The Lefty/Lefty Platoon

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One of the many early story lines this year is Langerhans getting more of the starts than Saunders. The “release Saunders” cry has started getting louder with each at bat that he puts together that looks half way decent. Why not he’s still young and has shown promise to be an above average corner out fielder for the Mariners.

The problem I see with Saunders is that Wedge still starts him against left handed pitching and that should be a huge no-no at this stage.  While Saunders numbers still count as a sample size it’s such a sample that it’s obvious enough one that point to Saunders still struggling with left handed pitching.

I think Wedge should be protecting Saunders for the time being and using Langerhans as the preferred choice against left handed pitching.

Saunders, who again went 0-3 with a strike out last night against left hander Bruce Chen, is now 3-14 against left handers with 0 BB and 4 SOs. He has put together some line drives against left handers and it’s not that I don’t think he can hit against left handers. I believe he will… eventually.  But, there is a need to get to string together some hits and gain confidence at the plate. Otherwise there is the potential for hurting Saunders mentally.

I know in the blogging community we don’t talk too much about the personal side or mental side of baseball. But it exists and as has been pointed out, numerous times, it would be silly not to consider. However, I don’t know Michael personally and I certainly don’t know how he taken the last couple of years struggling at the big leagues. But I have to believe that there is a breaking point where frustrating and pressing all come to the surface. Using Langerhans to help reduce that possibility just makes sense.

Saunders is sporting a .222 BABIP with LD% slightly north of 21%. He is work counts (4.28 P/PA) and he isn’t swinging at too much junk outside the strike zone (oSwing% of 25%, 2% below league average). Saunders is doing the right things and eventually everything is going to come together into what looks to be a possibly great summer.

Langerhans has proven (RHP .711 OPS vs.  LHP .714 OPS) over the last few years to be handle left handed pitching. I believe that Langerhan’s still an under rated player and could be a average center fielder for a team that needs one. But, while Langerhans has the hot bat of late, I agree Saunders needs more playing time than what he’s been given.

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