Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 8, 2004
BASEBALL: Curtains for Raffy?

David Pinto asks whether it's time for Rafael Palmeiro to hang it up. I wondered a month ago whether the sudden spike in Palmeiro's walk rate, combined with a drop in his power numbers, spelled trouble; since then, the bottom has dropped out, with Palmeiro batting .194/.347/.291 in June and July.

But a closer look at the numbers suggests the real problem: like a lot of older players, Palmeiro needs to be platooned. This season, he's batting .159/.261/.230 against lefthanded pitching, while keeping a healthy .279/.468/.402 clip against righthanders. Plus, Palmeiro has played nearly every game (80 out of 82) for the Orioles, a wearying grind for a 39-year-old player; sitting him against lefties would undoubtedly give him a needed breather. Granted, Palmeiro hasn't had big platoon splits in the past, but age does funny things to hitters. Platooning added years to the careers of guys like Harold Baines, Lou Whitaker and George Brett, and it could help the O's squeeze another productive season or so out of Palmeiro.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:57 PM | Baseball 2004 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Nice analysis. Even The Great And Powerful Barry is showing a noticeable platoon split these days (though the contrast is between "scary" and "F***ing insane" instead of good/bad. Time to let Palmiero dump the ABs against the lefties and give him one more nice season to top off his HOF argument.

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at July 9, 2004 3:22 AM

What you say sounds sensible. Surely the team should have anticipated this.

How many games does a 'trend' have to last before you are confident it isn't just random noise?

Posted by: John Doe at July 10, 2004 5:10 AM
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