So my little league coaching season is about to begin and I think I might have the 2001 A's team! I've got a lot of big kids taking big swings.
Anyways, as I always do after a first practice, I started thinking of my line up and how positioning each kid into a certain spot will help those around him. This is something I think recent A's teams have forgotten about line ups--that each position in the order should be designed to help the next position.
I've seen a few people post their line up ideas and I thought I'd throw mine into the mix. Also, it should be noted that I do not have Stewart starting (you can plug him into my line up where Bradley and Kotsay play as those are the players I'd have him spell from time to time).
So, based on the understanding that each hitting position should help the next and the players we have, this would be my line up for 2007:
S Bradley RF 276/370/447
L Johnson 1B 234/323/381
S Swisher LF 254/372/493
R Piazza DH 283/342/501
L Chavez 3B 241/351/435
R Crosby SS 229/298/338
L Kotsay CF 275/332/386
R Ellis 2B 249/319/385
R Kendall C 295/367/342
Bradley had the 3rd highest OBP last season. He's got speed, can hit for average and while he's got some power, he's not the 3-4-5 guy that we're trying to make him, which is why he bats lead off for me -- more AB's with the chance of doing more damage with his bat and legs.
Johnson can rip a fastball, but can't hit an off speed pitch to save his major league career. EVERYONE KNOWS the two hole is your typical fastball at-bat (especially if Bradley can get on, we actually run a bit and Swisher, with his HR power, bats behind him).
Swisher is the best (switch) hitter we've got (OBP/SLG) and while he does strike out a lot, he'll be the perfect protection for Johnson to get fastballs, which if Johnson gets on base will lead to Nick getting pitches to hit, which means more chances for runs. And I feel a break out year from him coming.
Add a the right handed power bat in Piazza (the best protection we've got for Swish), who himself can get on base (AVG/OBP) and you've got some men on for
Chavez, who everyone should now know is a good second fiddle player. Put some men on base and force a pitcher to throw him something to hit, and you should see a 30-100 season from him again.
Which brings Crosby to the plate, a right hander who if healthy you have to believe can get some gap shots in there to drive Chavez around, thus upping his RBI total and confidence.
Kotsay is, when healthy, a good average hitter who will put the ball in play, which is what you need in a number 7 hitter.
Ellis, who does well every other year (look it up) is another bottom of the line up hitter like Kotsay with some pop and the ability to put the ball in play.
Kendall ALWAYS bats last in my line up. He's got no power, but will work a count and find a way to get on base, which is what you want from the bottom of your order and by batting last, one would think he'd be in less opportunities for his usual 4-6-3 double play.