December 3, 2006


Castillo, Doumit in groove, but out of position (Dejan Kovacevic, December 03, 2006, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

The primary reason Major League Baseball players are dispatched to winter ball is to accelerate development, maybe to work out specific kinks. The secondary reason is to help the team's management answer pertinent roster questions for the following year.

So, what to make of the performances of Jose Castillo and Ryan Doumit this offseason?

At the plate, each has done quite well.

Castillo is batting .337 for Caracas, that average ranking third in the Venezuelan Winter League, and he has four home runs and 23 RBIs in 89 at-bats.

Doumit is at .291 for Mazatlan of the Mexican Pacific League, including five home runs despite a home field known as a hitter's graveyard, and 15 RBIs. Maybe most impressive, he has maintained the sharp eye he displayed at the end of the Pirates' season, drawing 17 walks in 137 plate appearances and posting a .395 on-base percentage.

But here is the quirk: Both are out of position.

The Pirates are the next Tigers.

Prospectus Today: Winter Meetings Preview, Part Two (Joe Sheehan, 12/03/06, Baseball Prospectus)

Pittsburgh Pirates: Heaven knows what they’ll do, but here’s an idea: go 1991 Braves. You already have a very good defensive infield. Sign Doug Mientkiewicz and Darin Erstad and see if you can't put up a .750 DER behind the young pitchers with the high contact rates. If nothing else, you might help Zach Duke and Paul Maholm and Tom Gorzelanny survive their development curves. In a best-case scenario, you win 86 games and the wild card, and you're basically the 2007 version of the Tigers.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 3, 2006 8:05 AM
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