Big number nerds will tell ya, lineup order doesn’t matter all that much. And they’re right. And that’s probably doubly true when you’re counting on Jed Lowrie to both hit and field for your team but you know what? We’re gonna talk about the A’s lineup.
A team of platoons will naturally yield two different lineups, and the A’s will probably yield dozens more. They like to try weird things and the roster is often in flux.
1. Matt Joyce, RF
Joyce is an on-base machine, and with a newly refined swing, he’s going to hit some dongs too. Without elite contact skills, Joyce will fit in nicely at the top, a lineup slot in which his keen eye can be best utilized.
2. Ryon Healy, DH
The numbers say get your best hitter out of the third slot, into the second slot to increase plate appearances, particularly those with runners on base. Healy’s on base skills might be a touch low for the second slot, but we as beggars can’t be choosers, and it’d be a treat to see him drive in an effective Matt Joyce early in ballgames.
3. Stephen Vogt, C
The third hitter comes up with the bases empty and two outs all too frequently. Vogt is a good enough hitter to drive in runs in important spots when he has the chance, but he’s not fit for the four or five spot.
4. Khris Davis, LF
Cleanup hitters should be the best power hitter on the team, and surprise, Khrush is the best power hitter on the team. Slotting him fourth should give him an excellent chance to maximize the effectiveness of his home runs while minimizing the issue of his strikeout prone ways.
5. Marcus Semien, SS
Let’s all hope Semien will continue spending time in dingerville.
6. Yonder Alonso, 1B
We’re at that point in the lineup where the order no longer matters that much - the final four hitters all look roughly equally meh against righties. Should Alonso return to his non-2016 form, he should have a leg up on the rest of of the lineup, and hence win the storied battle for the #6 slot.
7. Jed Lowrie, 2B
8. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Pray for dingers!
9. Rajai Davis, CF
There’s value to having your speedster bat ninth. With Davis likely to bat numerous times with two outs and nobody on, there will be numerous cases of Davis being on first with two outs. That’ll be high time to steal, potentially snagging runs the A’s have never had before.
This lineup isn’t half bad! It’s about a third bad, with the potential for more. That’s about what you expect from a team on the mend, but there’s a chance the A’s could score some runs against righties. Last year, the A’s ranked 24th against RHP with a 91 wRC+. League average is a fine target for 2017.
1. Rajai Davis, CF
This is more a concession than a suggestion, as I think the speedy Davis against opposite handed pitching will be too much for Bob Melvin to pass up at the leadoff spot. Davis’s OBP skills still aren’t good enough to warrant batting first even against lefties (who he was actually worse against last year in a small sample), but it’s gonna happen.
2. Marcus Semien, SS
Again, maybe not the best fit, but Semien has been murder on lefties over his career, and lord knows a manager loves hitting a middle infielder second. Something just feels right about Semien in the two-hole, and while there may be better hitters, I think it works.
3. Khris Davis, DH
Davis is gonna smoke so many dingers.
4. Ryon Healy, 1B
I’m already drooling at the thought of Healy against lefties.
5. Jake Smolinski, RF
Jake Smolinski has a 138 wRC+ against lefties in his career. I am genuinely excited for this team to face lefties next year.
6. Mark Canha, LF
Seriously, Mark Canha in the six hole against lefties? If the A’s can find a way to see lefties every day, they could be playoff bound.
7. Josh Phegley, C
107 wRC+ against lefties in the seven hole? Yes please.
8. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Plouffe is a candidate to shoot up the lineup. The dude owns a 120 wRC+ in his career against lefties! Even last year, the worst of Plouffe’s career by a country mile, his wRC+ against lefties stood at 105. The dude can still hit, at least in a platoon manner.
9. Jed Lowrie, 2B
That’s a pretty good looking lineup against lefties! The A’s have been just terrible, bad, and horrid the past few years against southpaws, even when it looked like they should be good against lefties. Because of that, I fully expect them to suck against lefties but on paper, hey! This team ain’t so bad.