Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sweet Lou's Sour Line-Up Construction

I guess Lou Pinella is pushing for the Cubs to trade for Brian Roberts. Perhaps he told the GM, "If you don't get me B-Rob, I'll bat Ryan Theriot lead-off; I swear to God I will. I don't care how many times he grounds weakly to short, he'll bat first unless you get Roberts."

Lou has announced his line-up, and Theriot (projected .272/.337/.357) is indeed batting first. Following him will be Alfonso Soriano (.280/.330/.534),
Derrek Lee (.302/.384/.524),
Aramis Ramirez (.299/.357/.546),
Kosuke Fukudome (.282/.375/.479),
Mark DeRosa (.278/.351/.419),
Geovany Soto (.277/.348/.463), and
Felix Pie (.278/.333/.440).

DeRosa, though he doesn't have as much speed, would make the better lead-off man. Fukudome's on-base skills aren't being put to full use in the five spot, especially when it's unclear as to exactly how much power he'll show. That Soriano claims to not hit as well out of the lead-off spot is ridiculous, as he really is only guaranteed to bat first in an inning once per game. [He does hit better than usual when leading off an inning (via OPS), as well as in the one-hole vs. #5 and with men on vs. no one on. The differences are mostly because of different batting averages (which is more a product of luck) so there isn't much to support his statements.]

This line-up would better utilize the player's skills:
DeRosa - gets on base and has a little pop (Not much worse than B-Rob, actually)
Fukudome - gets on base very well and may have good power (depending on how it translates from Japan)
Lee - team's best all-around hitter; hits for BA, OBP, and SLG (he won't hit 46 HR again, but did you know he went 30-20 (HR-SB) as a first basemen in 2003. You don't see that very often.)
Ramirez - has become a very consistent middle-of-the order bat, hitting for average and power
Soriano - lots of power, but still doesn't walk much
Soto - has some Rookie of the Year chances, with good power for a catcher
Pie - the Cubs need to give Pie a full chance to establish himself in center
Theriot (actually, Ronny Cedeno (.270/.314/.397 with much better defense and substantially higher upside would be the better choice here)

This Cubs team looks very good - the line-up, starting pitching, and bullpen may all end up being the best in the division.

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