My lineup

It’s almost here!!! Spring training!!! I am so ready. Sports, my usual life, some how betrayed me: A-Rod and steroids, 103 other players and steroids, Michael Phelps and the whole marijuana thing, Roberto Alomar being sued for not telling his ex girlfriend he has AIDS, Miguel Tejada charged with lying to Congress, I mean, when will it end?

To pass the time, I got a pet. Not as cool as it sounds. I got one on my ipod, and I named his Dustin Pedroia.
Pet.jpgThere he is! My pet, Dustin Pedroia. It was that or Jacoby Ellsbury, those names fit him more than anything else.

I was recently reading an article by Thomas Harding who was talking about the projected lineup for the Rockies. Here’s how he laid it out:

1. CF: Ryan Spilborghs
    BA: 0.313, SLG: 0.468, OBP: 0.407
2. SS: Troy Tulowitzki
    BA: 0.263, SLG: 0.401, OBP: 0.332
3. 1B: Todd Helton
    BA: 0.264, SLG: 0.388, OBP: 0.391
4. 3B: Garrett Atkins
    BA: 0.286, SLG: 0.452, OBP: 0.328
5. RF: Brad Hawpe
    BA: 0.283, SLG: 0.498, OBP: 0.381
6. 2B: Clint Barmes
    BA: 0.290, SLG: 0.468, OBP: 0.322
7. LF: Seth Smith
    BA: 0.259, SLG: 0.435, OBP: 0.350
8.  C: Chris Iannetta
    BA: 0.264, SLG: 0.505, OBP: 0.390

I like it, it’s a good batting order, which is one of the most crucial elements in offense. However, I thought about it and decided that if fate allowed me, I would develop my own:

1. CF: Ryan Spilborghs
2. 2B: Clint Barmes
3. 1B: Todd Helton
4. 3B: Garrett Atkins
5. RF: Brad Hawpe
6. SS: Troy Tulowitzki
7.  C: Chris Iannetta
8. LF: Seth Smith

I didn’t change a lot, but enough that I think it would change things. And I’d like to explain to the world why I did what I did. I really only think Rockies fan would care about this, I’d be interested in hearing about what you think the projected line up should be.

I put Ryan Spilborghs first. It’s very common for him to be the lead off man, however,Spilborghs.jpg he shared his position with, now Reds player, Willy Taveras. I think there will be added pressure for him to perform being in a full time position, and I do admit that I have my concerns with him. He better not perform like he did in the Mexican Pacific League, he ended the season with like… a 0.209 BA. Something very unimpressive. However, I didn’t base my decision off how he performed then. His 2008 season was overall good, Spilborghs is a good slugger and can work the count, an important trait. His biggest fault? He’s no Taveras when it comes to speed, Spilborghs isn’t known for his base stealing ability.

Barmes.jpgClint Barmes is a great player, and he proved it. After he got sent back down to the minors, he worked hard to get back to the show. It was impressive. I didn’t put Tulowitzki at second, and part of that might have to do with the fact that he was plagued with injuries last season which had a devastating effect on his stats. I believe that Clint Barmes is a contact hitter, he rarely struck out last season. It’s true Tulowitzki struck out less, but I think that Tulo doesn’t have the patience that Barmes does. I also think that being sent back down to the minors had a pretty profound effect on Barmes’ attitude. He knows what it’s like to make it to the show and be sent back down, and I think that’s something that makes him want to work harder; and that’s not to say that any player appreciates it less.
Helton.jpg
Todd Helton rounds in at third because well, he’s the best hitter. The best hitter means that you have the ability to hit, it doesn’t mean that you’re a big slugger; although, Todd is a big slugger. But of the team, he’s the guy who is the best. He can reach base. His stats last year might not reflect his ability but that might be because of all the injuries he suffered. Helton’s a great player both offensively and defensively. In 2000, he epitomized a clutch hitter which brings him higher up in the lineup.

I believe that Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe are kind of interchangeable atAtkins.jpg their spots. They’re both phenomenal hitters and both good in the cleanup spot. Brad Hawpe led the club in home runs and Atkins came in second. These guys can hit big and they can hit hard. Atkins led the club in RBIs, however, that statistic really doesn’t tell us much except that in a given opportunity, he can spread the wealth around to his teammates. It’s difficult to decipher who should come in at the cleanup spot. Putting together a line up is one of the most difficult things because it is so crucial. It’s a well known fact that the higher you are in the lineup, the more at bats you have. For every lineup spot a player moves up, they get see 18 more at bats per season. That’s what makes this so difficult, Hawpe and Atkins are our biggestHawpe.jpg hitters and to bring them farther down in the count means that they see less at bats. However, that’s part of the strategy of the lineup, putting your biggest sluggers in first isn’t going to really accomplish anything, you have to consider all your options: who can work the count, who works well under pressure, who can advance a player? Being a pitcher and facing, what you know as the best player on the team (hence why he’s in the cleanup spot), odds you’ll walk the guy increase. That’s why having the other best hitter in spot number five is so important. The fact that you’ve got another great guy in the lineup is going to put pressure on the pitcher to throw strikes. 

