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Opening day SS?

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Posted: 03/21/2013 3:20 PM

Opening day SS? 


The A's assured Nakajima he'd be the starting SS before spring training started, after the trade for Lowrie. But Nakajima has looked awful this spring, both at the plate and in the field.

Look over at 2b and the utility spots, you've got Weeks, Sogard, Parrino, and Rosales all looking tuned in. I think if I ran this team, I'd probably ask Nakajima to start out in AAA until he gets his timing. No way would he be starting at SS over Lowrie if the season started today.

    Who would you have at SS if the season started today?

  1. Poll closed on 03/28/2013
  2. Lowrie: 29 votes
  3. Nakajima: 10 votes
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Posted: 03/21/2013 3:37 PM

RE: Opening day SS? 


I'm going with Nakajima. He deserves a shot - we invested in him based on his performance at SS. Lowrie is more versatile, he's going to get his games. I don 't see this as an either-or...both can be in the lineup, but I start Hiro out where he's comfortable.
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Posted: 03/21/2013 3:47 PM

RE: Opening day SS? 



BigJ7489 wrote: I'm going with Nakajima. He deserves a shot - we invested in him based on his performance at SS. Lowrie is more versatile, he's going to get his games. I don 't see this as an either-or...both can be in the lineup, but I start Hiro out where he's comfortable.
So do you actually think he's the best option at SS, or is it an issue of money or promises?

If he can't hit these guys he's facing in spring training, I have a hard time imagining everything clicking for him all of a sudden when the games count. It's not about the stats as much as it is that the stats seem to be telling the truth of how he's played so far.

Hopefully he can get his timing and start hitting the ball, but Lowrie is already looking locked in and has already established himself as a quality major league player. We gave up a lot to get him as well. Hard to make a good argument for Nakajima vs Lowrie as it stands today.

I think Weeks is securing the job at 2b, and he's not a utility guy, so I expect him to start. Donaldson is the starting 3b. How would you get both guys in the lineup? Or would you start Nakajima at SS and Lowrie on the bench? Weeks to AAA?
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Posted: 03/21/2013 4:12 PM

Re: Opening day SS? 


Nakajima deserves a chance to start the season.  The A's signed him to be there starting SS and I can't see his bad spring changing that.  I do think the A's will have a short leash with him.  A few bad weeks could see him on the bench and Lowrie starting.  

If Nakajima does get exposed a not a major league quality SS, what do we do with him?  Just release him?
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Posted: 03/21/2013 4:53 PM

Re: Opening day SS? 


I don't think he deserves a chance based off of the idea that he was signed to be a SS. If he is signed and found to stink, which it appears he does, then put him in AAA and tell him not to stink and he'll get a chance at the MLB level.

The games at the beginning of the season count and I'd rather not lose those games based off of a AA player getting regular PT at SS until it's totally clear to everyone alive that the guy isn't the answer at SS. If he's not the answer, let us discover that at AAA where we'll say, "hmm...too bad that didn't work out" instead of at the MLB level where we'll say, "grumble grumble..." now we're 4 games out.
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Posted: 03/21/2013 5:15 PM

Re: Opening day SS? 


I stand by original post(s)...a month at most but I'm warming to the idea of a ton less then that

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Posted: 03/21/2013 5:18 PM

Re: Opening day SS? 



ericwantsbbd wrote: I don't think he deserves a chance based off of the idea that he was signed to be a SS. If he is signed and found to stink, which it appears he does, then put him in AAA and tell him not to stink and he'll get a chance at the MLB level.
Is that possible? He'd have to pass waivers first, if I understand things correctly. I guess if we try to pass him through waivers  and he gets picked up, at least we'd be off the hook for the contract, right?

Last edited 03/21/2013 5:19 PM by smokednoak

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Posted: 03/21/2013 5:39 PM

Re: Opening day SS? 


If the guy can't play, and he is picked up through waivers, meh.

I assume people smarter than I would be able to make that choice but Melvin has not been glowing which is what is said this time of year. Glowing comments.
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Posted: 03/21/2013 5:50 PM

RE: Opening day SS? 



BanditoB wrote:
BigJ7489 wrote: I'm going with Nakajima. He deserves a shot - we invested in him based on his performance at SS. Lowrie is more versatile, he's going to get his games. I don 't see this as an either-or...both can be in the lineup, but I start Hiro out where he's comfortable.
So do you actually think he's the best option at SS, or is it an issue of money or promises?

If he can't hit these guys he's facing in spring training, I have a hard time imagining everything clicking for him all of a sudden when the games count. It's not about the stats as much as it is that the stats seem to be telling the truth of how he's played so far.

Hopefully he can get his timing and start hitting the ball, but Lowrie is already looking locked in and has already established himself as a quality major league player. We gave up a lot to get him as well. Hard to make a good argument for Nakajima vs Lowrie as it stands today.

