Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Another lineup thread

With news that Alfonso Soriano does not care where he bats in the lineup, I figured it was time for another one of our pointless lineup threads where we weigh the facts and figures before promptly ignoring them and going with our gut Decider style. 

As I've mentioned about twenty times before, from my understanding the ideal lineup should feature your two highest OBP's at the tippy top with your #2 hitter being the one with a higher slugging percentage.  Your player with the best OPS on the team should bat 3rd, the guy with the best slugging percentage should bat 4th, and 5-9 should be your players based on their OPS.

There are a few other circumstances to consider, though.  For example, for "strategery" reasons you might want to stack your lineup as L-R-L as possible so as to force the opposing team to use up the arms in their bullpen quicker in important situations.

Anyway, here are the two options I like the most:

1. Theriot RHB
2. Fontenot LHB
3. Ramirez RHB
4. Bradley SH
5. Soriano RHB
6. Soto RHB
7. Lee RHB
8. Fukudome LHB

Where you'd bat Lee or Soto in this situation is debatable, but I think that Geovany might be the better of the two hitters in 2009.

Here's option #2:

1. Fukudome LHB
2. Lee RHB
3. Bradley SH
4. Ramirez RHB
5. Soriano RHB
6. Soto RHB
7. Fontenot LHB
8. Theriot RHB

Basically my opinion is that because Theriot lacks in the ability to hit the ball hard, he's either the 1st hitter in the lineup or the 8th.  Lee is not the ideal #2 hitter, but he might not be a terrible choice to bat there. 

Anyway, food for thought, yadda yadda, time to get to work.

I completely agree with your

I completely agree with your argument to put Theriot in the leadoff spot regarding the fact that you aren't losing any power whatsoever.

Furthermore I think your first lineup proposal is spot on perfect. I hope Piniella agrees.

Lineup

I too like your first lineup. And figuring that Fukudome and Johnson will platoon, as will Fontenot and Miles, to maximize offensive production vs RH and LH pitching respectively, they could be inserted into the same slots so as not to disturb the rest of the lineup. Fukudome and Johnson both fit best at #8 and Fontenot and Miles would fit best in the #2 slot between Theriot and Ramirez or Bradley. And we all know that Soriano wants to stay in the same spot:)

Lineups

Kurt- I personally like the 2nd lineup you propose much more. I for one think Fukudome comes out this year and has a nice year. I also do not think Lee has completely lost it. I like those two at the top of the order working the count. My final reason for liking the 2nd proposed lineup is: I would personally like to see Fukudome and Lee at the plate more often than Theriot and Fontenot. I really like Theriot and Fontenot, the way they play the game and mental approach they bring to the game. "Real BASEBALL Players, not just TOOL guys." I just think we would be well served to have Kosuke and Lee getting deeper into counts to work the opposing pitcher in the 1st inning. Just my opinion. Lou will probably keep Soriano at the top, so this is probably a pointless view anyway.

Matt

Much would depend on

Theriot and Fukudome's performance. If they repeat last year's, option #1 makes sense. If not, we could only hope Fukudome improves more than Theriot declines. I know it's a big IF, but Fukudome putting up at least a 285BA and remaining constant in every other offensive category would be a big boost.

It's my suspicion that Theriot could very well be subbed for more frequently than Fontenot with Miles or Cedeneo and that's not taking into account the Cubs signing Uribe. If Theriot declines offensively, this would be even more likely and therefore installing him as our lead off man is a precarious proposition.

A interesting scenario that would require Piniella to follow his earlier days mantra when managing the Cubs that the best performing player plays regardless of salary, could yield some very positive benefits.

Without an improvement of Fukudome's offensive numbers, he is a platoon player. However platooning him in CF is not the best defensive fit for the team when you have a true CF'er as one of your 5 outfielders. Gathwright and Johnson should platoon in CF, leaving Fukudome to platoon with Bradley in RF.

Is that a waste of money in RF? Damn right it is, but do you think Fukudome would be more productive offensively to the team than Gaithwright or Johnson, without a significant offensive improvement?

A platoon of Gathwright and Johnson would fit nicely in the lead off spot and therefore relegate the light hitting SS position, no matter who is in the lineup at that position to the 8 hole. When Fukudome replaces Bradley in RF he would not have to take Bradley's spot in the order as the Cubs have plenty of options that are hitting 5 thru 7 to assume the cleanup spot in the order.

Fukudome platoons so that

Fukudome platoons so that Reed Johnson & Joey Gathright can not only play CF but also lead-off everyday?

