Monday, June 8, 2009

Let's fill out a new lineup card

It seems as though the consternation over Cito's batting orders began pretty much before the ink was dry on his opening day lineup card. Obviously, it's easy for us to sit back and pick it apart from our vantage point because we don't have to look any of those dudes in the eye after we drop them from their spot in the order.

We also take the point that Jeff Blair has made in several venues about replacing Vernon Wells in the cleanup spot. Blair has noted that even if Wells seems ill-suited to the fourth spot in the order, there isn't an obvious candidate to take over for him in that spot. (Which would bring us back to some vintage "there's no big scary bat in this lineup" discussions, which we've had pretty much every year since Carlos Delgado left.)

Still, staring out at the scoreboard this weekend and looking at the OBP and SLG numbers for the players who were in the lineup, it seems as though there might be some reasonable adjustments to be made. Especially when you see Lyle Overbay hitting way down the lineup, and behind Kevin Millar on Saturday in spite of his vastly superior results thus far (especially against righties).

So imagine if you will that the Jays' brain trust totally lost its mind and handed us the lineup card for a day. (Hey, they let Ernie Whitt fill it out, so it's not the craziest thing ever!) Here's what we'd pencil in with a right-handed starter:

1) Scutaro, SS - Though he's slid back to reality a bit in recent weeks, he's still drawing walks and getting on base at a .399 clip.

2) Rios, RF - The sour taste may linger from Alex's awful five strikeout game last week. But consider: Rios has more walks (17 to 14) and just six more strikeouts (45 to 39) than the current number two hitter. And not to go all Joe Morgan on you, but we still like the idea of having speed at the top of the lineup.

3) Hill, 2B - Hill is slugging .494 and leads the team in RsBI. Giving him more opportunities to drive in runs would seem to make sense at this point.

4) Lind, LF/DH - Lind leads the team with 30 extra base hits, and is slugging .525 for the season. He strikes out a lot, but when he gets hot, he can produce.

5) Wells, CF - Don't get us wrong on Wells. It's not as though we think he should be at the bottom of the order, and we still figure him to end the year in the neighbourhood of 25 homers/90 RsBI. But a modest drop in the lineup might allow him to get more opportunities with runners at second or third, or with runs already driven in ahead of him.

6) Overbay, 1B - We're a loathe to have two left-handed hitters back-to-back in the order (especially two who have their issues against quality LOOGYs), otherwise we would have put Overbay in the five-slot. As it is, Lyle is slugging .583 and is third on the team in RsBI, in spite of sitting against virtually every left-handed starter.

7) Rolen, 3B - The Greatest Blue Jay of All Time still has some double power (16, tied with Overbay for third on the team), although his home run stroke now sits somewhere in the rubble of Veterans Stadium.

8) Barajas, C - When it comes to paunchy, slow catchers, Rod the Bod God can run from first to home with the best of them. Stunningly enough, Barajas still has more runs driven in (29) than Wells (28) and Rios (27). And it's June, which is not all that early in the season.

9) Millar/Bautista DH/LF - We don't mean to dump on Millar or JoBau, but it's weird how both of them have been getting dropped into higher spots in the batting order while not really delivering (.709 OPS for Millar, .768 for Bautista).

As for how we'd line it up against lefties, we'd tweak it a little bit:

1) Scutaro ss
2) Rios rf
3) Hill 2b
4) Lind dh/lf
5) Wells cf
6) Rolen 3b
7) Barajas c
8) Millar/Overbay 1b
9) Bautista lf/dh

Barajas and Rolen have raked against lefties this year, while Wells traditionally kills lefties (.509 SLG and .883 OPS over his career) in spite of his dismal performance against them this year (.571 OPS).

Things that make you go "Wha???"
Vernon Wells is slugging .286 against lefties this year, and we're nearly a third of the way through the season. In 2005, he slugged .673 against lefties for the season. Seriously, isn't this a tip-off that there's something physically wrong with him?

We can't take another sub-par season from him at the plate and in the field where afterwards, he comes out and tells us that he was hurt all year and that he's going to get in shape really good for next year, with the plyometrics and the macrobiotics and all that jazz.

If VW is hurt, then he should sack up and sit down until he's right enough to play.

44 comments:

The Ack said...

Completely unresearched suggestion - how about dropping Rolen in the 2-hole? Makes contact, gets on base, doubles power....

Scutaro
Rolen
Hill
Lind
Rios
Wells
Overbay
Barajas
Bautista/Millar/Inglett/somebody better

....swap Overbay and Wells depending on LHP/RHP matchup. And I want Overbay in there every day.

eyebleaf said...

Against righties:

Scoots
Overbay (that .OBP is nails)
Hill
Lind
Rios
Wells
Rolen
Barajas
Bautista/Millar/Inglett

Sure, that leaves us right heavy after Lind, but fuck it, I'm going straight by the numbers.