I think Weeks is securing the job at 2b, and he's not a utility guy, so I expect him to start. Donaldson is the starting 3b. How would you get both guys in the lineup? Or would you start Nakajima at SS and Lowrie on the bench? Weeks to AAA?
The idea isn't that he'll be a completely different player once they're in real games, but that he's bound to get better as he acclimates on and off the field.  His learning curve might begin to level off the last week of the spring, with the A's, or in Sacramento.  The risk with sending him to AAA is that there could be miscommunication between management and the player, leading to his not handling the demotion well.  On the other hand, he might not get the playing time needed to improve in Oakland if he's not good enough to play at least part-time.  There's a potential tradeoff between making the A's worse in the short run and ruining any chance of Nakajima's becoming a productive player over the length of his contract, like the Nishioka with the Twins. 

How much worse would the A's be starting the season with a Hiro/Lowrie tandem up the middle vs., say, Lowrie/Weeks?  I'm not sure -- I haven't seen any footage of Nakajima in Spring Training games.  I still kind of like the idea of playing Lowrie 40% or so at each of SS and 2B to begin the year.  Melvin likes switching up lineups with a deep bench, so let him have at it.
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Posted: 03/21/2013 6:14 PM

RE: Opening day SS? 



Qwerty75 wrote:
BanditoB wrote:
BigJ7489 wrote: I'm going with Nakajima. He deserves a shot - we invested in him based on his performance at SS. Lowrie is more versatile, he's going to get his games. I don 't see this as an either-or...both can be in the lineup, but I start Hiro out where he's comfortable.
So do you actually think he's the best option at SS, or is it an issue of money or promises?

If he can't hit these guys he's facing in spring training, I have a hard time imagining everything clicking for him all of a sudden when the games count. It's not about the stats as much as it is that the stats seem to be telling the truth of how he's played so far.

Hopefully he can get his timing and start hitting the ball, but Lowrie is already looking locked in and has already established himself as a quality major league player. We gave up a lot to get him as well. Hard to make a good argument for Nakajima vs Lowrie as it stands today.

I think Weeks is securing the job at 2b, and he's not a utility guy, so I expect him to start. Donaldson is the starting 3b. How would you get both guys in the lineup? Or would you start Nakajima at SS and Lowrie on the bench? Weeks to AAA?
The idea isn't that he'll be a completely different player once they're in real games, but that he's bound to get better as he acclimates on and off the field.  His learning curve might begin to level off the last week of the spring, with the A's, or in Sacramento.  The risk with sending him to AAA is that there could be miscommunication between management and the player, leading to his not handling the demotion well.  On the other hand, he might not get the playing time needed to improve in Oakland if he's not good enough to play at least part-time.  There's a potential tradeoff between making the A's worse in the short run and ruining any chance of Nakajima's becoming a productive player over the length of his contract, like the Nishioka with the Twins. 

How much worse would the A's be starting the season with a Hiro/Lowrie tandem up the middle vs., say, Lowrie/Weeks?  I'm not sure -- I haven't seen any footage of Nakajima in Spring Training games.  I still kind of like the idea of playing Lowrie 40% or so at each of SS and 2B to begin the year.  Melvin likes switching up lineups with a deep bench, so let him have at it.
Why not let him get acclimated at AAA first, is all I'm saying. If he's as good as advertised, he should start showing it in the PCL in short time.

We're a contender, and like somebody else said, the games in April count. Why would we blindly roll with an unproven player if he's looking outmatched in spring training? We are not the Astros.

You've got a proven major leaguer in Lowrie who is outplaying Nakajima by all accounts. If anybody "deserves" the job, it's Lowrie.

As far as Hiro/Lowrie vs Lowrie/Weeks...I'd much rather roll with Lowrie/Weeks right now. Weeks is a young player with a nice pedigree who has had success in the major leagues, and he has played well this spring. Even if both ended up equally bad with the bat and glove, Weeks has the speed to fall back on, which adds a nice element to our lineup. But I see Weeks as a good hitter as well, and if Nakajima is he definitely hasn't looked the part so far.

And as far as Nakajima and potentially "ruining his career"...I don't think that's any more likely if he starts the season in AAA. If you start him in the majors with the mechanical issues he's having right now, his confidence could get shattered in short time. IMO I think waiting for him to get on a roll in AAA before calling him up would likely work out in his favor. And if he never gets on a roll in AAA, it's unlikely it would've ever happened in the majors.
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Posted: 03/21/2013 6:35 PM

RE: Opening day SS? 


I think people are forgetting that Japanese batting stats are generally useful predictors of major league batting stats, while spring training batting stats are generally worthless.
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Posted: 03/21/2013 6:46 PM

RE: Opening day SS? 



