I liked the idea of going outside the organization and getting a guy with speed. So when we traded for Josh Anderson, I thought it would be a decent move. As the phrase goes, "Speed doesnt slump."
The problem with the Anderson acquisition isnt so much that Anderson is a terrible offensive player--we should have been aware of that from the get go--it's that Leyland has simply overused him. In 28 games in May, Anderson sat out the entire game 6 times. Thats a lot of playing time for a pinch runner/5th OF, dont ya think, Smokes?
I've made this comment in the MTS forum, but shouldnt a guy whose only asset is his speed be better at getting on base? 6 walks in 100 ABs is atrocious. Thats nearly Pudge Rodriguez levels of awfulness. At least he doesnt strike out too often.
Again...odd splits between April and May:
53 plate appearances in May....one extra base hit. His May was completely saved by a 4-5 game late in the month too..that raised his batting average back up by 30 points.
Overall Grade: D+. Like Polanco, I cant completely condemn Anderson here....it's been managements use of him. With guys like Larish and Raburn on the bench, and Clete Thomas also on the roster, there's no excuse to turn to the inferior Anderson so often. No excuse.
There seem to be a lot of Clete Thomas supporters out there, so I'll try to go easy on him. I'm not sure if people like him because of his skill set, because of his first name, or because when he's batting he has the facial expression of someone looking directly into the eyes of the hypnotoad. That being said, he's certainly a useful player. He has decent plate discipline (may need to cut down the strikeouts, but the K:BB ratio is fine) and plays very good defense.
I suppose my main issue, again, is the use of him. He's been hitting either 3rd or leadoff in the lineup pretty much since his call-up. He doesnt have the power to be an effective #3 hitter in the lineup (Leyland tried him there and it worked for a few games....so then we had to run that experiment into the ground) and I just dont think he's polished enough to be a leadoff hitter yet. I'd say he's better suited for maybe a #7 spot right now, where he can keep a rally going and drive in some runs, but the success of the offense doesnt hinge on him quite so much.
The problem is that with Ordonez being such a lightweight this year, and Granderson pretty much needing to be moved down in the order, it leaves a gap at the top. Polanco isnt hitting well enough to be a leadoff man (or a #2 man) and Anderson isnt very good....so the options are limited and Clete seems to be the best option, for now at least. I'm still trying to decide what I think of Clete right now.
Overall: B+. I wont deny that he has stepped in and done a nice job in the absence of Carlos Guillen and Marcus Thames. Asking him to be a power hitter to cover that loss isnt fair to him though. Good defense, can draw some walks, lots to like, but nothing to go gaga over.
I was ready to throw Raburn under the bus in the first few games after he was called up. I've always wondered what the plan is for Raburn. He seems to do all the things you want him to do (at least in the minors), he draws walks, hits for power, seems to have pretty good splits against both RHPs and LHPs, at least in certain sample sizes. The defense isnt as good as some people wouldve led you to believe, but he's serviceable for the most part.
I guess what I dont understand, especially with Guillen and Thames out, and Ordonez struggling, is why Larish and Raburn arent getting more playing time. We pretty much have LF and DH open for whomever grabs it right now. With Clete Thomas playing adequately well, I'm ok with one of those spots being filled...but the DH spot should be a platoon of Raburn and Larish right now...and it isnt.
Raburn went .300/.364/.550/.914 in May (albeit in 40 ABs) but he hit 3 HRs and drove in 12 runs and drew 4 walks. If Raburn and Larish have some sort of liability in their plate approach that Leyland doesnt want other teams familiarizing themselves with and taking advantage of, then maybe those two guys should be traded or sent to Toledo to fix it...but aside from Larish's swing being a bit long, I dont see the reason for having them be on the bench as much as they are.
Thames should be back soon, which means less PT for at least one of Raburn or Larish, if not both. It's a shame because from a fans standpoint, it's hard to tell what the problem is with a guy like Raburn. What does he have to do to get steady at bats or an extended look as a starter? Even when there are injuries they seem to find excuses not to play him much more often. Maybe certain opposing managers have Ryan Raburn voodoo dolls and he has to sit out when we play those teams. I dont get it.
Overall Grade: C+. That LA Angels defensive clowning is still fresh in my mind, but he played well in May.
I'll get to the pitchers in my next post. It's late and I have to be up in the morning for work...I'll give you a sneak preview: Mostly A's and B's with F's to a certain tandem of overpaid failed starters....