Thursday, August 24, 2006

One eye on next season

Eliezer Alfonzo. Nuff said.

(I really hate that expression, but it just seemed to fit.)

As the season wears on and he continues to run a SLG over .500 and a decent batting average, it's becoming harder to figure out what the Giants might do next season at the catcher position. Alfonzo isn't as good as Mike Matheny defensively, but when you can hit 40 points better and SLG about 150 points better, that doesn't matter as much. For all intent and purposes, I'd have to say that I can't believe that Matheny calls a better game than Alfonzo, either.

Unfortunately, the Giants are in one of those positions with Matheny where I don't see Aflonzo unseating him next season, assuming Matheny recovers from his problems stemming from the concussion he sustained. Admittedly, it'd be a bit cold to hand Matheny's job to Alfonzo after Matheny's missed all this time with as serious an injury as he has had. We've all heard many professional team sports athletes talk about losing a starting position while injured, and it's usually a semi-taboo thing to do.

Unless...

Well, unless the Giants believe Alfonzo is that much better than Matheny. It's good that Alfonzo's used the last couple of games to throw in some clutch hits, because the main thing he's going to have to build in the next month plus to solidify any claim he might have on the position next year is reputation.

Matheny's got it, he doesn't.

This also would be assuming Alfonzo can keep these numbers going through the end of the season. He's had over 200 plate appearances now, so it's becoming a bit harder to write it off as a streak, or him playing over his ability. He's still got plenty of offensive holes (like a veritable ton of strikeouts and hardly any walks) that have me worried, but again, as long as he can hit for a decent average and hit for power like he has been, it's worth those problems -- just keep batting him in the 8th position.

4 comments:

Luigino said...

YES ALFONSO HAS SHOWN A GOOD STICK, BUT MATHENY IS THE EASY CHOICE (IF HEALTHY) WHEN IT COMES TO BRINGING THIS YOUNG STAFF ALONG. WE DEFINITELY NEED A YOUTH MOVEMENT , BUT HANG ONTO MATHENY.

PEFACommish said...

Put my vote down for Alfonzo, without a doubt. He's getting better at everything, and Matheny hasn't hit like him since Little League.

OK, he strikes out. But why are Finley and Sweeney and Hillenbrand hitting higher in the lineup?

Mike Matheny: great guy, fine catcher. Big contract. Send him on his way, or keep him to mentor Alfonzo. He can't hit.

Daniel said...

I like Alfonzo in the 8th position, PEFA, because he's a feast or famine hitter (like Feliz).

If he strikes out or doesn't walk in the 8th spot, well, the pitcher's up next -- it doesn't matter as much.

But if he has the ability to go yard or hit a double to knock in any leftover baserunners before the pitcher's spot, great...unless teams decide to go the intentional walk route...

John J Perricone said...

Sabean was just interviewed in the Chron yesterday, and - proving that he is still blind to what it takes to win a game, or prevail in a season- declared the catchers job Matheny's if he is healthy.

So don't go getting your hopes up that the man who gave us Niefi Perez, Shawon Dunston, JT Snow, and Jose Viacaino more than once, is going to suddenly realize what the sabermetric community figured out about ten years ago, that defense is a minor part of today's baseball.

Between his "JT Snow wins 20 games a year with his glove" and Matheny "Saving 100 runs" per season, Sabean ain't sharing what he's smoking. ;-D