Danny Parkins: Who's On Second?
Baseball is the most strategic of the major professional sports. Football is the ultimate team game, basketball can be taken over by an individual, and hockey is grueling in ways I don’t think most people appreciate. But the beauty of baseball is in the strategy. For every situation, there likely aren’t just two options to decide between, but rather a whole list. And what makes the game, for lack of a better term, so nuanced is that each option can usually be argued with logic and reason.
And right now, one of the most pressing debates Royals manager Ned Yost faces is at second base. And strangely enough, there are presently only two solutions to this problem: Chris Getz or Mike Aviles. That’s it.
Getz gets the majority of the starts because of his alleged superior defensive ability. And one of baseball’s oldest adages is that you have to be strong up the middle. The problem is Getz isn’t that good defensively. He has limited range and last night against the Yankees made two defensive blunders, in the 7th and 9th innings.
While Aviles certainly won’t remind anyone of Ozzie Smith with his glove, he brings a lot more to the table offensively than Getz, whose best offensive attribute is his ability to sacrifice bunt. In the two seasons where Aviles has gotten at least 400 at – bats, he’s finished with a batting average above .300. Getz is a career .248 hitter who gets the job done at a less than robust .228 clip this year.
I don’t envy Ned Yost for having to make this decision. Neither option is ideal. I think the advantages Aviles gives the Royals offensively outweigh the slight defensive upgrade Getz provides. But it’s certainly debatable.
And to use another adage… That’s baseball