Jays From the Couch looks into the idea of Ezequiel Carrera being part of a LF platoon for the 2017 Toronto Blue Jays. It doesn’t look good for him.
I heard somebody call Ezequiel Carrera a playoff hero recently and I did a double take at the fact that he wasn’t being sarcastic. Sure, Carrera played great, but should his slash line of .303/.343/.515 and wRC+ of 127 in the 9 games guarantee him a spot on the 2017 opening day roster?
I can’t believe this needs to be said, but no. The answer is no.
Maybe the Blue Jays win it all this year, maybe I’m making too much of something little but I still have to ask this question:
What is going on in left field?
It’s February 15 and unless Dalton Pompey or somebody else steals one of their jobs, it’s looking like Ezequiel Carrera and Melvin Upton Jr. will platoon for a contending team. Now I don’t see anything wrong with Upton handling lefties this year because he’s been pretty good at handling them over the past two years. The problem here is that left-handed hitting Carrera has done well against them as well (via FanGraphs).
Great, you say! Everything is fine! Ezequiel Carrera has somewhat similar numbers vs LHP with half the at-bats. Surely Zeke can handle lefties by himself and be the full-time left fielder, right? Look again. A number that stands out is Carrera’s sky-high batting average on balls in play. In addition to BABIP luck, his GB% was a whopping 59.2%. Not only is he getting a lot of luck, he isn’t even hitting the ball far.
Via Baseball Savant, this is what their heat maps on hits against left-handed pitching the past two years look like. Upton is on the left and Carrera is on the right.
The worrying thing here is that’s where most of his production came from, and somehow sustaining this incredible luck isn’t going to be Carrera’s job. He’s going to have to hit right-handed pitching and he hasn’t done much of that in his career at all (via FanGraphs).
If you aren’t crushing pitching from one side, you have no business in a platoon. Carrera isn’t even average against them.
So what the Jays are essentially doing is placing trust in a guy because of unsustainable results even though those results wouldn’t even help him in his current platoon role. Huh.
Surely, somebody else can take over this role.
This might be hard to read after we lost our collective minds cheering for him in September and October. Carrera was an underdog that we all began to love as the season went on, but the Blue Jays are still in position to contend. Upton hits LHP hard and the Blue Jays will either need to find somebody fast or stick with a 77 wRC+ over the past two seasons getting regular at-bats for them. One side of a platoon can’t sink a team, but Blue Jays fans will be ripping their hair out by the time the Rogers Centre roof is opened in May.
I’m not saying punt Ezequiel Carrera, all I’m saying is that he’s out of options and…free Pompey.
*Featured Image Credit: Keith Allison UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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