Ladies and gentlemen I believe we have found our new leadoff man. As much as I like Rickie Weeks, I always felt he was a decent leadoff man but would not be a good to great leadoff man. Now I’m not claiming Hart to be the next great leadoff man, but I got a feeling he is going to be able to keep up similar numbers to he recent ones at the #1 spot. You may be saying to yourself, I know he has been pretty good but his numbers aren’t that great are they?
Well let me break them down for ya; .353 Avg, .463 OBP, .612 SLG, with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 7 BB in 34 plate appearances. Now I know this is only a small sample but none the less these are some pretty solid numbers. The only number that I actually care about is .463 OBP. This screams leadoff hitter. What is a leadoff hitter supposed to do? Get on base and that is exactly what this kid is doing. It makes no sense to me why Yost took him out of the leadoff spot for a couple games after he showed that he blossomed there. (Check my last post for more on Yost’s excellent managing)
Then what do you do with Rickie when he comes back from the DL? By putting him in the 6th spot this benefits the team and Rickie. First we now have a very good hitter at the 6th spot that can get things at the bottom of the order. Secondly and more importantly is that being in the 6th spot Rickie doesn’t have as much pressure put on him right away and he can slowly make his way back as well as maybe puts a little chip on his shoulder about losing his leadoff spot. Nothing wrong with a little competition for a spot in the lineup, this will make both players only play harder and don’t forget about Gwynn.
There have been many fans calling for Gwynn to be the leadoff hitter. The problem with Gwynn is that he doesn’t know how to take a walk and that he hasn’t become an everyday player yet. As much as I have liked Jenkins over the years, I think that the platooning should end and that they should do everything thing they can to package Jenkins or Gross maybe even both with a couple prospects and get some more help in the pen. This would firm up our outfield with Hart RF, Gwynn CF, and Hall at LF. We all know that Gwynn is more comfortable in CF and by moving Hall over to LF we now have a great outfield defensively and offensively (once Hall gets it going again). So what does my lineup look like with these players in the field?
Hart RF, Hardy SS, Braun 3rd, Prince 1st, Hall LF, Weeks 2nd, Gwynn CF, Estrada C, pitcher 9th. If I am correct, I’m pretty sure a manager’s job is put the best players out there that give us the best chance to win. This isn’t little league where everybody has to get equal playing time. Forget all the lefty righty lefty ****, just put out best players in the lineup and let’s win some ball games. It doesn’t matter where you bat in the order you still step into the box and see the same pitches as everybody else. Yes, the first couple of batters are going to see about 1 more at bat per game but if Weeks and Gwynn feel like they should be leading off then show everybody it doesn’t matter where you hit and still get on from the 6th and 7th spot.
Like I said in my last post, Yost needs to quit over thinking and just put the best players out there and leave the lineup the same for more than two games. With the lineup I have listed we have great OBP guys at the lead off as well as the 6th and 7th spot. This is going to make for long innings for pitchers and there are no easy outs in this lineup like Counsell and Graffy. Time to get it together Yost or your head is going to be on the chopping block. Taking 2 of 3 from the Tigers defiantly helped take the pressure off but its going to take a couple more series wins to get back to your good graces you had at the beginning of the year.
June 15, 2007