AthertonA wrote: I think people are forgetting that Japanese batting stats are generally useful predictors of major league batting stats, while spring training batting stats are generally worthless.
So does Nakajima's .833 OPS in Japan last season translate better than Lowrie's .769 in the majors?

It's not an issue of stats, it's an issue of performance. If Nakajima was looking respectable and the stats didn't show it that'd be a whole different story. Everybody who has seen him has been unimpressed.

Nobody here is saying Nakajima will be a failure based solely on his spring training performance. The point is that we have a better option and Nakajima doesn't appear close to ready yet. I suppose this could change over the remainder of the spring if he starts hitting the ball hard, but if the season started 'today'? Are Nakajima's JPL stats so good that his spring performance should be ignored and he should be starting over Lowrie at SS? I think the chances of him figuring out major league pitching overnight is slim.

I'd like to see Nakajima succeed, but I don't want to see him hurt the team. And if he's looking like the guy I saw a few days ago jogging him out at SS in the major leagues right now might not be his best chances for success.
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Posted: 03/21/2013 6:59 PM

Re: Opening day SS? 


I'd start Lowrie and send Nakajima to AAA unless that means losing Nakajima.
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Posted: 03/21/2013 10:32 PM

Re: Opening day SS? 


Well, right now we've got just a little over a week of ST left.  Not hardly a week ago there was talk that Weeks was likely to start the season at Sacto.  As of this point, if the decision had to be made today, I would definitely go with Lowrie and Weeks and consider sending Nakajima  to Sacto, hoping he gains a comfort level.  Hindsight is a great tool; it's unfortunate that the Lowrie deal didn't come down before the decision to sign Nakajima.  If I have to eat my words, well, I'm okay with that, too.  Added to that, to me it is looking more and more that Sizemore is going to have to start the season at AAA.  Losing an entire season to the injury he had, just seems to me he needs time at Sacto to reaclimate (lots of reps) to everything ... at least to start off the season.

Last edited 03/21/2013 10:38 PM by oaklady

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Posted: 03/22/2013 3:01 AM

Re: Opening day SS? 


I think you go with Nakajima over Weeks if Nakajima can handle the defense part of the job.  The trouble is I'm not sure that Melvin thinks he can.
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Posted: 03/22/2013 7:02 AM

RE: Opening day SS? 


Nakajima but he'll have maybe at best the first month of the season to prove that he can both field and hit at the position. Other wise he could be demoted to AAA or at least moved off to a utility IF role.
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Posted: 03/22/2013 9:32 AM

RE: Opening day SS? 


We should all look at the situation with Cespedes last spring. He didnt look "as advertised" in ST either. They stuck with him, gave him a chance to perform in real games, and he came through.

There's no reason not to offer the exact same opportunity to Nakajima. If it doesn't work, it's not like we're benching the center of our lineup for A-ball guys.

I've stopped making this about Nakajima vs. Lowrie and more about Nakajima vs. Weeks or Sizemore or Sogard. That's what we're really dealing with.
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Posted: 03/22/2013 10:36 AM

RE: Opening day SS? 


Yes, last year Cespedes didn't look that good and hit only .229 in the Spring. But, the A's weren't expected to be contenders and could afford to give him a chance to acclimate. Also, they didn't have a whole lot of options sitting on the bench.

I'm still inclined to give Nakajima a shot at SS provided you think his defense is passable but, it's going to be a short leash. Weeks can start at 2B and Lowrie can rotate among all the IF positions including SS. Lowrie is so fragile that giving him regular off days is probably the right idea, anyways. So something like 2 games at SS, 1 each at 3B, 2B, and 1B per week.
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Posted: 03/22/2013 11:11 AM

RE: Opening day SS? 



voxhoo wrote: Yes, last year Cespedes didn't look that good and hit only .229 in the Spring. But, the A's weren't expected to be contenders and could afford to give him a chance to acclimate. Also, they didn't have a whole lot of options sitting on the bench.

I'm still inclined to give Nakajima a shot at SS provided you think his defense is passable but, it's going to be a short leash. Weeks can start at 2B and Lowrie can rotate among all the IF positions including SS. Lowrie is so fragile that giving him regular off days is probably the right idea, anyways. So something like 2 games at SS, 1 each at 3B, 2B, and 1B per week.
I agree. If I thought Lowrie could play everyday I'd be all for him being the SS. I just don't think that's a reality. I suppose you could play him at SS 5 games a week and keep Barton and Rosales to fill for the rest of the starting infields off days. 5 games at SS will probably be rougher on the body then vox's plan, though.
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Posted: 03/22/2013 7:38 PM

RE: Opening day SS? 


Lowrie did not miss time at any time in his career because he wore out by playing too much. His injuries were unrelated to his conditioning, or amount of playing time. His DL time was caused by collision with another player, and a case of mono. Barring an injury caused by collision, he can play every day. He did that his first year up for several months, with a broken wrist. He can do it again. No need to sit him two days a week.
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