Garrett Jones Meet Justin Ruggiano, Your Other Half

April 16, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones (46) hits an RBI single against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins announced the signing for Garrett Jones to be their part time first baseman for the 2014 season and boost their offense.  Actually, the Marlins officially called him their primary first baseman.  The most accurate description would probably be the Marlins first baseman against right handed pitchers.   Why part time, you ask?  Well, just one look at Jones’ splits against left handed pitching should be all you need to understand that he is not a full time player.  Here are his numbers versus left handed and right handed pitchers:

Jones vs. LHP
Period PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ BB% K%

2013

23

0

1

.095

.174

.143

.155

-10

4.3%

52.2%

Career

526

16

58

.193

.234

.344

.252

53

4.8%

25.1%

 

Jones vs. RHP
Period PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ BB% K%

2013

417

15

50

.241

.295

.435

.317

103

7.2%

21.3%

Career

2003

86

272

.271

.337

.489

.355

124

9.3%

19.7%

 

The Marlins would have you believe Jones is an everyday player, for now, with team president of baseball operations, Michael Hill, even throwing out the following quote:

I know, in a platoon situation, where he doesn’t get 500 at-bats, he’s struggled more in being consistent. But in years when he’s been able to get more than 500 at-bats, we feel like the splits are a little more even.

A quick check of Jones’ stats in years where he got 500 at-bats reveals that there was only one season in which he got 500 at-bats, that being 2010.  So what did his splits look like in 2010:

Year: 2010 PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ BB% K%

vs RHP

424

15

59

.262

.330

.444

.338

110

9.7%

16.7%

vs LHP

230

6

27

.220

.261

.360

.273

67

5.2%

22.6%

 

Technically, I guess Hill was telling the truth, even though he made it sound like it was multiple seasons and calling .220/.261/.360 “a little more even” than his career numbers is really stretching things.  Either way, the fact of the matter is that these are not acceptable stats from your first baseman.

The Marlins need to realize that Jones needs a right handed hitting caddy to help out.  Interestingly enough, on the same day Jones’ signing was announced, outfielder Justin Ruggiano sent his tweet:


The @PHill_bone he mentions is, none other than, Marlins 1st base coach and infield defense guru, Perry Hill.  Ruggiano currently seems to fit in as the 4th outfielder for the 2014 season.  Could it be that someone in the Marlins organization called to tell him to get ready for some playing time at first base next season?  I certainly hope so.

Take a look at Ruggiano’s numbers against left handed pitching:

Ruggiano vs. LHP
Period PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ BB% K%

2013

150

8

24

.248

.329

.504

.362

130

9.3%

19.3%

Career

353

17

46

.256

.328

.506

.360

127

9.1%

21.8%

 

In what was a down year for both of them, a Jones /Ruggiano platoon in 2013 would have produced a .243/.298/.452 line with 23 home runs and 74 RBI.  Not an all star season, but that .452 slugging percentage would have ranked them 10th best in baseball at first base and the 23 home runs equals the total hit by Yankees and Braves first basemen.

This platoon would be the best solution with the Marlins current options and the type of move a limited payroll team needs to make to maximize its resources.  Recent trade rumors for Ruggiano may make it a moot point, but if not, Mike Redmond needs to make this platoon happen from the get go in 2014.

Topics: Garrett Jones, Justin Ruggiano, Miami Marlins

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  • Placidin

    So Ruggiano gets traded away. Move along folks…move along…nothing to see here

    • Chris Logel

      A simple phone call to us would have been nice. lol

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