February 25, 2008


I wasn't planning on starting my deluge of spring baseball related nonsense until the first spring training game (Thursday!!) at the earliest, or maybe not even until March. But I've just got baseball on the brain.

The latest scuttlebutt is that Lou is thinking of batting Fukudome third. Yes! Sort of. This is definitely better than batting him fifth - we need high OBP in front of Lee and Ramirez. I still think second is the best place for him. Lou's main issue in dealing with all this top of the lineup juggling is the need to break up Soriano, Lee, and Ramirez (who are all right handed). Combine this with the will-they-or-won't-they Brian Roberts trade, many fans have thought up many permutations of possible lineups. Here is the one I like best. Note that this assumes

1) Soriano can run full out
2) We trade for Roberts

2B Roberts (S)
LF Soriano (R)
RF Fukudome (L)
1B Lee (R)
3B Ramirez (R)
C Soto (R)
2B DeRosa (R)
CF Pie (L)

This does the job of breaking up our Right handed hitters, and keeps our OBP and speed at the top of the lineup. Soriano can still steal etc like he apparently wants to, and when he isn't swinging away he's fast enough that the bunt game works more in his favor than most players. We have two of our best OBP players in front of hte big sluggers too.

This assumes that someone is smart enough to remember that Derosa can play SS. Maybe not quite as well as Theriot/Cedeno, but it's not like they are known for flashing the leather themselves. If Theriot does play, put him in the 8 hole and move Pie up.

If we don't get Roberts due to various Orioles tomfoolery, I would prefer this

LF Sori (R)
RF Fuku (L)
1B Lee (R)
3B ARam (R)
C Soto (R)
2B Dero (R)
CF Pie (L)
SS Riot (L)

Of course, hitting in the 5 spot might be a little too much pressure for Soto. He should be pretty good though.

All said, what we will most likely have will be

LF Sori
SS Riot
1B Lee
3B Ramirez
RF Fuku
C Soto
2B Dero
CF Pie

Which isn't bad. I don't think Lou will actually put Fuku in the 3-hole due to the fact that he (sadly) seems set on having Theriot in the 2-hole and the aforementioned lefty issue. He might flip Fuku and Ramirez which would give a moderate boost. I still feel a lot better about this lineup than last year's - we've improved at C and RF and Pie should show some improvement too. Even if he doesn't, his glove should still keep him in the lineup.