What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
This might sound crazy, but I'm wondering why the Rangers (or Wash, for that matter) have never considered putting David Murphy in the #2 spot in the batting order? Elvis obviously has more speed, but David Murphy has a higher career OBP, and more power. He's just a better overall hitter, and he's not bad on the bases either. Generally you want your best hitters getting the most plate appearances, right? No offense to Elvis, but I don't feel all that comfortable with a guy who has a career .695 OPS and no power right between Kinsler and Berkman, who are far superior hitters.
Maybe someone can explain this to me.
RW's #2 slot is all about the bunt, moving runners and getting in scoring position.Elvis could probably grow into a ,300BA with a better OBP as a leadoff, but in RW'ssystem he'll never grow into his full capabilities. My opinion only, but I see more from E.
You were absolutely right-that is crazy. Crazy and stupid.
I actually think Murphy should be leading off, at least to start the year. Unless/until he regresses, he has the highest OBP and therefore should be leading off. OBP is more important than speed or anything else at the top of the order. I actually think Ian should probably be hitting in the middle of the order, at least unless he starts walking more again. I'd hit him 5th or 6th, depending on how Cruz is doing.
Wash won't do that though, because he doesn't like trying new things. Remember Profar's first game? I read that Young was going to start at 2B, but he apparently told Wash to start the kid there that day and was (I think) the DH again. He had a perfect opportunity to let the much-hyped phenom start, and it almost didn't happen. He doesn't like trying new things until his hand is forced. And that, I think, will probably still be something of a problem this year.
I am not sure Murphy will be able to repeat that kind of season with his OBP. For his seasons where he played significant time, they weren't close to .380.
Ian should really be in the middle of the order. I remember hearing Wash say he likes Kinsler at the top because he can hit a home run and start the game 1-0 but what good does that really do? He should bat behind Cruz and switched with Muphy. I feel that Murphy can set the table better than Ian and won't pop fly every time.
@jumangi: Of course they weren't close. But Murphy had a breakout season and turned in an all-star performance. Unless it's determined to be a fluke, he deserves the benefit of the doubt. It's not like he was the only one who's ever had one; remember Cruz?
Give the guy a chance. Wash won't, but you should.
@LightningOlt: Precisely. The most important thing that a guy that leads off an inning can do is to not make an out. Murphy was the best last year at not making outs. Ergo, he's the guy you want to lead off, unless he shows he's not the best at that anymore - which I admit is certainly a possibility.
Not crazy at all. The only difference between hitting at the top of the lineup as opposed to the bottom is about 100 PAs. Obviously you want your best hitters hitting in the top of the order. Regardless of stupind bunt scenarios.
I like the idea.
Allow me to throw out another crazy idea. How about moving Andrus down into the bottom half of the lineup, like in the 6th or 7th spot? Here's why: despite not hitting for much power, he hits a lot of line drives (21.6 career LD%), and hits much better with men on base: .336 with runners on, .350 with RISP, .364 with RISP and 2 outs, .462 with bases loaded. I think this is why we are infuriated that he leads the majors in sacrifice bunts. The guy could be a run producer but is given limited opportunities. Yes he gets on base at a reasonable rate, and that is valuable at the top of the lineup, but wouldn't giving him more RBI opportunities add value to his bat?
Why would Wash do that, though? Elvis is so good at bunting, and bunting is a crucial tactic, especially early in the game when you have to scrape out those extra runs. No, clearly Elvis's best value is batting 2nd, trying to bunt the leadoff hitter over.
Here's a better idea-let me fill out the batting order.
Hopefully Andy is kidding
I'll tell you what I would do.
1.Beltre2. Pierzynski3. Soto4. Zobrist5. Moreland6. Kinsler7. Berkman8. Zobrist9. Andrus
And then whoever gets the most hits the previous game gets to bat 1st the next game.
^ ^ ^ Awesome. I love the fact that Zobrist is batting both 4th and 8th.
