By Jason Wojciechowski on December 6, 2010 at 8:15 PM
I keep chattering on Twitter about lineups and batting order, so here, for the record, is my 2011 A's lineup:
- Coco Crisp CF
- David DeJesus RF
- Daric Barton 1B
- Kurt Suzuki C
- Jack Cust DH
- Chris Carter LF
- Cliff Pennington SS
- Mark Ellis 2B
- Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B
The Crisp-DeJesus-Barton order isn't necessarily what I'd choose, but Bob Geren's comments today suggest that that's what we're looking at, so I ran with it. For what it's worth, I'd probably do DeJesus-Barton-Cust-Crisp.
So if I'd want Cust batting third, but Barton's going to bat third instead, why do I have Ellis hitting fourth instead of Cust? Because I have this crazy idea that is based on nothing empirical at all that the team should try putting its best contact hitter in that spot, aiming for singles that bring home Crisp or DeJesus from second. (Ryan Sweeney actually had the team's highest Contact Percentage on the A's last year, per Fangraphs, but he's not cracking my starting lineup.)
After that weird experiment, we can't hold Cust off any longer -- his OBP has to come to the plate more times than anyone listed below him (and more than a few of the guys ahead of him, but like I said, I'm working in a mix of Geren-created limitations and my own fantasies about the dynamics of lineup construction here).
Carter has the most raw power of anyone on the team, and he could hit his way up a spot or two in the order as the year goes on, but right now he's a big strong dude with contact issues, and we've seen some of those guys succeed and some fail over the years.
After Carter, I don't have strong feelings about the Ellis-Pennington order. Pennington's probably the better hitter right now.
Kevin Kouzmanoff just disgusts me with the lumber in his hands. If he hits ninth, he won't come to bat very often.
Also, I know Cust isn't under contract, so if you want to overpay Hideki Matsui and bat him fourth instead, pushing Carter-Pennington-Suzuki to 5-6-7, then whatever, do what you feel. If you don't get Matsui but you also don't want Cust, then I question your judgment, but I'll stick Carter at DH, Sweeney in right, and DeJesus in left, resulting in this:
Crisp DeJesus Barton Sweeney Carter Pennington Suzuki Ellis Kouzmanoff