft Ideas
Last week I wrote about some interesting ideas for Astros' selections in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft. I focused on utility infielders and relievers, thinking that they could be more useful to the Astros right now. I also said that I would give you an update if I come across other names which seem like an intriguing fit. We're starting to see a few more articles on the subject.
Marquez Smith, 3d Base, Cubs
Fangraphs mentioned that Baseball America had produced its own Rule 5 draft review, and then linked to a previous Fangraphs article on minor league 3d baseman Marquez Smith, who is now exposed to the Rule 5 draft. 25 year old Smith, playing for the Cubs' AAA Iowa team, was identified previously as one of five noteworthy AAA players with very good Minor League Equivalent (MLE) projections based on the ZIPS system. In AAA, Smith had a wOBA of .412 and a .958 OPS in 342 plate appearances. The ZIPS MLE line for Smith: 341 PA, .278/.340/.502 (.317 BABIP), .366 wOBA. An MLE projected slugging % above .502? This guy's MLE runs in the company of top prospects like Carlos Santana. And he played in Iowa--not the high elevations of the Rocky Mountains. Smith also appears to be a very good fielder at 3d base, with Total Zone showing +15 in 2008 and +22 in 2009.
OK, sign me up for that draft idea. Smith could be a back up at both corner infield positions. In the event that Chris Johnson suffers a decline next season, Smith could provide insurance. And, at age 25, he is still young.
Chad Tracy, LF, Rangers
Or, how about Texas Rangers' left fielder Chad Tracy? If Carlos Lee were to turn into a full time first baseman (meaning that Wallace ends up in AAA), Tracy perhaps could be a platoon partner in LF with Bogusevic. Or maybe just a candidate for No. 5 outfielder. 25 year old Tracy's line in AAA Oklahoma City last year:.264, .351, .504, .855. He hit 17 HRs last year and 26 HRs in AA Frisco in 2009. He has consistently put up an OPS in the .800's in his minor league career.
Deunte Heath, RP, White Sox
Another interesting bullpen possibility, 25 year old righthand pitcher Deunte Heath, a former Braves' prospect who pitched for the White Sox AA team last year. The White Sox shifted him from starter to reliever and he put up 13.1 K/9. That is a K rate in excess of 33%
In case you're interested, Bucs Dugout has a nice discussion of the Baseball America Rule 5 review..