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Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Should D-Train switch tracks?

Dontrelle Willis is running out of time, and Dave George peers into the hazy future ...
It's a lovely thought -- that Willis could be reborn as a power-hitting outfielder -- but citing one season plus two good games doesn't exactly make a compelling case. Willis homered at least once in each of his five National League seasons, but his .359 career slugging percentage doesn't exactly take one's breath away. Worse, Willis' .280 on-base percentage simply isn't playable, at any level or any position.

On the other hand, Rick Ankiel didn't show great promise, statistically at least, before he transitioned from pitching to outfielding. Before making the switch, his career hitting stats were worse than Willis'. Somebody saw something, and that something was a better predictor than the stats of his hitting prowess.

Willis pitches tonight. If he bombs out again, he's probably finished for some time, just as Fausto Carmona's last start was -- well, his last start for a while. If it turns out that Willis can't pitch and someone figures out another way for him to make his way in the game, fantastic.

Let's not get our hopes up, though. We probably get a Rick Ankiel just once every generation or three.

(H/T: BTF's Newsstand)