Abraham Almonte is in the Cleveland Indians lineup every day right now because he is a switch hitter. Manager Terry Francona has found a pattern that he likes and it’s working for the team. He is using Rajai Davis, Brandon Guyer and Almonte against left-handed pitching.
Against right-handed pitching, the Tribe rolls out rookie sensation Tyler Naquin, Lonnie Chisenall and Almonte. In fact, the first day Almonte was available after his 80-game suspension, he was in the starting lineup.
The problem here is that Almonte cannot play in the postseason per the rules dealing with his 80 game suspension. As we get closer to September, I for one would like to see the team start playing someone who will be available in the playoffs over Almonte. Key at-bats now could be vital in October.
Don’t get me wrong, Almonte has played well and helped this team win, with a productive slash-line of .267/.290/.406 in 100 at-bats.
Knowing that he will not be available for the playoffs, it is important to take a closer look at the guys that will be.
Lonnie Chisenhall is having an outstanding year at the dish slashing .299/.341/.471 during his 308 trips to the plate. However, only 40 of those 308 at-bats are against left-handed pitching. He is 10-40 with no home runs, but half of those 10 hits have gone for extra bases.
Tyler Naquin has 250 AB’s and although he is putting together a sensational 1st season, batting .308/.366/.576, only 27 of those at-bats are against left-handed pitching.
Brandon Guyer is a platoon hitter when it comes to production. On the season, he’s batting .260/.365/.427. However, in 160 at-bats versus right-handed pitching, he is batting just .213/.291/.331. He is a monster versus left-handed pitching – mashing to the tune of .349/.486/.605 in 86 At-bats.
Then we come to Rajai Davis, productive against both right handed and left handed pitching. He is batting .264/.326/.416 for the year. He has 131 trips to the plate and is hitting .267/.336/.405 versus left-handed pitching, which is the platoon he has been playing mostly since Almonte returned from suspension. He also has 232 at-bats against righties, where he is batting .263/.320/.422.
Davis appears to be the Indians best option as he has a large number of plate appearances against right handed pitching and his numbers are good enough. He had to play in center field against right-handers for the first 80 games of the season when Almonte was suspended. So when does Tribe management start to work him back into that every day role, knowing that he will be playing against right-handers in the playoffs?
I’m not saying the Indians get rid of Almonte as he has definitely contributed to this team’s success. However, I would feel better giving the majority of those at-bats to Davis, a guy who will be playing in that role when the post-season comes.
As you can see in a 3-day Twitter poll, most disagree with my feelings about giving the majority of Almonte’s at-bats back to someone who will be taking them in the post-season. More than likely, I think that guy should be Rajai Davis.