Another spring game, another hit each for Aaron Miles and Mike Fontenot. Miles started the game at shortstop, a position he's expected to see some action at over the course of 2009.
Previously, we talked about how Miles' power compares to Fontenot's. In short (get it? they're both short dudes?), it's not even close. Fontenot can and will slug; Miles cannot, and will not. This disparity in power is one reason why we here at BAM! are arguing that Aaron is best suited to help the Cubs off the bench, rather than by starting at second base.
However, Miles' (non-existent) power is actually quite comparable to the other member of the Cubs' middle infield. As the starting shortstop, Ryan Theriot can do a lot of things--but he can't really hit home runs. Actually, the two hitters have nearly identical career slugging percentages: .369 for Theriot, and .364 for Miles. Furthermore, their career averages are even closer: .290 for Theriot, .289 for Miles.
Since they're about equal in power and average, you may ask: are there any other hitting categories in which one player has an advantage over the other? Might there actually be a reason for STARTING Aaron Miles?
You may have noticed we're two-thirds of the way towards posting slash lines for the two hitters. I'll give the complete lines to you now:
Ryan Theriot - .290/.362./.369
Aaron Miles - .289/.329/.364
Fortunately for this blog's title and URL, it turns out Ryan Theriot is the better hitter, and Miles should stay on the bench. The difference between the two occurs primarily in one category: patience.
Theriot is able to get on base by drawing the walk. In fact, over the course of his career, The Riot has managed to draw slightly more walks than strikeouts (140 to 128), posting a career BB/K ratio of 1.09. On the other side, Miles has 123 career walks, compared to 210 strikeouts, which comes out to a BB/K ratio of 0.59.
To summarize, Miles doesn't have power, and he doesn't have patience. Based on those facts, doesn't Lou have to bench Aaron Miles?