August 20, 2007

Where's Wily?

It certainly was an eventful weekend for Wily Mo. He went from the being the short half of a leftfield platoon with Ryan Church to being the starting leftfielder (last time I checked Orlando Hernandez is not left-handed) to being the starting rightfielder. All while putting up a .286/.444/.857! line in his first two games and notching his first Nationals homerun.

To make this work Austin Kearns becomes our new centerfielder, and Ryan Church, after what amounts to two days off, is starting in leftfield again. Finally, after all that, Nook Logan ends up where he always should have been. On the bench as a 4th OF/pinch runner/defensive sub. That's the theory anyway. Will it hold up?

Wily Mo has played more games in rightfield than left or center, but the stats suggest, contrary to what you'd expect, that he's a slightly better defensive centerfielder. Of course, that doesn't factor in the particular challenges of playing center in RFK, at least for 17 more games. For his part, Austin Kearns has logged 60 career games in CF (compared to 578 in right) and grades out as an above average centerfielder.

Given that Church-Kearns-Pena is undeniably the best offensive outfield the team has had all season, it's probably the best use of available defensive resources as well. Playing from center Kearns should be able to compensate for at least a little of Pena's lack of range in right. There will undoubtedly be times when we'll miss Logan's ability to track down a fly ball in the gap, and probably also times when we'll miss Kearns' jump and arm in right. But if the goal is to squeeze some much needed offense out of the outfield, this is probably the best way to go about it.

Wily Mo's arrival set in motion a chain of events that included the designation for assignment of OF Ryan Langerhans, erstwhile focus of the nascent LANGERHANSCENDENTALIST! movement. I freely admit that this campaign was either ahead of, or way, way behind its time. Still, I hope that if Ryan clears waivers he consents to a trip down to Columbus where he can play every day, work on straightening out his swing, and give himself a shot at playing his way back into the Nationals plans. If nothing else I know that I prefer my 4th outfielder/defensive sub to have a little pop in his bat.

UP NEXT: Jesus Saves... the crumbling bullpen or Get Carter?

1 comment:

Watson said...