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Unfair Platoon Ranks: A Look At Dioner Navarro and Gregg Zaun

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The biggest news to come out of the Gregg Zaun acquisition was that we would have ourselves a platoon behind the plate. Gregg Zaun would play against right handed pitchers and Dioner Navarro would play against lefties; and it made sense.

As of August 15th, their splits looked like this...

 

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Zaun vsRHP

164

0.261

0.36

0.444

0.804

Zaun vs LHP

49

0.22

0.347

0.244

0.591

Navi vs RHP

211

0.183

0.225

0.264

0.489

Navi vs LHP

111

0.291

0.299

0.476

0.775

Zaun clearly hits righties better and Navi was at least better than lefties, although a .299 OBP isn't something to get excited about. Nonetheless, it seemed that the plan would work out on paper. If we catch up to today, the number sstill hold true.

 

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Zaun vsRHP

231

0.268

0.351

0.449

0.799

Zaun vs LHP

54

0.217

0.333

0.239

0.572

Navi vs RHP

244

0.181

0.231

0.257

0.488

Navi vs LHP

146

0.286

0.307

0.429

0.736

Zaun's OBP vs. righties is slightly down, but his slugging increased a tiny bit. He still can't hit lefties and the Rays have only given him five plate appearances against them. Navarro continues to be the better option against lefties, and has raised his OBP against them a whopping eight points since mid-August. In the meantime his slugging percentage plummeted nearly .50 points, but still the better option. Navi has received 35 of the 40 combined plate appearances against lefties. As was the case with Zaun and lefties, Navarro continues his inability to hit right handed pitching, however, he is still getting nearly a 1/3 of the at-bats against them.

Since August 15th the two have combined for 102 plate appearances against RHP. Zaun has 67 while Navarro has 35. Why is Zaun only getting 65% of the at-bats is a question I don't have an answer for? Navarro has shown nothing offensively (or defensively for that matter) that would warrant any extra playing time. Some may have noticed that Navi has become Wade Davis's personal catcher, but historical examples prove personal catchers to have little effect. In fact, how much good did Navi do for Davis Wedesday night with a passed ball that gave up a run and terrible at-bats? Still, some might suggest that the Rays know what they have in Zaun and are trying to give Navi more chances to breakout of his slump, but he's nearly 400 plate appearances into the season. The last 50 or so won't do much to change that fact that he's been terrible this season.

The catching situation is easily the most unsettled position on this team and will really be the only position in the field in need of an upgrade this offseason. In the case of Navarro, despite his young age and 2008 all-star season, addition to the position may come in the form of his subtraction.