Thought experiment: Jay Bruce in centerfield against righties?

Strictly for fun.

First things first: I don't think this is happening. The Reds are loath to make major in-season changes, especially while in first-place. Conducting an experiment while you have a decent-sized division lead is not something most managers would do in a contract year. Dusty also seems sensitive to maintaining roles he's assigned to players and also sensitive to the defensive Just last year, he dragged his feet on trying Alonso out in LF.

Strictly offensively, it would be the best possible way to accommodate Joey Votto's return - a way to keep Rolen, Ludwick and Frazier all in the lineup at the same time, along with the regulars. Drew Stubbs, of course, would become an irregular - owing to the fact that Stubbs has been hitting an amoebic .199/.276/.315 against righties this year.

Jay Bruce has played 35 games in the majors in CF and 205 in the minors, but none since 2008. Given that Bruce's right-field defense has sagged for the past two seasons in both pretty much every metric and eyewitness observation - there's little doubt he'd be well below average in CF, aside from whatever adjustments he'd need to make going back to his old position.

There's a possibility, though, that working him into the lineup in a way that optimizes platoon splits and Scott Rolen's rest days might actually be a net improvement. Because the alternative, right now, is like having Miguel Cairo hitting first or second when a right-hander is on the mound.

Here's how it would work, after the jump.

Basically, you'd try to rest Rolen only against lefties. And then you'd tweak the lineup in three variations that adjust for platoon performance.

vs. RHP

Brandon Phillips 2B
Todd Frazier LF
Joey Votto 1B
Jay Bruce CF
Ryan Ludwick RF
Scott Rolen 3B
Ryan Hanigan C
Zack Cozart SS

vs. LHP (with Rolen)

Brandon Phillips 2B
Drew Stubbs CF
Joey Votto 1B
Ryan Ludwick LF
Jay Bruce RF
Scott Rolen 3B
Ryan Hanigan C
Zack Cozart SS

vs. LHP (with Frazier)

Brandon Phillips 2B
Todd Frazier 3B
Joey Votto 1B
Ryan Ludwick LF
Jay Bruce RF
Ryan Hanigan C
Drew Stubbs CF
Zack Cozart SS

#

This isn't going to happen. The Bruce-to-CF part or the rearranging the lineup part. So do yourself a favor and don't read this post.

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