How to fix the Batting Order Blues (Jays)

How to fix the Batting Order Blues (Jays)

blue-jays-batting-order-2009.png

The Jays offense has been less than stellar as of late. Here’s my optimal lineup for the next month or so.

Note: This is my perfect world scenario batting order and most likely isn’t going to happen.

Optimal Jays Offense

Scutaro
Hill
Lind
Rios
Overbay (sub with Millar vs lefites)
Rolen
Wells
Harper (sub with Bautista vs lefties)
Barajas

Thought Process

1 & 2:

The Jays are running a Sabermetric offense this season. Arguablly their top two hitters are batting 1 and 2. The Sabermetric group loves something like this because it simply maximizes plate appearances from top production bats. It’s working so far. Let’s not mess with this.

3 & 4

Rios will never be much more than a .775 – .825 OPS level hitter. He’ll maintain a job, yet never live up to the hype placed on him. In his last four half-season intervals he’s been good, not great. Big news right? I’d move Lind into the #3 spot in the vs righties batting order. Lind’s been mashing righties and he even has a .125 OPS advantage over Rios against lefties. This is important to counter-act late inning lefty situational relievers. Rios down to the four hole.

5

I’m not a Vernon Wells, never have been really. I know its cool for the kids to hate on Vernon right now but search our archives and you’ll see a steady stream of negative comments for this inconsistant hitter and lazy defender. As for his hitting in this or previous seasons, Vernon’s too inconsistant for my liking in a production spot in the batting order. Right now he’s just not getting the job done. Maybe he’ll turn it around at some point this season but 60 games is enough of an opportunity IMO. I’d move up Lyle. Overbay is mashing righties this season (OPS well over .900). When a lefty comes into the game late I’d sub in Millar.

6

I’d move up Rolen and his contact bat to the #6 spot, with the hope that he’ll be able to cash in some of the on-base players at the top of the order. His vs rigthy success is nothing to write home about this season. However I do think he’s worth a look in this spot until Vernon gets going.

7

Yep, Vernon all the way back to seventh. The offensive ‘leader’ of this club should accept this demotion, unless he’s more about himself than the team. (which could very likely be the case)

8

Thanks for coming Inglett. Now back down to Vegas for you. Let’s bring up Brett Harper. I wrote this about Harper on May 11th and everything still stands.

Harper is a longtime minor leaguer (similar to Randy Ruiz) that historically crushes righties. His OPS since 2005 vs RHP is .986. This year he’s leading the 51’s in batting. Maybe a two week trial is in order. You just might luck out and find another Carlos Pena, Jack Cust type.

I’d like to see him DH vs righties. When a lefty comes in late sub in Bautista.

9

Barajas doesn’t hurt the Jays offensivley from the catching position and actually has more RBI than both Rios and Wells. He’s fine in the #9 slot in both orders.

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  • When Scutaro/Hill/Lind get on base I would prefer to have someone like Rolen in the 4-spot who hits .333 with RISP as opposed to Rios’ .266. Rios isn’t going to give you power anyway and neither is Rolen, but Rolen is less likely to make bonehead mistakes on the basepaths.

  • Early

    I hate Rios in the 4 spot. You give his stats but he is nothing more than a middle of the pack hitter. I can’t see how you can support him in the 4 spot?

    I would like to move Hill down. And V-Dub up. Hill is prone to bad spells and in those bad spells it is all pop-ups and K’s he has also show in this year and in 2007 that he is capable of some pop.

    The Jays really don’t have a true #4 type hitter but Lind and Snider probably fit that bill best in the very near future.

    I don’t like Bautista as a platoon at all. He sucks ok for UT. Snider will be back this season he is a keystone in the future.

    Ideal lineup.
    Scutaro
    Wells
    Overbay (Rolen vs LH)
    Lind
    Hill
    Rolen (Millar vs LH)
    Rios
    Snider
    Barajas

  • Early

    And another thing…

    Like Cal said, Rolen is a super smart player. Rios is not. V-Dub is anything but lazy, he has been playing through injury all year and is still the best outfielder the Jays have (which is in no way a slight to the other fielders).

    Lind is developing as a dude with power both ways. He is finally starting to get his bat speed up and catch up with the constant pounding away that pitchers have been giving him. See dingers off Grienke and Feldman to LF in the last week. If he can keep up this trend look for monster numbers and he will be a great #4 hitter.

  • Rolen’s .701 OPS vs righties isn’t enough for me to keep him in the #4 spot. His .385 slugging percentage vs righties isn’t enough. Rios should give some extra power vs righties. Against lefties I could see the argument of flipping Rolen into the #4 or #5 spot but I couldn’t justify it vs righties.

    Rolen also has a 28.1% LD which I can’t see him maintaining. His career average is 21.9% and that includes his stud seasons.

    Rolen’s .333 RISP comes with a .372 BABIP. Rolen’s career RISP is .288. I can’t see him sustaining this level, thus being a big run contributor in the four spot.

    For all of Rolen’s smarts and fancy stats he only has 18 RBI in 50 games this season. Every other starter on the team has more and Millar has the same amount in 80 fewer PA.

    Flip side is Rolen’s grand total of 1 GIDP. Rios already has 10. I could see that argument.

    Although Rios GB % is dropping as the season goes on. I’ll stick with Rios in the #4 spot. Smarts aside Rolen doesn’t bring as much production to the four spot as Rios would.

  • Rolen is more of a LD hitter now due to his changed stance to facilitate his wonky shoulder. The power is down but he is more of a doubles hitter now, I see him maintaining it.

    Rolens’s 18 RBI are due to where he hits in the order.

    I have trouble with basing decisions based on an accumulative stat like RISP. Am I going to put Rolen in a key RBI role based on what he did 10 years ago? Probably not. It’s what have you done for me lately and you gotta ride the hot stick to drive in those runs.

    With Rios, runners on base score 11% of the time in his ABs. With Rolen it is 12%.

  • I can’t buy the 18 RBI due to where he hits in the order. Every other regular (including someone that hits lower in the order like Barajas) has more RBI than Rolen. Even fewer PA Millar has 18 RBI. Of course we all know how RBI go.

    “With Rios, runners on base score 11% of the time in his ABs. With Rolen it is 12%.”\

    At this point I guess its not a big deal either way.

  • Early

    Rolen doesn’t have any RBI’s because Lind and Overbay knock them in. He has as many doubles as RBI’s. That is an anomaly.

    You are still not selling Rios in the 4 spot. He is probably the fourth most capable 4th spot hitter. The DP’s are killer as is having probably their best base stealer bogged down with runners on.

    It is really popular these days to trash Rios and Wells and they have been under achieving all year. Rios’ OPS is only better than Barajas and Wells.

    Lind hit another opposite field dinger again tonight.

    Anyways, all this bickering is useless as Cito says that it doesn’t matter what the lineup is everyone has to hit with runners on and two out, etc.

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