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Howard’s ‘Replacements’ Batting a Cool .190; Time to Move up Chooch?

Apr 2, 2012, 3:11 PM EDT

With John Mayberry, Jr. and Ty Wiggington struggling mightily, and Carlos Ruiz reaching base in more than half his appearances, is it time to move the catcher up in the order?

The idea that the 2012 Phillies might have trouble scoring runs has been fairly well explored at this rate. We also fully acknowledge that spring training numbers can be very tough to read into with any kind of accuracy, so this should all be taken with some proportionately-sized grain of salt.

With that in mind, the spring totals for John Mayberry, Jr. and Ty Wigginton have certainly  underwhelmed. With Wiggington expected to see the bulk of the time at first base in Howard’s stead and with Mayberry more than likely filling in the power quotient in the Big Piece’s absence, it seemed prudent to see how they were faring.
The answer wasn’t pretty.
In 61 plate appearances, Wiggington has just 11 hits, amounting to a .180 BA. Mayberry, separately, is third on the team in plate appearances, but has turned only 15 of his 75 trips to dish into hits, producing a Mendoza line special of .200. Together, that’s 26 hits on 136 plate appearances for a combined .191.
Thus we ask: might it finally be time for Carlos Ruiz to make a long-awaited climb up the order if Wigginton and Mayberry’s spring struggles carry over into the games that really count in April?
For reference, Ruiz’s number of attempts pales in comparison to the other two as he’s naturally been splitting time with backup Brian Schneider, but Chooch has a .500 BA and .522 OBP in 44 PA’s. Ruiz has traditionally batted out of the seventh and eight spots, as catchers are wont to do, but did hop up to sixth at times last season. He’s also shown a certain knack for coming up clutch in big spots for a guy who’s traditionally occupied the bottom of the order. 
Can we also point out he finished behind only Pence with a .283 average last year and was the only starter to hit above .300 in 2010?
Again, spring training numbers might be somewhat flawed indicators in the cases of Mayberry and Wigginton, but given Ruiz’s March success and his history at the plate over the last two seasons, how would you feel about moving Chooch up in the order? If you’re on board, just how high do you want him?
If you’re up for it, follow Tim H’s example and fill out your preferred lineup card below.