Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Okay, Bernie may be Partially Done

Here's the thing about Bernie Williams, he can still hit right handed. Batting righty he's hitting .316, a .366 OBP, and a .500 SLG, and can still hit the ball a mile. He looks like the old Bernie Williams.

Batting from the left side of the plate, he's batting .197 with a .234 OBP, and a .239 SLG. He looks like a very old Bernie Williams. The problem is most at bats are lefty.

Carlos Pena is finally starting to hit a bit down in Columbus. The Yankees could send Kevin Reese down (as he hasn't actually played yet), bring up Pena and use Pena and Bernie as a righty/lefty platoon, and they could get some real production from the two of them from the DH spot.


Sully said...

Have the Yankees and/or Bernie considered him abandoning switch-hitting? If he's that good right-handed, and that bad left-handed, he'd have to be better off facing righties as a righty, right?

It doesn't happen often - Jose Valentin tried it a few years ago when he was with the White Sox and Rob Neyer made a big stink about it - but it could work. It's probably worth trying if they're going to need him in the lineup every day, given Pena's track record in the majors.

Sully said...

Also, if they did call up Pena, wouldn't he play first base in his starts, and Giambi DH?

Ross said...

Pena would play first but it would be a "virtual" Bernie-Pena platoon.

I was also thinking about Bernie giving up left-handed batting. I just don't know. It's easy to see that when you haven't seen a ball coming at you that way ever, it would be hard.

I wouldn't mind testing it out in Spring Training or against the Royals.

Sully said...

Well, the Yanks do get to host the Royals again (the Red Sox host them twice as well, so I'm not upset about this), so they may get their chance.

Any idea if Bernie is a "natural" lefty or righty? If he started as a righty before teaching himself to switch-hit, then it stands to reason that he's seen rightys as a righty, and he'd be able to adapt more easily to seeing them from that side. I feel like most switch-hitters would start out righty and "teach" themselves the other side.

Ross said...

Bernie is a natural righty. I'm not 100% sure, but I believe when Bernie first started in the Yankees' minor league system, 20 years ago, he was only swinging righty.

He asked his then minor league manager, Buck Showalter, if he could switch hit. So it's not completely new to him, but 20 years is a long time.