Saturday, May 10, 2008

Rangers' Ron Washington and young players

Though Ramon Vasquez has contributed solidly to Rangers victories during the last 12 days or so, he's on the bench tonight, for the second consecutive game, in favor of German Duran at 3B. This should've happened from the day Duran arrived in Arlington. Instead, Duran sat for 3 consecutive games while Vasquez played: evidence of Ron Washington's desperation to win. It was only when Duran got a bit of playing time, and impressed Washington, that Washington deigned to give Duran any semblance of consistent playing time.

One can see - from the way Washington handles Duran - what Washington's policy is with young players, and why Botts and Cruz got yanked around as they did. Washington tends to give a young player a game, or maybe two games, to show he can help the team win. If he doesn't immediately produce - or at least give some good indication he is ready to produce - the young player sits for a few days, then gets another chance: for another game, or maybe two games. If he doesn't produce, he sits again, and the cycle repeats.

This system is fine for Duran, who controls his strike zone well, and produces feisty at bats even when he fails to get on base. It's not that Duran has been extremely successful, but rather that Duran looks like he belongs, and that he does some things: bunting, drawing bases on balls, which help the team.

The system is not so good for Botts and Cruz. Both tend to strike out a lot; and to air condition ballparks and to not look good while doing so. Botts and Cruz need time to adjust via consistent at bats. Showalter gave Cruz consistent ABs at the end of 2006, but Cruz wasn't ready. Neither he nor Botts ever got consistent ABs again. Ron Washington's is not the best system for them.

Update: Duran is hitting around .200, but he had a huge double in the 8th inning tonight - knocking in the eventual winning run. It was a well-struck hit: a long line drive to left-center field.


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Nick said...

I don't mind the way Ron Washington handles players. I don't like batters who cannot make contact.... It prevents the offense from being effective. Nothing can happen (errors, what not) if the ball is not put in play so that the defense has to handle it.

gcotharn said...

Hi Nick. Thanks for the observation.