“Platoon, isn’t that a movie, or has something to do with military structure?” I asked myself. I thought I knew most everything there is to know about baseball, but then I took this job. I learn something new every single day. People tell me that no one loves to learn more than I do, so I suppose I am living my mission.
Platooning, or platoon players, is the latest discovery I made. The use of the term platoon in baseball, as defined at baseball-reference.com, is “when two players share a position.” This can occur both offensively and defensively. For instance, one player may be strong against left-handed pitchers and another against right-handed pitchers. Jonny Gomes is an example of a platoon player for the Red Sox. Gomes makes lots of money in this role, a whopping $10 million to be exact, because statistics show he has a strong bat against left-handed pitchers. Gomes enjoyed a consistent on base percentage this Spring Training with an average of .316. Defensively, he can play both left and right field and switch off with, let’s say, Daniel Nava, or Shane Victorino. Offensively, there are plenty of players on the roster that can complement him against right-handed pitchers. Long story, short, we pay him lots of money because of his versatility. We hope it pays off. As New England fans, we hope for a lot of things like for it to stop snowing at the end of March.
In most of my posts, I emphasize the need for this team to play as one cohesive unit, and not individuals who happen to be wearing the same shirts. This platooning idea speaks directly to the team philosophy. Plus, it provides depth in key positions on the field and in the batter’s box. Gomes is one good example, and there are others on the team like Mike Napoli, who could play first base, catch, or DH.
Now, my earlier post on the depth chart starts to make more sense to me. I get why certain players are mentioned in more than one position.
As one famous dude once said, “Eureka!”