Stats in this post do not reflect yesterday’s doubleheader, as it was written before the games took place.
The hottest topic among Mets fans these days is what should happen when Andres Torres returns from the DL, and the general consensus is that Captain Kirk should keep the job when Torres comes back.
Andres Torres provides a couple of things:
- Great center field defense, which is a premium. Not saying that Captain Kirk doesn’t defend well, but I’ll take the sure thing with Torres.
- Speed, which although tends to be over-valued, our line-up is sorely missing.
- A bat in this line-up who isn’t a lefty.
I’ll probably get blasted for saying this, but Torres really isn’t a bad player. His bat is lacking, but among center fielders who played at least 2000 innings from 2000-2012, his UZR/150 is sixth, at 12.6. Scouts mostly agree that he is a good defensive center fielder, and he definitely passes the eye test.
The speed is certainly wouldn’t be the only reason, but it is a contributing factor here, as that is an element that we see can affect pitchers greatly (cough Pelfrey cough), and being able to steal a base can’t be a bad thing. The Mets are dead last in baseball this year with only three stolen bases, so Torres would certainly contribute to improving that.
The third point is a major one, as the Mets are batting just .228 vs lefties this year (as opposed to .270 vs righties). Captain Kirk’s biggest flaw is that he can’t hit lefties, and Torres would help that as he is a switch hitter, batting .246 vs lefties. Although this isn’t good, it is better than the Mets team average versus lefties, so it would be an improvement (in comparison Kirk is 1/9 with a walk vs lefties this season, SSS, I know).
Now a few things that Captain Kirk brings to the table:
- More power, and probably a better all around hitter.
- He passes the defensive eye test.
- He’s the “future”
What Kirk brings to the table that Torres does not is more patience at the plate, and more pop. Captain Kirk slugged .464 in the minors, and is doing nothing to dispell the notion that he can hit for power so far for the Mets. Torres’ career slugging percentage stands at just .403, slightly above league average. The one knock on him right now is the 26.7% K rate, and the .423 BABIP, which is certain to regress.
The last argument is that the Mets aren’t trying to win now, so they should play Kirk because he is the future. This is more of a matter of what the Front Office wants to do, and not concrete evidence. My personal opinion is that he should certainly be playing at least against righties, and if the team falls out of contention, lefties as well.
So in conclusion, they both have their strengths and weaknesses, and Captain Kirk is definitely the fan favorite.
I propose a lefty/righty platoon of Torres and Kirk, with one of them sliding over late in close games as a defensive replacement for Duda. What do you guys think?