Oh boy, Nate. Look what you’ve went and done. Started a controversy. You bastard.
Well, maybe it’s not all on you Nate – the fact that Pat the Bat is clinging to a .233 average and is at best median in left field might have something to do with it – but let’s try not to get distracted by Nate’s washboard abs for a moment and look at this with some objectivity.
I like Pat. I like Pat a lot, well, except when he whines. Which seems to be a lot, actually. Okay, I guess I like him when he whines too. Sue me. Every time Pat steps to the plate, you get a professional at-bat. And yes, that term is over-used, but it is what it is and professional at-bat is what he do. Despite what might be a poor result (and one that seems to be happening far too often in Burrell’s case) you still get a high quality at-bat out of him which is a lot more than you get out of the freebase hackers you’ll find stacked throughout the rest of the lineup.
In addition to professional AB’s, Pat’s still a threat. It might be a bit erroneous, but he’s still a threat every time he comes to the plate – unfortunately maybe by default with this lineup.
Defensively, well, he does try. Can I be done with this now?
As for Nate and his hunky self, has he finally hit the ever-famous age 27 window where so many outfielders come into their own? Well, it’s possible, at least in my mind. Nate doesn’t possess the same lineup threat that Pat does, at least mentally, but he’s been hitting the ball with some loft this year (although, only a small sample size, I know…). No more wobbly wanker balls glazing the blades of infield grass we’ve seen in the past. Nate brings speed to the basepaths and is good for a solid average.
The most important thing to me though is the defense. With a team that scratches and claws for runs, defense is at a premium. Nothing against having Pat in left and Cody in right – but it’s clear to me that moving Cody to left and putting Nate in right is a much better defensive outfield – and that’s something needed especially in the NL West.
We’ve seen Nate save games with catches. We’ve seen Nate alter the outcome of games with his robot like arm.
Some might say this is “what have you done for me lately” argument. And while I certainly see how it might seem like that, this is far from a slight to Pat as I think he’s a very valuable player to have on the roster and somebody who should get spot starts.
But I’m finding it difficult to find many reasons to bench Nate in favor of Pat.
As great as Pat’s power numbers were last season after he joined the Giants, you generally aren’t going to club 18 of your 77 hits for dingers. Asking him to replicate that seems a bit far fetched.
How say you?