Hi Guys & Gals,
I am actually shocked with the A's play thus far AND the potential for the remainder of the year. This is my first thread. Sorry for grammar mistakes. What's an A's fan without the errors though, right?
If Texas gets a little banged up, and they do have quite a few players with injury history, they will be knocked down a notch. If the Angel's continue to struggle to produce runs, they obviously will be a non-factor.
But ... what I really want to know from you guys -- Where does Manny bat in this line-up (assuming he can still hit just a little bit). Let's face it, a .240 hitter with some strong power numbers would arguably be the best hitter on this team. I don't do the FIP/RC/OPS. I just watch and judge for myself without any mathematical facts to back me up.
I see Manny as DH (obviously) and #5 hitter in our lineup, and here's a little why:
1. Weeks -- Guys are gonna struggle-- bottomline. It's completely insane to send him down to minors as I've see suggested in a couple threads. It also doesn't help Weeks that the #2 hole has been a circus act this year, mostly due to Coco being injuring, butt-hurt, or whatever. He has no protection in the leadoff spot. Pitchers can attack him aggressively without much consequence.
2. Coco -- The last sentence will change once Coco returns to the lineup. He provides speed, a little patience, and contact. This is no-brainer to me unless Weeks struggles beyond May 31st.
3. Reddick-- I like how he is aggressive early in the count, at least he has been throughout his young career. He's a solid 3 when he develops, lets hope by inserting a decent Manny in this lineup he will see more hit- able pitches.
4. Cespedes -- Ideally, I would like Cespedes to bat in the 1st inning because of his production, but he swings and misses too much to be a true #3 (maybe in a year or two).
5. Ramirez-- This will provide protection for Cespedes. He will see more fastballs with Manny behind him. Great pitchers are going to continue to feed him dominant secondary stuff, but we will beat up on 3's, 4's, and 5's in rotations(like good teams do!) With Manny's lack of speed, the 5-spot will be our 2nd cleanup spot. He's station-to-station and can not hit higher in this lineup. IF we go 1,2,3 and leadoff with Cespedes to start 2nd inning ... if he reaches, he can snag a bag and allow manny to reach if they pitch around him. This will become pivotal much more so in later innings, when we can pinch-run for manny, and utilize our depth at DH (with RH or LH matchups).
6. Suzuki-- The greatest trouble spot in our lineup. Suzuki has a little pop, can drop down a bunt, and is clutch (but over-rated in that category). It just so happens he's more clutch than the other 8 we run out there.
7. Barton-- This may not be a good spot on the lineup for Barton, but really, which one is? He's going to get attacked in the zone from the #2 hole, and at bottom of lineup. And if he's gonna watch strike 3 go by, I'd rather him do it from bottom of lineup than kill a potential rally at the top of the lineup. I like Barton, but for now I want him out of the way of our true hitters.
8. Inge-- There's really no where else to put him. Hopefully he can provide some pop and surprise runs from this very weak bottom of lineup.
9. Pennington-- With his speed, and to keep the alternating LH & RH hitters, he must hit 9th. We have some very nice speed at 9, 1, 2 to mix up the pop we have 3, 4, 5, and 6,7,8 (we gotta put these guys somewhere).
If Barton starts to hit consistently he can flip with Suzuki, especially against righties. After writing this post I'm becoming more discouraged about our offense unfortunately. We can also throw Gomes or Smith in DH/LF to give guys a break. Smith needs at-bats, I like his approach at the plate. That makes the bottom of our lineup a little more respectable, but creates the same problem we've been having at the #2 hole. I wish we had a guy who crushes lefties, like we were supposed to have last year. Its too bad we have two lefty 1b, but we do have flexibility at LF/CF/DH.
Anyway, where do you guys think he hits in the lineup ASSUMING he can still hit??