Monday, December 28, 2009

Bruntlett and Whitesell

Eric Bruntlett is a good fielder at almost every position on the diamond. That would make him a pretty handy 25th man for some teams.

However, he can't hit at all. Last year, at age 31, he struck out in 24.8% of his plate appearances and walked in just 4.5%. He also had no power whatsoever, hitting just seven doubles and no other extra-base hits in 118 plate appearances.

So, terrible contact hitter + no strike-zone discipline + zero power = totally useless with the bat. Indeed, his .214 wOBA in 2009 would have ranked him #15 in the NL if he was a pitcher. The Nationals aren't a team that can afford to carry guys like this and just never let them hit (see: Cintron, Alex).

That doesn't mean this was a terrible singing. I wouldn't want him on my opening day roster, but if there are injuries and you have to bring him up to function as your utility man, that's not too bad.

But he can't be used as an everyday player under any circumstances, and that's what worries me. If the plan is to use Bruntlett as plan B in the even that Ian Desmond flops or Cristian Guzman misses significant time to injury, that's a recipe for another 100-loss season.

Josh Whitesell gives the Nationals something they don't really have anywhere else above AA: a first baseman. He's also not much with the bat (though he's always been able to take a walk), but you're asking for trouble constantly playing guys out of position as the Nationals have the last two years, including Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham, Paul LoDuca, Ron Belliard and Mike Morse.

Like Bruntlett, Whitesell shouldn't be on the opening day roster, but if the Nationals are forced to reach down to AAA at some point, Whitesell is a guy who can at least contribute by standing next to first base and making the routine plays.


estuartj said...

Whitesell raked in AAA his first year in the Phoenix organization, then struggled his first year seeing time in the bigs. Freshman growing pains or AAAA flame-out?

I'm hoping if he rebounds in Syracuse he can make a viable insurance policy for Marrero and allow the possibility of trading Dunn (To Boston if Ortiz continues to fade?) for value at the deadline.

JayB said...

The Nationals aren't a team that can afford to carry guys like this and just never let them hit (see: Cintron, Alex)....again with the revisionist history Steven....You supported Acta saying it was not his fault and now forget the constant pinch hitting of Cintron by Acta that cost Nats any hope of a rally last year.....Oh that right when you change your tune and revise history it is gray....I get it now.

Elan said...

come on. cintron had 26 at bats last year, and last played on may 19th. i dont think thats "constant." furthermore, i dont remember reading on this blog that every decision acta made was the right one.

JayB said...

Steven is clearly on the record as saying Acta is blameless for the 2009 point was just that Cintron did get get to hit.....time after time before Rizzo key pinch hitting spots....I think he was 0 for 13 at the point he was cut.....this just contributed to the sense of helplessness Acta fostered. Did the same thing with his use of the Bull Pen as well you will recall.....and Milledge in CF and lead-off after he proved all spring he could not do either job.....Jimbo put the team together yes but Acta insisted on managing with no feel for the players he had and constantly put them in the same roles even after they proved they could not do the job. (see Cintron as Pinch Hitter)