Ryan Langerhans: The Good

  • Defense. UZR likes him. PMR likes him. Plus/minus likes him. RZR likes him. Scouting reports like him. Nobody has a single bad thing to say about Langerhans' glovework, and when you have a situation like this where all the authorities share a common opinion, then I think we can say with relative certainty that, much like Endy Chavez, Langerhans is an asset in the field. And while some people downplayed the impact Chavez could have before the season, I think it's been made abundantly clear that players like this can make a huge difference, even if they don't hit very much. When he plays, Langerhans is going to restore the three-CF outfield that the pitching staff got so used to seeing early on. Which isn't to say that Langerhans can necessarily play very well in center, but we know he can play his ass off in left. While not blessed with blazing speed or a great arm, he covers as much ground as anyone. He'll be fun to watch.

  • Handedness. Lefty!

  • No evident platoon issue. While we have limited information about Langerhans' platoon splits in the Majors and the minors, there's no indication that he's helpless against southpaws. His power and BB/K numbers have remained pretty much intact.

  • Power. Allow me to list the standard distance of Langerhans' home runs that have been recorded by HitTrackerOnline:

    414, 426, 395, 368, 427, 424, 401, 412, 406, 388, 422, 425, 363, 424, 392

    The homers are modest in number but somewhat impressive in length. Of those 15, ten were longer than 400 feet and six topped 425. Remember the Gutierrez bomb to center in Petco? That was measured at 426 feet. Langerhans has it in him to hit the same kind of shots. He doesn't always make solid contact, but unlike Endy, he's more than capable of really punishing a mistake. Note that 44% of his hits in AAA this year have gone for extra bases.

  • Eye. Over his 1141 plate appearances in the Major Leagues, Langerhans has shown OSwing% and ZSwing% tendencies similar to Griffey's this year. He has a good idea of the strike zone and seldom gets himself out on pitchers' pitches. He's not a hacker. He's not even close. When he shows up, he'll immediately be one of the most disciplined hitters on the team.

  • Roster flexibility. Once Endy went down, we had a glaring need for a lefty 3rd/4th outfielder. Someone who can come in and play well over extended periods while also not getting upset about losing a little playing time to Wlad. Michael Saunders was one possibility, but the organization doesn't think he's ready yet, so Langerhans fits well and reduces the pressure Saunders might've felt to impress. But beyond that, let's say Saunders catches fire and starts knocking on the door. Then you can bump Langerhans elsewhere, no problem. He's no stranger to the bench or the transaction list, and with so little a commitment, there's nothing to stop the team from reducing or eliminating his role down the road. He is a stopgap in every sense of the word. 

  • Cost. See ya, Mike. Take your fanboys with you.

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