Monday, January 4, 2010

Platoon Team Success and Inconsistency

After all this talk about the Mets platooning Murphy at first with whomever, it got me thinking about the recent success of teams who platoon players.

Last year none of the playoff teams had a true platoon situation at any position. The only debatable situations were Colorado in the outfield, which was more of a hot hand rotation of outfielders, and Minnesota/St. Louis at third base (in these it was more a position of flux because they used multiple players only when Crede got hurt and before the acquisition of DeRosa, respectively.) The Yankees do not count because they were not a true platoon situation, mainly because all of their outfielders/DHs were lefties.

Over the last decade of Word Series winners three of the ten teams to win the series have featured platoons. The 2006 St. Louis Cardinals (Wilson, Encarnacion, Duncan & Schumaker) and the 1999 & 2000 Yankees (Spencer & Ledee) teams featured platoon starters on their rosters.

I don't think this discredits the validity of starting a platoon situation at a position, but, I do think it lends itself to an interesting thought. The one thing most championship teams have is consistency. Consistency is always the most important aspect of a baseball team. Winning teams have consistency, whether through the output of platoon players or the consistent output of mediocre starters.

So, did Murphy's inconsistancy last year come from his own inconsistent play, or his moving around from second (in fall league) to left field to first base? Did it hurt him when he was moved all around in a line up that was full of inconsistencies? I think these questions were probably the bigger issues that affected Murphy's play.

So, if I were Omar I would keep some consistency and let Murphy be your first baseman again this year. Then if he fails you can move him to the bench or a platoon. But I think young players deserve the opportunity to struggle and learn how to play and, in my opinion, platoon situations do not offer them the consistency they need to show their worth on the major league level.

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