Brad Mills puzzling benching of Brian Bogusevic and belief in Chris Johnson
To say there has been more than one opportunity for me to go off onto a tangent concerning Brad Mills would be an understatement. That said, I’ve tried to keep my word and not judge the guy until I see the season play out and read the entire book that is the 2012 campaign. That just went out the window, I woke up this morning and saw the lineup card and who do I see playing right field, not Brian Bogusevic. Actually it was Travis Buck but that’s not the point, it appears Mills may have benched our favorite former pitcher turned position player. The benching isn’t indefensible, Brian has been struggling and really hasn’t hit well all year including spring training but the hook bothers me regardless. It bothers me because this team is about opportunity and giving people chances over large sample sizes to prove themselves. We aren’t even out of April and it appears Millsy has lost faith in Bogusevic but even more puzzling is who continues starts at 3B.
This is not so much a pick on Chris Johnson rant as it is on pointing out the lack of understanding I have in Mills’ belief system. So you give Bogusevic some time off to clear his head but also bench a guy with .351 on base percentage at the same time keeping a player with a .301 on base percentage in the lineup? That’s an issue in my book because while Johnson’s batting average is roughly 62 points higher, we’ve already seen Bogusevic cancels that out with his on base percentage. Throw in the fact their slugging percentages are almost equal and we have a problem. Lets not mention defense, that would be an insult toward Brian. The logical assumption you make from this is that Chris Johnson is benched and Bogusevic is still given the opportunity to find his game in right. Mills apparently finds that logic to be wrong at this point.
Now, there is the issue of healthy bodies that clouds the situation. With Carlos Lee and Marwin Gonzalez unavailable, it does limit Brad’s options just a bit. More options exist in the outfield and it does help justify the move a bit however solutions around that can be found quite easily. Brian Bixler is with the club, so why not slot him over to 1st base and play Matt Downs at 3rd or even vice-versa. I, myself, like to try different things so why not move Bogusevic to 1st, a position which he’s played in the minors, and start the above mentioned two at 3rd? It simply appears Brad Mills has more confidence in Chris Johnson than Brian Bogusevic and no shuffling around was even considered.
So what will happen now with Bogusevic? Odds are we will see him in RF soon and he’ll be given another shot but see his playing time dissolve a bit. Hopefully he’ll start to hit a bit more and keep Mills at least reluctant to make a permanent switch but it appears that day is coming. Chris Johnson appears to be the issue here, how much longer do you stick with him at 3rd and how much faith does Mills really have in him to keep jogging out his .301 obp?