As a part of the United Cardinal Bloggers, we do a monthly project, and this month, it was the Spring Training Roundtable as we begin to look forward to the season and what it has in store. Yesterday, it was my turn to ask the question. I know that Matheny said it’s too early to talk about lineups, but for us bloggers, waiting and waiting for the first games to begin (which is a week from today, for the record), it’s never too early to talk about lineups.
So, I asked the Cardinal bloggers to give me what their lineup card would look like. I also gave them the ability to say what they thought that the actual opening day lineup from Matheny would look like. Finally, I wanted to see if they thought the lineup would change mid-season at all. Here’s what they said:
Corey Rudd – STL Sports Minute
As it stands now, I would have this look on most days, with the caveat that Mr. Taveras will likely cause this to alter significantly by the end of May.3b Matt CarpenterC. YadiLF HollidayRF Craig1b AdamsSS Peralta2b WongCF BourjosPitcherMany have mentioned their desire to have Holliday hit second, and I am intrigued by the idea as well, but wouldn’t Yadi serve a similar purpose?Yadi hits for an extremely high average, has some power, rarely strike out and sprays the ball all over the field, a bumb of prototypical No. 2 hitter traits. Obviously he is slower then a turtle, but I think his other strengths outweigh that speed. Plus, his speed won’t matter if Holliday is going to hit a screamer that results in a DP anyway.I like Wong and Bourjos at the bottom of the lineup with the freedom to create some runs with their legs.When Taveras is here, he hits second, and Yadi moves back down.
It’s hard to make a lineup now that the Aledmys Diaz question is now in the picture (would he platoon with Peralta if he chooses the Cards or start in Memphis?)If anything does change, it’s once Oscar Taveras enters the picture. Once Taveras enters the picture, it means platooning at 1B and RF or using Adams as a PH off the bench or DH in AL parks. Craig has a nice contract extension so if you are going to use Adams off the bench and not start him that many games, the club might be better off trading him.The Diaz case, too, is interesting. He’s choosing a team this weekend but where would he fit in should he choose the Cards? Kozma and Descalso might have to look over their shoulder soon as one of them will be out of a job.
PITCHER HITS NINTH
I feel obligated to at least mention the idea that “who” is more important than “where” when it comes to lineup optimization. 🙂 That said, I love lineup-making as much as the next guy, so here goes.I lump the lineup into three sections, 1-2, 3-5 and then 6-9. With a couple of exceptions, I’m not picky on where people bat inside each of those sections. Section 1:1 Carpenter2 HollidaySection 2:Craig, Molina, Adams (in any order)Section 3:Peralta, Jay/Bourjos, Wong (in any order)I like the idea of the heavy-OBP/SLG guys up top, then allowing, as Corey noted, the speedier guys at the bottom to “manufacture” scoring opportunities.Editor’s note: Matthew did a longer post on his own site explaining this in more detail last night. You should check it out, it’s a great read!
While Diaz could eventually be amazing, the Cardinals just paid Peralta a huge contract and have no where to put him unless they refute their claims to start Wong. So I digress with my 2014 lineup.1)Matt Carpenter-Don’t mess with a great thing.2)Jhonny Peralta-Until Oscar arrives, I truly think Peralta can be the explosive #2 bat this team covets.3)Matt Holliday-Again, don’t mess with a good thing, Holliday has done a consistently fine job in the #3 hole.4)Allen Craig-RBI Machines don’t move.5.)Yadi Molina-An underrated RBI guy and someone who can move around but #5 spot is best.6)Matt Adams-Perfect low pressure spot for the big guy to ease into full time status.7)Peter Bourjos-Speed train down below and put here until he can raise that OBP.8)Kolten Wong-It’s good to keep the speed down below to load up the top guys in the order with RBI chances later in the games so Wong fits here.9.)PitcherThere it is fellas. Open to discussion due to the team’s nice roster depth this year. Oscar definitely gets a shot at the #2 hole after he starts out in the #6 or #7 spot. Stephen Piscotty would look very good in that #2 spot as well.
Lineup construction…this is always a fun one.On Opening Day, I see the lineup very similar to what most have laid out (though I’m going with Dan’s choice for the 2-spot):MCarp, Peralta, Holliday, Craig, Molina, Adams, Bourjos/Jay, Wong, PitcherI think the competition for CF continues into the beginning of the season. My hope is that Wong finds his way early on and the lineup forms into the following by May:Wong, MCarp, Holliday, Craig, Molina, Adams, Peralta, Bourjos, PitcherThe lineup is interesting this year, with a few power bats and salaries that would suggest prime lineup positions. It will be a delicate balance and I really like the way the lineup could evolve this year.
I agree with Buffa on the lineup. I wouldn’t want to move Holliday or Molina to the second spot as they are more valuable driving in runs. Keep them in the heart of the order and use Peralta in the two hole. However, I wouldn’t put Taveras in the two hole when he arrives, too much pressure on the youngster. Put him in the 6th spot and leave Peralta at 2.
