I thought with all the discussion surrounding Mike Napoli and his state as Angel, why not introduce another possibility. The other day, while pondering ways the Angels could keep Napoli’s bat in the lineup in 2011 without playing him at catcher (Hank Conger and Bobby Wilson), first base (Kendry Morales), or designated hitter (Bobby Abreu), I conceived a *mind- bottling idea (*Step Brothers reference. I know it’s not a real word). Napoli should play third base.
It began as an insignificant rambling of my mind. I quickly forgot the idea and relegated it to the depths of my mental priority list only to revisit the lost idea when I recalled the Tiger’s Brandon Inge. I thought to myself if one catcher could do it why couldn’t another. Obviously, Brandon Inge seems much more athletic and about thirty pounds lighter than Napoli but I always perceived third base to be a position of reaction and not athleticism. This is why guys like Pablo Sandoval and Troy Glaus played the position; not so much because of their athleticism but more because of their reactionary skills. The idea developed and I thought if he could play first why not third.
It is definitely a much more difficult transition to third than it is to first but I believe a catcher like Napoli, albeit a not very good defensive one could effectively assimilate to the position. Third base is very much a reactionary position. At the catching position, Napoli has displayed the ability to react to balls in the dirt as well as wild pitches. With his limited experience at first base, Napoli showed an ability to make difficult plays on hard hit balls. His reactor ability appears to be present.
As for his throwing ability, Napoli's catching ability requires a strong and accurate arm. Now I realize that if the throwing aspect of his defense existed, then I would not be arguing a case for him to play third base. However, to even be considered as a major league catcher Napoli most likely was considered to have an arm stronger and more accurate than most others. At the catching position, Napoli's arm panned out to be below average. But at any other position Napoli's arm may be considered above average. Allow me to state that, as a catcher, there is a marginal window of time that the catcher has to throw out base stealers. With the exception of bunts and dinkers, third basemen have significantly more time and often a shorter distance to throw base runners out. Napoli may have an effective third base arm with the additional time to throw the ball.
I do realize that I am reaching and in the end this is all a fantasy that I play in my head to keep my mind at ease. Nevertheless, imagine having a legitimate power threat at third base in the lineup every day. Imagine allowing Napoli to significantly increase his at bats to finally allow him to attempt thirty or more homeruns and to drive in ninety or more runs a year. Imagine giving Morales much needed protection in the lineup. Imagine trading perennial batting champion contender Howie Kendrick (I'm not serious) 'to another team and allowing the rebirth of the Aybar-Callaspo tandem.
I realize that since this is my first fan post and because this is such a far-fetched idea, the post will not be received very highly. But I needed to see if my idea made sense to anyone other than myself. So if you read this and believe that I’m ridiculous for even posting such a preposterous idea, then just consider this a unique introduction to another Angel’s fan disgusted with the 2010 season and desperate for other topics of discussion