03-05-2012, 05:13 PM #1
Zulgad: Doumit doesn't want to play first base
Thanks to lumbering livestock like Mo Vaughn or David Ortiz who are put out onto the field as first baseman (and even fielding the position in tonight's game as well), people seem to think playing first base is one of the easier positions on the diamond.
Well, yeah, it's not difficult. In fact, according the defensive spectrum, it ranks first base as just above designated hitter in terms of difficulty. That's not to say first base is not without its nuances that some players find hard to adapt to. Put Ryan Doumit in that category as well.
According to 1500ESPN's Judd Zulgad, here's what the new Twin said:
"There's more than meets the eye with playing first base," said Doumit, who is scheduled to catch Scott Baker on Wednesday in Port Charlotte when the Twins face Tampa Bay. "A lot of people just assume that you go over there and catch the ball when it's thrown to you. But it's difficult. I've played probably about 30 games over there in my career and it's really not one of my favorite positions. Of my list, I would probably list that at No. 4 of the positions I'm going to be playing. I'd probably rank that one my least favorite. It's tough. It's a position that takes a lot of work." Asked to elaborate on particulars, Doumit said: "Getting adjusted and if it's not something that you've done (a lot) it's kind of tough to get it down. The little intricacies of getting your footwork in position. From taking a throw from third, shortstop, second base. Knowing where you need to be on cutoffs and relays. There's a lot that goes into it."
Doumit's track record at first is just 251 innings long and 208.1 of those were accumulated in 2006. One of the biggest things a high-quality first baseman can do to contribute defensively is scoop or pick throws in the dirt. A good first baseman is quite adept at this. For example, Carlos Pena for the Cubs picked 58 balls out of the dirt for his infielders, saving his team numerous base-runners. In 2008, Justin Morneau led the majors with 47 scoops. While that was over the course of an entire season and over 1,000 innings, Doumit has not been on the same pace, even in the season he worked 200 innings. In 2006, he managed one scoop. Admittedly, this leaves out the data on how many balls he had the opportunity to scoop or pick but given that he had 200 innings, you can assume that it was likely a fairly high amount.
Part of that is footwork and being comfortable at the position. Part of that is a skill.
03-05-2012, 05:17 PM #2
I didn't foresee Doumit playing much first base anyway. Seems like the plan is for him to split between catcher and DH with a little OF. If Morneau is relatively healthy, Mauer will spell him at first base occasionally; if not, the Twins will probably go with Parmelee or one of the minor-league vets as the regular 1B.
03-05-2012, 06:19 PM #3
Not everyone is meant to be a utility player. I hope that Doumit is a DH first than Mauer's backup. I hope he catches 2-3 games a week with Mauer switching with him or playing first base.
03-06-2012, 08:37 AM #4
If Luke Hughes makes the team as a utility man, he'll be third in line (after Mornuea and Mauer) anyway to play first. And if Morneau goes on the DL Parmalee will be on the first plane/train/automobile to the big leagues. So I don't think Doumit is going to see much time at first outside of maybe some interleague play.
03-06-2012, 09:32 AM #5
At least it sounds like his bat will be in the lineup everyday. Where do you see him hitting in the lineup? 6th maybe after Mauer, Morneau, and Willingham?
03-06-2012, 09:44 AM #6
I have always felt that the easiness of playing 1B is often overstated. You don't need a good arm and can get by with less range, which is why big, slow guys get stationed there. Still you handle more plays than any other position facing the batter and you get throws coming at you from every angle at often great speeds. To play 1B well, you need soft hands, good agility, and good footwork. Most infielders and most catchers usually adjust to 1B quite well, but many outfielders don't. I am a little surprised Doumit is uncomfortable there, but I don't see that it matters that much since there plenty of guys to back up Morneau.
03-06-2012, 10:18 AM #7
You forgot the most lumbering and MLB player closest to being actual livestock. He's even corn fed.
03-06-2012, 11:07 AM #8
What people don't realize is with a lot of the big lumbering type of 1st basemen, they have great hand-eye coordination. They need it to swing the bat full speed and hit a baseball 400 feet. Sometimes it also translates into great scooping ability. You'd think Doumit as a catcher would be able to pick up balls in the dirt.
03-06-2012, 11:11 AM #9You forgot the most lumbering and MLB player closest to being actual livestock. He's even corn fed.
03-06-2012, 07:01 PM #10At least it sounds like his bat will be in the lineup everyday. Where do you see him hitting in the lineup? 6th maybe after Mauer, Morneau, and Willingham?
03-06-2012, 09:26 PM #11
Um, he's a catcher right? Catchers occasionally need to dig throws out of the dirt right? And have pretty decent hand-eye coordination? I gotta say, this sounds like a load of BS.
If I was Doumit, I'd rather play left field than first base, too, because he doesn't hit well enough to be a highly paid first baseman, but might to be a regular left fielder. If, on the other hand, he's relegated to fulltime DH, then he'll REALLY get an idea of what a limited free agent market looks like.
03-07-2012, 11:30 AM #12Um, he's a catcher right? Catchers occasionally need to dig throws out of the dirt right? And have pretty decent hand-eye coordination? I gotta say, this sounds like a load of BS.
03-07-2012, 01:23 PM #13
Agreed, I don't think it's at all financially motivated. He said yesterday that when it comes to where he's comfortable, his rank would be 1.) Catcher, 2.) DH, 3.) RF, 4.) 1B, 5.) LF... (he said it on the FSN broadcast... I can't remember if he put LF with RF or after 1B.
03-08-2012, 03:13 AM #14
Scott Hatteberg: [Responding to being asked to play first base for the Oakland A's] I've only ever played catcher.
Billy Beane: It's not that hard, Scott. Tell him, Wash.
Ron Washington: It's incredibly hard.
Our Takes, Your Takes, TwinsTakes
03-08-2012, 02:03 PM #15
I don't understand where the headline on this thread is coming from. Doumit just says there's more than meets the eye with the position, not that he's unwilling to play it. Guys are allowed to have preferences, but as long as he understand he doesn't have the talent to dictate a position there should be no issue here. I don't anticipate the Twins wanting Doumit to play a ton of first anyway. There are plenty of other positions he can take AB's at.
03-08-2012, 04:05 PM #16
People who follow the Twins just don't get exactly how UTTERLY HORRIFIC at 1B for the Pirates. All anybody talked about when they played him there was what a gigantor clusterfbomb it was. At least he's astute enough to realize he has no bid'ness there.
03-08-2012, 10:33 PM #17
03-09-2012, 01:05 AM #18
03-12-2012, 09:36 AM #19
This is a non-issue to me really because there is no way Doumit ends up an everyday 1B, even if Morneau shuts it down completely. Mauer will probably be there often enough if Morneau can play, and if Morneau is out, then either they hand it to Parmalee (which, I think he should get a look anyway) or get a trade/FA.
Doumit is going to miss time because of injury this year...it's going to happen. When he's not hurt, I think he helps if nothing else just to cut Butera's starting time in half. If Butera still gets Pavano (?), then I could see Doumit catching one other pitcher (maybe Liriano, since Gardy more or less blamed him for "hurting" Mauer last spring with his wildness), and Mauer taking the other three games.
The biggest misconception I keep hearing is that Doumit is some type of legit bat that needs to be in the lineup, kind of a utility version of Willingham. That's garbage - Doumit, at his best, is a .290 hitter with about 12 HR power. This is not guy that will just "rake" anywhere you put him, I seriously think Plouffe could put up similar numbers if given enough games, and I don't mean that as a huge compliment to Plouffe.
03-12-2012, 11:01 AM #20