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The 2009 A's Are In A Great Position To Platoon

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With Orlando Cabrera on the way and Nomar Garciaparra on the way to being on the way, the A's roster for position players is coming together. It's still unclear whether Chris Denorfia or Rajai Davis might win the 4th OF spot, but Davis may have the edge because of the two only Denorfia can be stashed in AAA. For a moment, though, consider the scenario where Denorfia gets the nod due to his ability to hit LHP well enough to platoon as a starter. The A's could actually use platooning to turn their offense into one that is more potent than meets the eye.

This is because Eric Chavez and Ryan Sweeney have historically struggled against LHP but could put up very good numbers if they mostly face RHP. In Garciaparra and Denorfia, the A's have an available Garth Iorg to Chavez' Rance Mulliniks, and an available Gary Roenicke to Sweeney's John Lowenstein, if you will (will you? please?).

Nobody expects Chavez to produce an .882 OPS this season, or for Sweeney to bat .307 while playing half his games at the Coliseum. Yet those numbers represent Chavez' career OPS, and Sweeney's 2008 batting average, when facing RHP.

What I want to present is a lineup, with projected stats that are realistic if the A's decide to platoon Chavez and Nomar at 3B, Sweeney and Denorfia in CF. Do these numbers (all projections rounded to the nearest tenth) seem reasonable when accounting for these four players enjoying a platoon advantage the vast majority of the time?

Buck - RF (.260/.350/.450, 15 HR, 15 SB)
Cust - DH (.240/.360/.500, 32 HR)
Holliday - LF (.300/.400/.500, 26 HR, 18 SB)
Giambi - 1B (.240/.360/.460, 25 HR)
Chavez/Nomar  - 3B (.270/.350/.450, 20 HR)
Suzuki - C (.260/.340/.370, 12 HR)
Sweeney/Denorfia - CF (.300/.360/.370, 10 HR)
Ellis - 2B (.250/.330/.380, 12 HR)
Cabrera - SS (.270/.320/.360, 3 HR, 20 SB)

And it's a pretty solid defensive team overall. Not bad?