Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jays should platoon Overbay & Ruiz at first base

The Blue Jays have several different directions they could go regarding their first base position for upcoming season. One possibility would be hand the reigns over to Brett Wallace (acquired from the A's via the Phillies in the Roy Halladay deal) with an eye to the future, or go with the status quo and have Lyle Overbay man first base like he has the past four years. A 3rd option, however, might be the most fruitful, which would feature a platoon situation between Overbay and late bloomer Randy Ruiz.

After spending 11 years in 11 different organizations, Ruiz received a promotion to the Jays late last season, hitting .313 with 10 homers with 17 RBI's in 33 games. The 2009 Pacific Coast League MVP dropped 22 pounds in the off-season, at the teams request, and has hit .500 this spring with 2 homers and a club leading 7 RBI. The time has come to see if Ruiz could translate his minor league success in a part time role over an extended period of time in the big leagues.

That would allow Overbay to solely face right handed pitching, where he hit at a solid .282 clip last year, as opposed to a dreadful .190 average against southpaws. The 33 year old, who is all but certain to leave the organization after the campaign is solid defensively which would aid the young starting rotation.

Wallace could then start the season in AAA Las Vegas, where he could get regular playing time to ease the transition to the major league level. Having been a third basemen for the majority of his minor league career, the 27th highest rated prospect in MLB, according to Baseball America, could then hone his craft defensively at first base in time to take over for the 2011 campaign.