Friday, August 26, 2011

What in the world...

Courtesy of Steve Campbell, we read about Mills' logic in using Angel Sanchez as a pinch-hitter against the Rockies instead of J.D. Martinez:

"If there was a man on first, (Martinez) was going to hit. If somebody was in scoring position, it was going to be Sanchez. J.D. just hasn’t pinch-hit here at the major league level. Putting him in that role, expecting him to get a hit, I don’t know if that’s really fair. Sanchez has done a really good job getting some big pinch hits for us."

This makes not one bit of sense to me. First of all, as a pinch-hitter in 2011, Sanchez is 8x29 with no extra-base hits, and a .276/.344/.276 line. With a runner on 2nd, Sanchez - in 35 PAs - has six hits (one homer), and a .207/.303/.310 line. In the last 28 days, Sanchez is also 5x23 with no extra-base hits. In fact, it's been 72 plate appearances since Sanchez has gotten an extra-base hit, and he has three hits since July 30 (23 PAs).

J.D. Martinez, in the lat 28 days, is hitting .308/.347/.582. No, he doesn't have the "pinch-hitting experience" (whatever the hell that means) - in his only pinch-hit appearance, he ripped an RBI double. Moreover, Martinez has a .440/.483/.960 line with RISP. Is it a small sample size? Of course. But Sanchez is in the same boat.

I'm curious about these "big pinch-hits" that Sanchez has picked up for the Astros. We can debate the merits of the RBI another time, but that can only be what I assume Mills means. He had an RBI single as a pinch-hitter in Game 85 against the Red Sox. And one against the Pirates on May 8. So that's two games where Sanchez drove in a run as a pinch-hitter, and he's only gone on to score three times as a pinch-hitter.

If you want Martinez to get the experience where he could provide a bat off the bench in the (ideally) rare case that he isn't in the lineup, maybe when you're 40 games under .500 is a good place to gather that experience.