I believe that their will not so much be a “lineup” this year, as there is an all in approach using the full positional roster. This will be especially true if health and development continue on as it optimally could (which means it absolutely will not happen, because that’s the way the game is), so here are a few scenarios I think work out, and you could see shades of:1. Carpenter-3B2. Wong-2B3. Holliday-LF4. Craig-RF5. Molina-C6. Adams-1B7. Peralta-SS8. Bourjos-CF9. PitcherAnother…1. Carpenter-3B (I don’t see this being up for discussion)2. Jay-CF3. Holliday-LF (This either)4. Craig-1B5. Molina-C6. Adams-1B7. Peralta-SS8. Ellis-2B9. PitcherAnd for third kicks down the road…1. Carpenter-3B2. Tavaras-CF3. Holliday-LF4. Craig-RF5. Molina-C6. Adams-1B7. Peralta-SS8. Wong-2B9. Pitcher
1. Carpenter, 3b
2. Peralta, ss
3. Holliday, lf
4. Craig, rf
5. Adams, 1b
6. Molina, c
7. Wong, 2b
8, Bourjos, cf
9, Wainwright, pYes, the batting order will change a lot. I expect Taveras to get a lot of play in RF, with Craig moving to 1B. I expect Wong or Bourjos to take over the leadoff spot, with Carpenter moving to No. 2 and Peralta to No. 7.
I can’t come up with an original one (save the idea that the pitcher should hit eighth, not in the least to hat tip Nick), so I’ll go with:Carpenter 3BPeralta SSHolliday LFCraig RFMolina CAdams 1BWong 2BBourjos CF
I tend to agree with the general feel for what these lineups look like, with one notable deviation. I think a lot of which lineup gets trotted out there depends on what Bourjos does this spring. If he can hit a little bit and get on base, he might lead off. Or if the year starts out like that, and he falls off, maybe he then gets bumped down to the bottom third or something. By and large, though, I think most of us are on the same page.
There’s an interesting trend I’m noticing, and I’d like to ask where it is founded from: why do we thin that Matt Carpenter moves from the leadoff spot? Is it the idea that speed goes first or that he regresses notably this year and doesn’t post a leadoff OBP?Just wondering for potential article or just basis for convo within the convo.
I don’t necessarily always think that speed comes first in a given lineup, though there are several advantages that I’m sure we’re all aware of. I also don’t necessarily think Carpenter is going to collect 199 hits again in 2014. Carp has hit everywhere he’s been, and I’d consider him probably more versatile, in terms of where he can produce in a given lineup. PB is pretty much a top or bottom guy, I think. That’s really all I was thinking.
To me Carp batting leadoff until Bourjos posts a higher OBP than .315 or Wong shows he can hit at this level is set in stone and non negotiable. Why mess with a good thing? Sure he may tail off and not produce MVP type numbers but it would be illogical to move him until he proves that 2013 was a fluke. Leading off isn’t all about speed. It’s about an ability to get on base consistently and produce extra base hits. Carp doesn’t run like a one legged sumo wrestler either. He’s got the job until someone proves they are more deserving.
“One legged sumo wrestler” wins quote of 2014 UCB Spring Roundtable so far.If Diaz signs here, I may “re-ask” this same question in Week 3 when it is my turn.Editor’s Note: This conversation did begin to divulge into talking a lot about Diaz, as it was really a lot of the buzz of the day. I decided to post all of it, because it was still very relevant to the discussion and I throughly enjoyed it. If you don’t know who Diaz is, or what they are referring to, read this article from Joe Strauss. Also, I think “One legged sumo wrestler” might be the quote of the year, much less the Spring Roundtable.
Thanks. Trying something different than “run like Yadi”.And yes sir Diaz will change things especially if his bat is as good as his glove. That will reshuffle the entire infield or at least eliminate Descalso and put pressure on Wong. If Diaz comes aboard, then Peralta goes to third and carp back to 2nd. Interesting.
It’s going to shape up the entire infield. I don’t see Carp or Wong moving anywhere. Wong is the 2B for a long time in my book.It puts most of the pressure on Descalso and Kozma. Of course, it’s possible that Peralta could be traded before the end of his deal. Ellis has a one year deal so there’s no added pressure on him.
Did I miss something regarding Diaz? You all are talking like we signed him. I still think we are a long shot.
Under normal circumstances I would agree with you John, but I think it is between us and the Yankees and I think Mozeliak will be very aggressive. They can not end up in same debacle as last year EVER again.
Here is my lineupCarpenterHollidayCraigAdamsMolinaPeraltaWongBourjosI have bought in to Joe’s talk of Holliday at the two hole and I think he would get more RBI opportunities than you think.By September I would like the lineup to be:CarpenterTaveras RFHollidayCraig 1BMolinaPeraltaWongBourjosWong could find himself in the 2 spot but I want Taveras’ rare hit/power tool batting in the first inning of every game.An option there could be to flip Taveras and Holliday so you avoid the LL start
The lineup I want:MCarpenter
The lineup I think MIKE will run out:
This lineup is guaranteed to change based on depth – there’s no reason to let a Wong or an Adams (or really anyone for that matter, if clear thinking rules) try to fight through a prolonged slump. Get them some time off and utilize the strong bench and youth depth you have to force competition and performance.
I’ll go with following lineup:1. Carpenter 3B
2. Peralta ss
3. Holliday LF
4. Craig RF
5. Adams 1B
6. Molina C
7. Ellis 2B
8. Jay CF
I’ll just offer a lineup that, at this stage of responding, will obviously not be original.For Opening Day:1. Carpenter2. Peralta3. Holliday4. Craig5. Adams6. Yadi7. Wong8. Bourjos9. WainwrightYes, of course the lineup will change throughout the course of the season. Like many others, I too think that Wong will later move into the lead-off position and Carpenter to second.