I put Troy Tulowitzki in spot number six. His statsTulo.jpg definitely suffered with an injury prone season; however, like I stated earlier, I don’t believe that Tulowitzki has a lot of patience. He’s a great player and great with a bat, so it’s difficult to decipher where he’s best in the lineup since his performance last year was… well… subpar. If during spring training he shows up ready for the season and not injury laden, his odds of moving up in the lineup will increase. It’s an honor to have Tulo on our team, but he needs to learn one of the most basic rules for a hitter: wait for your pitch. He’s eager, but he’s young. He’s got no where to go but up, and his talent is growing exponentially with every season he plays. Putting him far at the bottom was a tough choice because I do expect great things out of him.
Iannetta.jpg
In the seventh spot is Chris Iannetta. Being the catcher
is one of the most difficult positions,it’s hard on your body and incredibly demanding. Despite Iannetta having such a great season last year, putting him farther down in the lineup, in my opinion, is a wise move. The last thing you want is a worn out catcher, especially one as talented as Iannetta. Putting less stress on him is beneficial for the entire team, especially the pitcher. Keeping Iannetta fresh by giving him less at bats makes him better defensively, which is where a catcher is most important.

Finally, Seth Smith. Smith has often come in as PH, which tells me that he’s got some talentSmith.jpg with a bat. However, he’s young and inexperienced. He’s taking over left field which is enough pressure as it is. Having to fill Matt Holliday’s shoes is an incredibly responsibility and it puts a lot of tension on an ability to perform. I believe that because everybody believes that left field is a big spot to fill, it’ll also reflect in batting. Whether real or imagined, Smith is going to feel pressure to drive in the runs like Holliday did regardless of where he is in the lineup. But Smith is young, he’s got a lot to learn and he can make mistakes. I put him in the eighth position not because I believe that he’s the worst hitter on the team, but because he can clear the pitcher’s spot. It’s playing for the betterment of the team and not necessarily for his own personal statistics.

So, there it is, my lineup. It kind of kills me to see Carlos Gonzalez with the number five. That means that Holliday is officially gone. I kind of died a little inside. But now all our players have numbers and it’s officially the 13th which means that I’m one day away from spring training. Not only that, but if Todd Helton isn’t ready for the 2009 season, which it sounds like he might not be, bringing in Ian Stewart will completely change the lineup. While that’s not something that I considered in my arrangement, I’ll have to completely rearrange everything. Bt anyway, tell me about what your lineup would be. I’d be interested in hearing what other people think would be best.

Spring training. Just breathe, it’ll come.   

9 Comments

Spring training – it’s all good again! We finally will have REAL baseball to talk about, not all this filler from this long, and at times very sad, off-season. Yeah! And I love your new “pet”! The name fits him perfectly!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

I can’t wait for spring traing. And I love your pet! It fits very well. It’s always cool to make your own lineup.
http://hyunyoung.mlblogs.com

I like it a lot. Great points on Ianetta but I can see bringing him up now and again because he really has his batting down now. No harm in hitting him at the bottom but he’s young enough to bump him up a little too. Otherwise yeah the Helton situation could crimp the lineup but they’re all talented just a matter of putting it all together.
Tom
http://rockymountainway.mlblogs.com

Julia- Thank you, I’m a fan of my little pet too. It’s been a tough off season and I’m definitely ready to embrace baseball again.
Hyun young- I’m so excited that spring training is TOMORROW!!!! I might have a heartattack from the excitement.
Tom- Iannetta came in third in home runs. I’m sure that wouldn’t have happened if Helton and Tulo weren’t as injury prone as they were, but his overall batting was incredibly impressive. I’m eager to see what they’ll do.

That looks like a pretty tough lineup for 2009.

Hope the pitching can keep the runs down so those guys do not have to overheat the base paths too much. Baseball is going to have a great year in 2009, and the N L West might be a gunfight from the first game.

I think Chris Ianetta could make a name for himself this year by getting hot out of the gate. But as always, injuries might be the tale of 2009………..but I hope I am wrong on that.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

You know, Dustin does have a sort of pet-like look about him, like a gerbil or something :-). But why not one of your Rockies?
Hooray for spring!
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

Emily – Congrats on your #35 ranking on the latest Leader’s List!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

I love your pet! he’s so cute. and Spring Training is finally here! Now if we could just get the games started, it’d be perfect :]
Alex
http://bloggingwithanaltitude.mlblogs.com/

Rays- I hope that Iannetta doesn’t see many injuries. I think it was Torrealba’s injuries that really made him stand out and to see him plagued with the same thing would be tough.
Sue- I just didn’t see “Troy Tulowitzki” or “Ryan Spilborghs” or “Brad Hawpe” or “Garrett Atkins” as a penguin. Really, the only other name that put up a fight was Jacoby Ellsbury.
Julia- Thanks! I’m excited to have moved up!
Alex- I am very ready for those games to be started!!!

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