Sunday, March 27, 2005

* Through 3 innings, the Astros lead 3-2. Andy Pettitte was cruising along until have gave up a 2 out triple to Jeter followed by a wind-aided HR by A-Rod. Morgan Ensberg and Chris Burke have made some nice defensive plays at 3rd and 2nd, respectively.

Here's the latest quote from Phil Garner on the 2nd base situation:

"Asked if Burke has done enough this spring to unseat Biggio from the second base position, Garner responded, "Probably not," and emphasised that the question is not whether Biggio will start this year, but rather where he will start, left field or second base.
"Has [Burke] done enough to put Biggio on the bench?" Garner said. "Probably not. Burke will someday be in that same position. It's a difficult situation for a young player to be in. Biggio is showing no signs of slowing down and he had a good year last year. Would this team be better with Burke? That remains to be seen, but Biggio has earned the right to have the opportunity first.
"The decision won't be if Burke has unseated Biggio as much as it is, is the ballclub better with Burke in the lineup at second and Biggio in the lineup in left?"

Here's a paragraph later on in the same article:

"Biggio, who is hitting .243 (9-for-37) with a .243 on-base percentage, one double, one RBI and six strikeouts this spring, has played in the outfield only once this spring, and that was in a minor-league game. Burke is hitting .294 (10-for-34) with a .529 slugging percentage, a .415 on-base percentage and a double, two triples, one home run, six RBIs, five walks and seven strikeouts."

Ouch. That hurts. So Biggio has one walk and one extra base hit in 37 AB's, while Burke has 5 walks and four extra base hits in 34 AB's. So, of course, we're going with Biggio.

I'll be realistic for once - Biggio is going to start somewhere, whether it's LF or 2B. I guess I can't argue that Luke Scott has had a better spring than Chris Burke, but Scott has also never played above AA, while Burke had a great year at AAA last year. However, it looks like Garner is sold on Scott being the starting LF, so let's assume our Opening Day lineup looks like:


That's not a very inspiring lineup. With Biggio, Everett, Taveras, Ausmus, and the pitcher, we've got 5 very possible slots for a sub-.330 OBP. Only Bagwell and Lane are locks for a .450 SLG. We're probably not going to score very many runs until Lance gets back.

We still have to find a way to get Chris Burke at-bats, though, so I'll go back to my recommended plan of having Burke start when extreme groundballer Andy Pettitte is on the mound. I don't think even Craig Biggio could argue that Burke is better defensively at 2B than he is. If Burke starts at least every 5th day and is our primary RH pinch hitter off the bench, he should get a decent amount of AB's.

No comments: