Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ryan Spilborghs Crowds Brad Hawpe in Colorado

The emergence of right-handed hitting Ryan Spilborghs in Colorado spells trouble for Brad Hawpe, who despite his strong season continues to struggle against lefty pitching.

It's hardly a surprise that the Rockies would move toward a platoon situation in right field, with Spilborghs hitting better than .400 against lefties, and Hawpe hitting a mere .130.

Still, Spilborghs' numbers are derived from a small sample, and have not borne the test of time. If Hawpe is denied the opportunity to play every day, then the claim that he is unable to hit lefties becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

While occasional substitutions are reasonable, Hawpe has earned the right to continue unfettered development. Anything less would be crippling. Given a chance, his average against lefties will improve.