Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Forsythe

Is Bud Black overly partial to veterans? One of my followers on Twitter suggests that he is, and after asking that question, raised another one. "Why isn't Logan Forsythe playing?" said the exasperated Tweep, Steve Adler, who recently became a talk radio host at 1360 AM Sports.

My answers: 1) No, but I'll give it more thought. 2) I haven't asked Black, but he seemingly thinks either of his other fill-in second basemen, Eric Patterson or Alberto Gonzalez, gives the Padres a better chance of winning.


Forsythe will be on the bench for the third consecutive start today in Milwaukee when the Padres try to avert a three-game sweep. Gonzalez will be playing second base and batting eighth.

I can see why Steve and other fans may want to see more of Forsythe, who has a .408 on-base percentage in 273 minor league games and was drafted 46th overall by the Padres in 2008. But I don't think Black's preference in May for two utility men who are more accustomed than the rookie to playing second base is slighting Forsythe, who was promoted after second baseman Orlando Hudson was injured only because Triple-A teammate Everth Cabrera was on the disabled list.

Black used Forsythe as a pinch-hitter on the day he was promoted -- last Wednesday -- and after holding him out of the next game batted him once against the Diamondbacks last Saturday. For what it's worth, Forsythe went 0-for-2, grounding out and taking a third strike. Hey, he knows how to fit in.

 The conditions were optimal for Forsythe when Black started him against Arizona on Sunday -- day baseball at Petco Park, his major league debut behind him and on the mound one of the inviting starting pitchers in the National League West, lefty Joe Saunders, against whom righties have batted .316 with a .960 OPS. (West Coast Bias is saddened that one Western club, the Angels, would weaken a fellow Western club by coaxing them into taking the gutsy but high-salaried and spent Saunders, who would look spiffy in a Yankees uniform.)

Forsythe went 0-for-3 against Saunders, striking out twice. He also was charged with a fielding error after clanging a routine catch.

Two things to bear in mind: 1) Forsythe would be in Triple-A, getting the at-bats he needs, but for DL-caliber injuries to others; 2) A superb defender at third base, Forsythe didn't move to second base until last spring. I haven't asked scouts about his defensive performance, but after last season, the Padres gave a two-year, $11.5 million contract to the veteran second-baseman Hudson, who had been with three franchises in the last three years.

I also don't think Black's use or non-use of Forsythe is a referendum on the 24-year-old's potential. Nor do I think a few games on the bench in the majors is an opportunity cost in terms of his development.


1 comment:

  1. Tom,

    I see your points, but in my defense, I think Forsythe gives this team a better chance to win than Gonzalez and Patterson do.

    Forsythe has a career OBP over .400 in the minors and as one person in the organization this spring told me, "his at bats are tough to watch". When I asked why, I was told, "because he is so patient at the plate".

    I realize that the PCL is a hitters league, but a line of .291/.410/.488 isn't too shabby and should at least warrant something more than pinch hitting duty for the young stud.

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