Gathright

Let me get this straight. You aren't kidding, you'd actually like to see Bradley platoon with Fukudome in RF, meaning that Fukudome would start roughly 75% of the time and the switch hitter the Cubs are spending $10M/yr on to hit in the heart of the lineup would start about 25% of the time? And you want to platoon Gathright and Johnson in CF, meaning that Gathright would get about 75% of the starts? Gathright has a career .263 BA and .632 OPS, and last year was even worse (.254 and .583). Against RHP last year he had a .256 BA and .579 OPS, and he wasn't much better over against RHP over the past three years combined (.264 and .635). If you want your team to win, you don't make a player like that a starter, or even a guy who gets 75% of the AB's in a platoon. And you don't do the same thing with Fukudome playing the majority of the time with a productive hitter like Bradley riding the pine.

I like em both

But neither of them is ever really all that likely to be written on Pinella's lineup card. Soriano in the 5-hole, you must be trying to make Alfonso cry.

At best you might get:
1. Fukudome
2. Soriano
3. Bradley
4. Ramirez
5. Lee
6. Soto
7. Fontenot
8. Theriot

More than likely Lou's lineup will look something like this vs RHP:
1. Soriano
2. Fukudome
3. Lee
4. Bradley
5. Ramirez
6. Soto
7. Fontenot
8. Theriot

No way

Soriano hits the ball waaaaay too hard to be a #2 hitter, and he doesn't draw enough walks for that position either. It'd be a waste of his power hitting abilities.

I can see him anywhere 4 or after ... maybe even #3 depending on the L-R-L splits, but not #2.

Agreed, no WAY would he be

Agreed, no WAY would he be #2. If not #1, then I would guess 5, if Lee moves to 6, or 6, if Lee stays at 3.

You don't have to convince

You don't have to convince me, I agree completely that Soriano should bat lower in the order. Unfortunately he nor Pinella agree with that idea. I don't think he makes it out of the lead-odd spot at all, but if he does I can't see him sliding down any farther than 2nd. Lou isn't going to turn the lineup upside down no matter how pissed he gets, he's going to let his players play where they're comfortable and that'll be close to where they were before. Bradley was acquired with the intention of breaking up Lee and Ramirez when facing a right-hander, so he'll likely hit 4th with Ramirez & Lee filling the 3 and 5 spots in the order. Again the 2nd spot in the order will likely be occupied with a revolving-door of players throughout the season, and the possibility exists that other players can still be added to the mix before the season begins.

I think we can group our

I think we can group our hitters into two types:

1-2-7-8: Theriot, Fontenot, Miles, Fukudome, Johnson, Gathright
3-4-5-6: Lee, Ramirez, Bradley, Soto, Soriano, Hoffpauir

yes i agree except Soriano

yes i agree except Soriano bats lead-off so that group you put him in isn't where he bats

Piniella has defied logic by

Piniella has defied logic by keeping Sori as the leadoff guy, but he's given us no indications that he's dumb enough to only demote him down to #2. If Soriano agrees to bat elsewhere in the lineup, Lou will put him where he fits best - not where he'd be closest to the comfort zone of leadoff.

I don't see this revelation

I don't see this revelation that you speak of hitting Pinella anytime soon, so Soriano will again be the lead-off hitter on this team. Second would still be an improvement over leading off, albeit a small one. Do you honestly think that all of a sudden its a good idea to not hit Soriano lead-off anymore? He shouldn't have been there in 2007, he shouldn't have been there in 2008, and he shouldn't be there in 2009 either; but I would bet money that is exactly where you'll find him on the Opening Day lineup card.

It's been all over the news

It's been all over the news - see the article I linked at the top of the post. I'm pretty sure that Piniella said last year after the season ended that they might look to get a purer leadoff hitter and Soriano said just yesterday or today that he wouldn't mind batting elsewhere in the lineup.

Based on both of those factors, I presented the lineups above. If the Cubs do indeed move Sori out of the #1 spot, there's no way the'd only move him to #2. Makes no sense.

I hadn't heard anything of

I hadn't heard anything of moving Soriano down in the order, but praise Jesus if they are considering it. I only suggested he would hit second because I was assuming he wouldn't bat anywhere other than lead-off anyway. If I could bat Soriano anywhere in the lineup it would be right in front of Aramis Ramirez, most likely 3rd. A lineup that would look like this:

1. Theriot
2. Fukudome
3. Soriano
4. Ramirez
5. Bradley
6. Lee
7. Soto
8. Fontenot

The one thing he does say

The one thing he does say that kind of jumps out is that he doesn't mind moving but he doesn't want to be moved around in the batting order from-day-to-day.

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