OTO: the 2 hole
that’s a decent sized time gap between the leadoff spot and the number 2 spot in the lineup. had to wait to get midterms and grant proposal outlines over before I get back into blogging mode…anyways, I’m still here; just letting my two remaining readers know.
so, what has happened in my abscnce? kennedy got released and the rays have now signed him to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
both ankiel and ludwick settled last minute before their arbitration hearings respectively; I think the cards split the difference between their offers and what the players wantd for both guys.
pinata got pissed because oquendo did not pick him to be one of the three starters in puerto rico’s rotation for the world baseball classic. who cares? piniero needs to thank his lucky stars he signed a deal worth that much money when he did, because if he had been a free agent this season, he would have gotten a minor league deal not worth 1 million. instead, he is making around 7 million dollars I think. so, pinata: please shut your trap and focus on your pitching so you can be a respectable 5th starter.
chris duncan “feels” healthy and ready to go. I guess so; he said it and so did tony. whre in the world are you gonna play this guy? as a 4th outfielder, I’d keep him. this is assuming that skip is your starting 2nd baseman against right handed pitchers and colby is your starting centerfielder. so, duncan would be your main lefthanded power threat off the bench to spot start and pinch hit in late innings. he just better not take any playing time from colby…
this leads me to my today’s main topic: who hits in front of albert?
this might be the most intriguing lineup question this season. the candidates are: ankiel, duncan, rasmus, schumaker/2nd baseman, greene (maybe?).
ok, so tony likes some pop ahead of the big mang. if skip is starting somewhere on the field, he will leadoff most likely. that takes him out of the equation for most games.
what about Raz? well, since he is a rookie and a highly thought of prospect, I think tony is going to protect him a little. later in the season, he might end up hitting ahead of pujols, but not at the start of the season.
My personal favorite for this spot is ankiel. he showed signs last year that his batting eye is developing and he started taking walks. he has tremendous power potential; greater than duncan’s power potential, IMO. as long as he is a little more selective and takes his walks, he would be real good for this spot. plus, he would get a lot of pitches to hit ahead of the MVP because you want the bases empty when you are pitching to albert.
the wild card here is duncan. if skip is the 2nd baseman, and duncan shows some signs of his former self, tony is going to name him his starting leftfielder. sure, he is a butcher is leftfield but he has shown tons of power and can get hot and crush the ball for a while. if he hits, he should be traded for whatever the team needs at the midseason trading deadline, IMO. somebody’s got to go because room for colby has to be made; once he is up here, he better start in center everyday!
Mr. Leach wrote an article earlier this year about greene being potentially hitting in the 2 hole. I really don’t see this happening…just because he has pop, doesn’t mean he should. he does not get on base nearly enough. tony better not dothis…think back to the year when he tried to hit encarnacion 2nd (juan’s obp was terrible) and he struggled miserably until he put him back in the 5th/6th spot…don’t make the same mistake again tony!
for this one, I’m gonna chicken out and say Raz starts the year in AAA and duncan ends up starting in left and hitting ahead of pujols. no stat predictions for him though…you just never know what he is capable of after that surgery.