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Time Now To Revisit Lineup Order

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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  v Oakland Athletics
“Da na na na na na na na...”
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Opinions differ as to how important lineup orders are, beyond getting your best hitters more plate appearances over the course of a season by hitting them generally higher in the order. But at least most fans can agree that it’s fun to talk about, so there’s that.

Lineups evolve a bit over time, especially with a younger team, because you tend not to want to thrust less experienced players into higher profile slots. Just as closers often start their careers in middle relief and pitch their way into set up duty and then closing, good young hitters often hit 8th as a prelude to moving up to 6th and then higher.

Cases in point are the A’s Matt Chapman and the Angels’ Shohei Otani, both of whom began their careers hitting 8th and neither of whom should expect to see the 8th spot a whole lot going forward.

I think batting Chapman lower in the order made perfect sense initially, but now it’s time to put him in a spot that better uses his skill set and gives him more plate appearances. Meanwhile, it is time to abandon the idea that Marcus Semien is a #2 hitter against RHP. Here is the lineup I think maximizes the A’s lineup against RHP going forward:

Joyce - LF
Chapman - 3B
Lowrie - 2B
Davis - DH
Olson - 1B
Lucroy - C
Piscotty - RF
Semien - 2B
Powell/Smolinski - CF

Move Piscotty and Semien up and slot Maxwell in at #8 when he is behind the plate. I’m tempted to flip Olson and Davis, but the L/R balance works better as is and Davis will get as hot as he is currently cold. So while I prefer the higher OBP guy first, for now the veteran gets to bat cleanup, the rookie 5th.

Of course what I’m really gunning for is a Dustin Fowler callup, where he can perhaps bat 7th or 8th, giving the lineup more L/R balance at the bottom or at least more potential out of the #9 hole.

Another advantage of this lineup order is that it allows to find a consistent spot for Chapman, who should be an excellent #2 hitter against LHP, e.g.:

Semien - SS
Chapman - 3B
Lowrie - 2B
Davis - DH
Piscotty - RF
Olson - 1B
Smolinski - LF
Lucroy - C
Trayce? - CF

Just my two cents as the A’s try to put their best foot forward right now, while also nurturing a young team and putting guys in the best position to succeed.

Poll

What are your thoughts on lineup order?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    Agree: Chapman should move up to #2, drop Semien against RHPs
    (198 votes)
  • 22%
    Disagree: Chapman is perfect right where he is
    (77 votes)
  • 17%
    Yes, move Chapman up but the rest is poorly ordered
    (60 votes)
  • 3%
    These lineup orders are perfect
    (11 votes)
346 votes total Vote Now