Valentino Pascucci, Anyone?

I know I am a one-trick pony, but I thought I would drag my freak sideshow out into the ring one more time: The Mets need Valentino Pascucci. Last year he wasted away another year in AAA, but in the Mets' system, where he hit .280/.403/.508. First base, Pascucci's best position, was occupied by Carlos Delgado, who was having a great season. But Marlon Anderson started three games there and 20 in the outfield. There was no reason to do that, except for Omar Minaya's proclivity for over-the-hill "veteran" types.

But then how do we explain the promotion of Nick Evans from AA to the majors, where he got to start a game at first and 25 more in the outfield?

What about Chris Aguila, Brady Clark, Andy Phillips, and Trot Nixon? Were these players so good with the the glove that they overcame their miserable hitting? Were they all worth promotions when a guy with a carer minor league line of .275/.386/.489 is sitting down there waiting for his chance? Is Angel Pagan (23 starts) really a better hitter from the right side than Valentino Pascucci? No reasonable person could say so.

This year the case is even stronger. A red-hot Carlos Delgado is not playing first base; he is on the Disabled List. Fernando Tatis, Daniel Murphy and even Jeremy Reed are playing there. Tatis gets the majority of starts against left-handers even though his platoon split (career .799 OPS vs. LHP and .785 vs. RHP) is extremely minor. Pascucci, for comparison, has an extreme split in the minors (.951 and .882 for lefties and righties, respectively).

This year, he is playing for the Dodgers' AAA affiliate in Albuquerque and hitting only .218/.338/.391. His BABIP is .263, far below his career norm, and he is hitting an inordinate amount of balls into the ground, uncharacteristic of this high-HR, high-BB, high-K hitter. He has certainly been slumping in May and June. Perhaps it's the beginning of the end for the slugger; he is 30 and this is his sixth-straight season in either AAA or Japan. But more likely that it's just the most recent slump.

The Mets acquired Pascucci from Philadelphia last year when they had even less of a need for him than they do now. Perhaps they will call for him again? Knowing the Mets and their disdain for "statistical numbers," it's unlikely that they're even looking for a better solution at first base. But if they are, I think Pascucci is the guy.

People say (believe me, I've heard all the arguments) that if he were so good, why hasn't he been given a chance? Well the reasons are obvious. Any scout looking at Pascucci sees a big, slow bat that takes a ridiculous swing and would be totally overmatched in the majors. I find this argument preposterous. No matter what he looks like, the guy has consistently yielded .900+ OPSes in AAA. That talent isn't going to disappear just because the competition is better. People said the same things about Jack Cust, and his talent has translated to the major leagues. Pascucci's will as well.

Finally, having a right-handed power bat, even if from the bench, neutralizes a lot of the advantage the Phillies have on the Mets. Because right now Fernando Tatis, Wilson Valdez, and Omir Santos aren't exactly filling them with dread.

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