Charlie Manuel frequently makes poor strategic decisions. The 11-million dollar scoreboard in left field would probably do a similar job. We guarantee a post analyzing Manuel's decisions for every Phillies game. Please click on our aliases below to email us.
Friday, October 28, 2011
The Phillies should platoon Howard and Mayberry at first base next season, but obviously this will never happen. It’s more likely that Mayberry will platoon with Domonic Brown, which is unfortunate for the offense (but probably good for the defense).
So, the issue is whether Domonic Brown can hit lefties better than Howard at this point in his career. Looking at Browns minor league splits, Brown consistently has an OBP in the minors over .370 against lefties. Even if Brown regresses significantly against major league lefties, his plate approach (eg, walking more often than Howard) will still provide him as a more valuable offensive player than Howard.
Am I writing Howard off too early? It’s possible. But I’d rather write Howard off slightly early than give up on Brown when he’s 24 years old. Howard will still get the majority of the starts at first base, and he can be a ridiculous pinch-hit option when a RHP is inserted from the bullpen to face Mayberry. Also, when Howard does start and a LOOGY comes in for Howard, you have the antidote (Mayberry) ready to go.
Mayberry can play every day while Howard is injured, and Brown will get the 500 PAs he desperately needs at this level. His defense is obviously shaky, but he clearly has more range than Ibanez.
Obviously Howard will not be platooned in the first year of the outrageous contract, and I'm not convinced Brown will even be on the roster, but it's still a move that Manuel should make.
In 2012, Manuel will have a new regularly-recurring mistake. Instead of complaining about Ibanez batting ahead of Ruiz each game, we will be calling for Brown in the lineup instead of Howard against most lefty starters.