Thursday, February 28, 2008

Looking at the Day 1 lineup

1 day down, plenty more to go. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the lineup used by Joe Torre for his first game in blue.

1. Juan Pierre - LF
2. Rafael Furcal - SS
3. Russell Martin - C
4. Jeff Kent - 2B
5. Andruw Jones - CF
6. James Loney - 1B
7. Nomar Garciaparra - 3B
8. Matt Kemp - RF

Could this be the lineup used on Opening Day?
Yes, it very well could be for a few reasons. Pierre has the speed to his leadoff, and if you are willing to ignore his poor on-base %, that could be his spot. Furcal is good enough to drive the ball or lay a bunt down and use his speed. Martin is a contact hitter. Kent has hit cleanup for a long time, so he's used to the spot. Jones could be a HR threat if the other guys get on. Loney can get on base. Nomar can get a bunch of hits. Kemp played well hitting 8th, perhaps because there's less pressure in that spot.

Could changes be made?
Oh yes. Pierre's OBP is just way too low to have him getting the most at-bats in the top spot. Furcal is better at leading off than anyone else. Jones is more of a power threat than Kent at this stage. Kemp could be a big power threat if he can play up to his enormous potential. Loney can be a better pure hitter than Martin, so they could switch spots.

What changes, if any, would I make?
I can't take watching Pierre lead off and NEVER take walk, so I'd move him down. I'd be more comfortable putting Furcal leading off and Martin in the 2 hole, with Pierre at the 8 spot. Let Jones hit cleanup because that is why he's there. Move Loney to the 3 spot. Either LaRoche or Garciaparra can hit anywhere from 6-8.

Before people think I'm getting way too carried away, I will say this: YES, I understand it's only the first game of Spring Training. I'm just throwing my 2 cents out there. Everyday, the lineup will be tweaked in some way. I get that, and know that's the way it should be.

Torre is no dummy, so he'll have the best lineup possible by Opening Day.

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