With Luke In…Who’s Out?

Luke Scott signed as a free agent this off season to be the primary designated hitter of the Tampa Bay Rays. Shelley Duncan signed a minor league deal to be primarily an insurance policy for Scott at the position in the event Scott went down again. Low and behold, Luke Scott started the year on the disabled list and Duncan was called upon to take his place. Overall Duncan’s numbers are not eye popping, .214/.327/.381 707 OPS. What is interesting and significant to me is how the splits look. Duncan has always been perceived as a RH’d bat who can mash LHP yet this year it isn’t happening. Of his 49 plate appearances thus far, thirty one have come against same side throwers and he’s done very well .286/.355/.536 for an 891 OPS. Now I know these are small sample sizes but with the season just eighteen games old aren’t they all?

So what do we do if you think I’ve made a case for why Duncan should stay? The other vulnerable parts are Sean Rodriguez (option), Ryan Roberts (trade), or Sam Fuld. My hunch is they’d love to trade Roberts because of the duplication factor what with Sean Rod, Ben Zobrist and Kelly Johnson all capable of playing middle infield. So we will see. Also if Duncan is the one out, the Rays would probably lose him since he doesn’t have an option.

I just think Joe Maddon likes the idea of someone on the bench who can impact the game in the late innings with one swing of the bat.

As always. Go Rays

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About sternfan1

Passionate Rays fan
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5 Responses to With Luke In…Who’s Out?

  1. Jason Hanselman says:

    I’m with you. Would love to find someone willing to give up anything for Roberts, but far more likely is Rodriguez going to Durham. It’s the one way to keep the band together. I feel like Roberts is mostly here for if and when someone gets hurt. There’s a redundancy now, but between Rodriguez and Roberts virtually any non-catcher could get hurt and they could figure it out and both are better options than the true replacement level monsters we saw last year. I’d also love for Fuld to be that guy, but he’s the one cat with wheels that would look nice coming off the bench late in a game. Say Duncan walks I’d love to have Fuld run for him.

    Though provoking for sure, and it’s nice to have options. One thing, while Duncan is thought of as a wide-split guy, it’s just simply not the case. I was guilty of this too before digging into the numbers, but in his career he has a .315 wOBA against righties that goes to .319 against lefties. As we previously discussed it’s less that he mashes lefties and more that he mashes mistakes. I’ve been most impressed against with his eye so far as I mostly expected the power. He probably makes a better option against righties because he does seem to struggle with the change up from lefties, though big, sweeping breaking balls from same-handers have similarly given him fits. He’s not a great hitter by any stretch, but much like Fuld’s speed, his power is something the team just doesn’t have anywhere else and he’s shown that he’s also able to draw a walk in big spots.

  2. Since it may be too early for a trade Sean Rod may find himself in Durham to get consistent PAs while Rays maintain their depth in case of injury to any other position player.

  3. I’d love to see Fuld go, but that just isn’t going to happen. And I doubt they find a taker for Roberts. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Roddy in Durham.

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