RHH 1B/DH Replacement/Platoon Options for 2023

Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

It is my belief that we need to make improvements at 3 offensive positions over the offseason. #1 Catcher, a RHH OFer who plays mostly RF/DH, and a RHH 1B/DH. I plan to write up something like this for the later two, but not the Catcher one as I don't think that list is really all that long or interesting.

This list is 8 deep, with a few players who I decided against including, mostly because I don't think that they are going to be available, had very poor 2022s, and/or had injury issues. Those players were Ryan Mountcastle and Nathaniel Lowe (not likely to be available), Dominic Smith and Frank Schwindel (very poor 2022), and Garrett Cooper (lots of injury issues).

Here is the list, sorted from lowest WRC+ vs LHP since 2021, to highest (ya I dunno that is just how I wanted to do it):

1. Christian Walker, ARI (Age: 32), TRADE (2 years left)

Walker has a .251/.349/.409 triple slash against LHP over the last 2 years. That is good for a .331 wOBA and a 110 WRC+. It has been, however, a tale of two cities for him over the last 2 years as he was very bad in 2021, but very good in 2022, both overall and against LHP. 87 WRC+ in 2021 vs a 122 WRC+ in 2022 overall. His split differences were similar. Breakout? Maybe. He is kind of old though for a breakout and I'd be worried that this past year was his high water mark. His .361 wOBA against LHP this year though would look great. Good option imo but with some risk that he won't be anywhere near as good as this year and will revert to his ~105 WRC+ career line prior to his big year this year.

2. Carlos Santana, FA (Age: 37)

Old friend Santana is an option, with a .276/.361/.386 triple slash against LHP over the last 2 years. That is a .331 wOBA and a 112 WRC+. He, however, can't hit RHP anymore, as evidenced by his 89 WRC+ this past year against them. If you are looking for a full time player, this ain't it. More consistent over the last 2 years against LHP than Walker, but much older and doesn't have anywhere near the ceiling that Walker does.

3. Trey Mancini, FA (Age: 31)

I almost left Mancini off because I just think he goes back to Baltimore, especially if Houston win the Series. Alas, I left him in. Triple slash of .263/.334/.450 against LHP the last two years. That's a .338 wOBA and a 116 WRC+. He did, however, have a poor year this year against LHP. 88 WRC+. Exact opposite issue in 2020 where he killed LHP and was bad against RHP. His overall numbers over the last 2 years are good for a 104 WRC+

4. Bobby Dalbec, BOS (Age: 27), TRADE (4 years left)

Triple slash against LHP .265/.334/.500. Good for a .355 wOBA and a 123 WRC+. Only a .337 wOBA this past year though against LHP, and has abysmal numbers against RHP. Also has a career 35% K% against LHP which is also obviously bad. This would most certainly be a strict platoon.

5. Josh Bell, FA (Age: 30)

Triple slash of .262/.362/.464 vs LHP over the last 2 years. A 126 WRC+. Consistent over the last 2 years which is good, and has basically a 1.00 BB/K rate, which is a nice bonus. This is the first guy imo on this list that doesn't come with significant warts. He did however have a very rough second half last year after he got traded to SDP. His splits are fine though so he would be an every day player.

6. Wil Myers, FA* (Age: 32)

Myers is here as he is likely a free agent because I doubt that SDP picks up his 20M option for next year. Another likely platoon option, with a .268/.354/.469 triple slash against LHP for a 128 WRC+. He has a 98 WRC+ against RHP the last 2 years, so it isn't awful by any means. He also comes with an added bonus of being able to man an OF corner as well, so he has a bit more positional flexibility.

7. Jose Abreu, FA (Age: 36)

Abreu is listed but also with some trepidation as I suspect he stays in Chicago. He is certainly enticing though as an everyday player with a .350 or so wOBA over the last 2 years and a .391 wOBA against LHP.

8. Rhys Hoskins, PHI (Age: 30), TRADE (1 year left)

Also listed with a bit of trepidation because do the PHI trade their 1B after making a World Series run? who knows honestly. On one hand I say no way, but on the other hand, he is going to be in his last year of control and they could decide they want to get something for him. They also have 2 fairly inept (defensively) corner OFers who could potentially slide in a 1B role, and most of their interesting position player prospects are OF. They could deal him. He has a .269/.375/.564 line, for a .398 wOBA against LHP. He has a .355 wOBA overall the last 2 years, so is also a full time player.

These are, from what I can tell, the main options. I'd summarize them as such:

1. Hoskins and Abreu are the best bets, both are full time players, but I wonder about the availability of both.

2. Myers is good against LHP and basically average against RHP. I can't imagine he would be too expensive in FA. No real reason as to why this makes sense to me, but he was vastly overpaid by his first deal and I can see FOs just refusing to pay his for that reason. I have no idea if that is just nonsensical or not.

3. Bell looks interesting as a full time player, and while slightly worse against LHP than Myers, has been better against RHP. Had a really bad end to the year once he got to SDP though.

4. Dalbec and Santana and strict platoon options. Dalbec has atrocious K issues and Santana is very likely over the hill and I'm not sure that should be where he invest our time and energy. His numbers are also "fine" with a .330 wOBA against LHP the last 2 years.

5. Mancini and Walker both come with oddities. Mancini had bad splits both the last 2 years, but in the opposite directions. Great against LHP in 2021, awful in 2022. Walkers oddity is that he has basically been a 100 WRC+ hitter his entire career until this year where he killed the ball. But he is going to be 32 so I have no idea if that is a silly thing to buy high on.

What are your thoughts about this area that needs improvement?

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