After the Colorado traded Dexter Fowler to the Houston Astros, there was the “announcement” that Carlos Gonzalez would move from left field to center. Apparently, manager Walt Weiss and the Rox brass have experienced a change of heart.
According to Thomas Harding, who covers the Rockies for MLB.com, the decision has been made to keep CarGo in left. The reason for not moving Gonzalez is plain and simple: health.
We are feeling comfortable with the alternatives, watching these guys run around,” Weiss said. “The big thing is we want to keep [Gonzalez] on the field. Risk and reward has kind of swung the other way. We are in a different place than we were in the fall. That’s what it comes down to.
– Rockies manager Walt Weiss
As far as center field is concerned, Harding notes that Drew Stubbs, who was acquired from the Cleveland Indians, will start against left-handers. Stubbs has shown a penchant for knocking lefties around (.274/.349/.448) over his career. As far as the other part of the platoon, well, that has yet to be completely ironed out. The Rockies presumably have three options to start when the opponent puts a right-hander on the hill.
1. Corey Dickerson – was considered the be the front-runner to play left had Gonzlaez moved to center, but is not as strong defensively in center as the other candidates;
2. Brandon Barnes – came to Colorado in the Fowler trade, but his career splits against righties (.207/.251/.290) are worse than Stubbs (.226/.296/.358);
3. Charlie Blackmon – a lefty bat and natural center fielder who has also hit well in parts of three seasons with the Rockies (.291/.321/.416), but his OBP is largely predicated on his BA (14 BB in 481 career PA).
You’d think Blackmon would have the inside track even though his career splits indicate he hits lefties better than righties. Those PAs versus lefties make up about a third of his career PAs, but his numbers against right-handed pitchers aren’t too shabby (.280/.310/.405).
Grab Rockies tickets and see CarGo patrol left field once again during 2014!