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Reid Brignac and The Platoon: A look at the Rays Semi-Everyday Player

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It is hard to believe that with all the information available about platoons, there is still a negative perception about the strategy of using two players to fill a full-time role. In nearly every line of business, companies are split into departments with different people filling different roles in each department to complete a common goal. In the modern-day game, a four-man bench is commonplace in the AL. It just makes sense to have those four spots filled by players who can complement others on the team.

Thus far we've seen Reid Brignac in a platoon at second base. No, it's not a strict platoon since it involves three players, but Brignac has begun to play more regularly in the last few weeks. The bulk of that time has come against right-handed pitchers which is natural since Brignac is a left-handed batter.

With Ben Zobrist starting against lefties at second base, the Rays have had to mix in Sean Rodriguez against some righties taking away some at-bats from Brignac. However, with Rodriguez being a bit slow to start the season, we've been seeing Brignac more regularly and that could (and should) continue.

In 2010, 94% of Brignac's plate appearances have come with the platoon split in his favor. Of course small sample size rules apply, but Brignac has enjoyed the split with a .302/.333/.488 line against righties. In case you were wondering, he's been 0-3 vs. lefties on the young season.

Most of us believe that Brignac will be an everyday player. Some, myself included, think he's ready for that role right now. However, the Rays have enough depth to use him as a platoon player right now and that's a luxury thanks to some incredible depth.

Looking at his minor league numbers, when Brignac becomes an everyday player (2011?) he should be just fine against both hands. In 660 at-bats at the minor league level, he hit .274/.329/.406 against lefties. Even if we bump those numbers down some, his overall offense should fine considering that the majority of pitchers in the majors throw right-handed.

Defensively, Brignac has displayed good range at shortstop and second base. I'm not going to cite the defensive numbers because it's just way too early, but he does...wait for it... pass the eyeball test. In addition, scouts have raved about his defensive improvements and abilities for a few seasons now.

It has taken a while for us to get a good look at Brignac, who has been on our radar for about five years now. For Brignac fans like me a platoon situation is not ideal, but for now we'll have to accept it and embrace the fact that Brignac will get a starting role eventually - possibly as soon as 2011. Presently, the Rays can utilize his strengths and have multiple players cover his weaknesses, helping the Rays be a stronger all-around team in 2010.