Thursday, May 25, 2006
Rather than rehash the past couple weeks, I'll just start with a clean slate.
The latest, and probably most predictable, news comes courtesy of Ian Browne's blog on MLB.com. Browne reports:
"For those of you who might be wondering if there is a leadoff controversy in store, considering how great Youkilis has done since Coco has been out, consider the issue to be over.
Terry Francona made it clear today that Coco will lead off when he comes back, which figures to be Monday night in Toronto. Youkilis said he doesn't care at all, and that spots in the order are irrelevant."
I can't say I really agree with the decision, but I'm not surprised in the least. There have been studies done that show that lineup construction has very little bearing on scoring output, but I'm not so sure how much stock I put into them.
Obviously, we want guys with high OBPs in front of Ortiz and Ramirez. If we're going to stick to this rule of thumb, Youkilis and Loretta should be manning the 1 and 2 spots. However, since Francona feels the need to employ a prototypical leadoff hitter at the top of the order, Coco will get the nod.
What can ya do? I'm sure Coco will do just fine up there, and moving Youkilis to the 7 or 8 spot will do wonders for the bottom of the order. What would be interesting is if Terry chose to move Alex Gonzalez into the 8 spot, with Youkilis batting ninth and serving as the double-leadoff hitter that Tony LaRussa has used in the past. This strategy would give the meat of the order more RBI opportunities and would surely prevent Youk from being stranded on base over and over by the putrid A-Gon.
That's all for now. More tomorrow.
P.S. - The Sabermetric stats have been updated through last night's game. I will look over them tomorrow and pull out anything of interest. Take care.