Against lefties:

Scoot
Rolen
Hill
Lind (he's batting .317 against LHP)
Rios
Overbay
Wells
Barajas
Bautista/Millar

Against lefties, split up Rios and Wells with Overbay. Overbay hasn't seen too many lefties, but I'm with The Ack, he's got to be in the lineup everyday, period.

As for Wells, I don't think he's hurt. I think he's being put in a position where he's destined to be. The Jays are trying to make him something he's not - a cleanup hitter - and he's trying too hard to make it happen.

Until he sorts his shit out, fuck it, put him in the 6 and 7 spots. A .693 OPS is absolutely fucking unacceptable.

Tao of Stieb said...

Actually, we thought long and hard about putting Overbay in the two-hole against righties. It makes a lot of sense, plus it splits up the righties at the top of the order, and it gets you a lefty who can pull the ball through the hole between 2nd and 1st with the runner being held.

Which is a bit of old timey baseball mythology, but it always worked like a charm for us when we played Hardball 5.

Ian H. said...

I'm totally on board with this lineup, but the problem is there's about a 99.9 percent chance that Cito will not use it.

Isn't there some sort of happy medium we can find between John Gibbons and Cito's lineup tactics?

Tao of Stieb said...

It is kinda funny that we're using the "lineup madness" tag for Cito when it orginated from our frustrations at Gibby throwing weird and random lineups out there.

Check out this line from our post on May 13th of last year. It's crazily spooky:

"It's this sort of willy-nilly jerking around with the lineup that makes us wish that someone would bring back Cito."

Be careful what you wish for!!!

Matty L. Rock said...

Overbay is finding his stroke again and definately can be better utilized. He's got a 13 game hit streak, and a 1.331 OPS and 7 doubles in his last 10 games. What harm can shaking things up a little do?

Ari said...

Overbay at #6 vs. RHP is still a crime. When are people going to start realizing he's this team's best hitter vs. RHP?!

If you have to break up the lefties than Overbay should be hitting 2 and Lind 4, or Overbay 3 and Lind 5. It's absurd to bat your best hitter 7th, or in your case, 6th because the manager feels married to certain players.

Torgen said...

Hill is too good a hitter to bat 3rd. It's like the 5th most important spot in the lineup. Some combination of Lind and Hill should be 2 and 4.

eyebleaf said...

FREE LYLE OVERBAY!!!1

And Aaron Hill.

And Adam Lind.

Tao of Stieb said...

3rd is the 5th most important spot in the lineup?

Really?

Says who?

Torgen said...

Tom Tango. It goes 1-4-2-5-3. Sky Kalkman did a quick explanation before the season.

Tao of Stieb said...

Well, with apologies to Kalkman, I'm not sure I'm talking that as gospel. But certainly food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Vs. Righties:

Scutaro, SS
Hill, 2B
Overbay, 1B
Lind, LF
Millar, DH
Rolen, 3B
Rios, RF
Wells, CF
Barajas, C

Vs. Lefties:

Scutaro, SS
Bautista, LF
Lind, DH
Hill, 2B
Overbay, 1B
Rios, RF
Wells, CF
Barajas, C
Rolen, 3B

Stedron said...

Henderson, LF
White, CF
Alomar, 2B
Molitor, DH
Carter, RF
Olerud, 1B
Fernandez, SS
Sprague, 3B
Borders, C

Tao of Stieb said...

@Stedron

Nice.

I'd run that lineup out there every day.

JB said...

Vs. R
Scutaro
Overbay
Hill
Lind
Rios
Wells
Rolen
Snider
Barajas

Vs L
Scutaro
Rios
Hill
Lind
Wells
Rolen
Overbay (Millar)
Snider

I am inclined to start Overbay more against lefties because of his defense.
Barajas

JB said...

How about a post on all time lineups? It is a tough one.

Anonymous said...

i hate the reasoning cito gives for not moving guys around. if adam lind can't handle the pressure of hitting 4th, and if lyle overbay starts "pressing" because he has to produce in the 2 or 3 hole, then they shouldn't me in the major leagues. these are professional athletes cito, treat them like they are!

abigail breslin said...

Don't forget to pencil in David Dellucci! Apparently Jays are interested in him to fulfill the Mencherson quota for this season.

Gay Jays Fan said...

All this "long and hard" and "sack up" talk has got me hot and bothered.

I say we make the line-up from longest to smallest penis.

1.Halladay
2.John McDonald
3.Rios
4.Wells
5.Gaston
6.Lind
7.BJ Ryan
8.Tao of Stieb
9.The Ack.

That is about 67 inches of cock sucking for me!

eyebleaf said...

Gay Jays Fan kills every thread. It's fucking hilarious. Way to get a new post up, Tao.

Tao of Stieb said...

Yeah, it's kinda sad. An appearance by GayJaysFan is usually just about the end of any thread.

Besides, everyone knows that it's not about length. It's about GIRTH.

Happy girthday, everyone.

The Ack said...

Would anyone believe me if I proclaimed that I wasn't offended that GJF has me hitting nine?
Besides, fuck size and girth, it's all about the performance.

abigail breslin said...

Odd that he put two white guys at the top of the list though...

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