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April 2, 2013 5:00 am

Painting the Black: The First 24 Hours


R.J. Anderson

Opening Day observations about James Shields, Jon Lester, Mike Moustakas and others.

Like many fans with MLB.tv access, I spent the first 24 hours of the new season binging on baseball. That meant taking in the Rangers-Astros, Red Sox-Yankees, and Royals-White Sox games. Along the way I wrote down some observations about a few players.

Jason Castro
PECOTA and I disagree on Castro's offensive outlook. The algorithm sees Castro hitting .238/.319/.351 with eight home runs this season in a hair fewer than 500 plate appearances. I'm more optimistic about the Stanford product and former first-round pick's chances of being an offensive asset independent of his position. Castro's problem to date has been an inability to hit same-handed pitching. He boasts a career True Average of .286 against righties and .113 against lefties—that's the difference between Jason Kubel and Lucas Harrell's 2012 offensive production. Castro did me no favors on Sunday night, going 0-for-4 against southpaws Matt Harrison and Joseph Ortiz. Still, I came away pleased with Castro's efforts behind the plate. 

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March 8, 2013 11:40 am

Overthinking It: Ready For Their Close-Ups?


Ben Lindbergh

Looking at some first-time starters in 2013 to see which ones will stick.

For every top talent like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado who claims a regular role from the moment he makes the majors, there’s a veteran who bounces around for years while he waits his turn for a chance to start somewhere. The following 10 players are looking to make the leap to full-time starter status this season. But do they have what it takes to succeed in their expanded roles, or will they be busted back to the bench?

Brandon Moss, Athletics, 1B
Moss’ power output was impressive last season, but it was partially a product of aggressive platooning by Bob Melvin, who limited him to only 62 PA against lefties. Chris Carter’s departure opens a path to more playing time for Moss (and speaks to Oakland’s confidence that he can repeat his success), but it will also make it more difficult to protect him against southpaws.
Can he stick? No. A’s batting coach Chili Davis worked closely with Moss to get him to embrace his pull power, so it’s possible that his pre-2012 stats are deceptive. But the 29-year-old’s projection isn’t pretty: .238/.301/.421 with subpar secondary skills, which wouldn’t come close to cutting it at first base.

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