I agree:Andrus RMurphy LKinsler RBeltre RBerkman SCruz R (assuming he isn't suspended)Moreland LPIerzynski LGentry R or Martin L
Basically, this is how the lineup would best optimize who we have, and how to balance it so that Italy's harder on opposing managers to match up with it later in games. If Kinsler continues to show sub .330 or .340 OBP, then he has to be moved to the 5th or 6th spot. If he shows he can get on at a higher clip, then I think he's our 3rd place hitter. Murphy's bat plays much better in the 2 hole than the 5-7 area.
If you look at how Murphy hit the ball last year: you can tell he changed his approach. I guess the best improvement would be OBP and BABIP. And I don't think that the BABIP was by luck (which most stats people would suggest). He took a more Ichiro approach, in that he was slapping the ball every which direction. More times than not, it was the exactly the pitch that the pitcher wanted to throw. While he will likely repeat the high OBP I would like another good hitter towards the end of our lineup, so not to have a weakness back there per se. Plus the added pressure of leading off would probably make him think too much. And overthinking is never good.
Keep Kins 1st, and Elvis 2nd.
I was thinking of having Kinsler leading off and Murphy batting second. Even after a down year, Kinsler is still second on the Rangers' current roster with a career .350 OBP, and Murphy is third with a career .348 OBP. Another plus of having Murphy in the 2-hole is it resolves the issue of having too many lefties in a row at the bottom of the lineup.
Kinsler 2B (R)Murphy LF (L)Berkman DH (S)Beltre 3B (R)Cruz RF (R)Moreland 1B (L)Pierzynski C (L)Andrus SS (R)Martin CF (L)
Some of you seem to be suggesting that having the ability to bunt a runner over is more important than getting on base...I hope you're joking.
Yeah, cause you did such a great job all of last year....
"Some of you seem to be suggesting that having the ability to bunt a runner over is more important than getting on base...I hope you're joking."
I was joking. I thought it was pretty obvious.
"While he will likely repeat the high OBP I would like another good hitter towards the end of our lineup, so not to have a weakness back there per se."
No, no, no. You don't have your better hitters hit at the bottom of the lineup. You want them to bat more often, so you bat them higher. That makes no sense.
"Plus the added pressure of leading off would probably make him think too much."
That's ridiculous. You think Murphy, a veteran of 5-odd years, would simply crumble under the added "pressure" of hitting leadoff? If you don't think he'll repeat his excellent OBP this year, that's a reason not to have him lead off. That's the only reason I'll buy, though I don't agree with it.
Good post, Andy. However, I'd prefer to create the lineup for April based mostly on the players' track records (career numbers), not just the previous season. I think Kinsler has a very good chance of bouncing back, but if he continues to struggle out of the leadoff spot like he did since the All-Star Break, then Murph or someone else can take his place, depending on who's getting on base the most. Hopefully Wash has learned from his mistakes and will actually be willing to make that change...I'm doubtful.
1) SS Andrus (R)2) LF Murphy (L)3) DH Berkman (S)4) 3B Beltre (R)5) RF Cruz (R)6) 1B Moreland (L)7) 2B Kinsler (R)8) C Pierzynski (L) / Soto (R)9) CF Martin (L) / Gentry (R)
Murphy handles the bat well enough to hit behind a leadoff hitter AND, he's not known as a bunter. Maybe this'd keep Wash from giving away all those outs (see Earl Weaver).
Elvis gets on base. I wouldn't move him to a run-producing position, though, because he really doesn't show the power required.
Kinsler needs to be in a run-producing spot - his power works there better than it does at leadoff. Which HR is more impactful: The one that leads off a game or the one that has a runner or two riding with it?
I don't think you're going to get Wash to ever change his mind on 3) Berkman & 4) Beltre because they've already promised Puma the #3 spot. Adrian will bat cleanup in that scenario.
We can all jot down a lineup, but Wash is set in his thinking. He only colors between the lines.
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