Tuesday, February 06, 2007
The Projected Everyday Lineup
Bill Ladson over at Nationals.com posted up Our Washington Nationals projected lineup and batting order for 2007, injuries permitting. Some of which, I can agree with. A few, I prefer other choices. Now, I am not sure whether this lineup comes exactly from Manager Manny Acta, himself. But, there's room for improvement.
No doubt, Felipe Lopez will be given every chance to be in the leadoff spot. Over 40 steals last season, offensively, FLop is a decent talent (fielding is a whole other area). Although I don't see Nook Logan lasting, long term, as an everyday player--he's got the speed for a leadoff hitter. No one knows if he can hit, or not--consistently.
Cristian Guzman, at the two spot? No--don't see it. For speed, and all around ability--I am pulling for Alex Escobar, and in Centerfield, not Leftfield. Alex may well sprain his ankle getting out of bed tomorrow, but I am all for Escobar receiving every single opportunity to succeed. Number 44's got talent, undeniably.
Maybe, Nick Johnson here, if he's healthy.
Ryan Zimmerman at the 3rd spot. Perfect. He was great there last season, why change it.
Nick Johnson as the clean up hitter. We don't know whether he will be ready to play come April 2nd, most unlikely right now. Nick struggled in that spot most of the past two seasons. Had quite a few, notable, failures in the clutch. He is a favorite Nats player of mine, though. But maybe better suited for the 5 spot, or 2nd spot due to his High On Base Percentage (He is a terrible runner, which doesn't help). Whether Johnson starts the season on time, or not--Austin Kearns is the High Strike Out Potential, Big Results performer, this team needs batting 4th. If Austin comes around and improves on his 2006 season--he's perfect for this spot.
In the 5th spot--either Johnson or Escobar--all for the reasons stated above. Either can do the job there.
I'm not all for the right/left/right/left batting order, that many managers use against a starting pitcher--especially since Ryan Church continues to show he hits lefthanded pitchers better than righties. Everyone knows, I am all for Church starting in left--Batting 6th. I am not expecting anything less. Break Out Season!!!
Then, traded at the July 31st, trading deadline. I can just see it.
Brian Schneider, catching, and batting 7th--decent stick, with some pop. Which leaves Guzman for 8th. Unless he turns it around in 2007--(Please Baseball Gods--Help US!!), The Guz is an automatic out, followed by the pitcher at Number 9 position. Guz just can't be that bad, again. I just can't imagine that scenario. If so, he's benched-- and Bernie Castro moves to second base, Lopez to short. Castro would be a nice speed addition at the bottom of the order, setting up the pitcher to advance him, Lopez to bring him around.
Our everyday lineup is actually average or better. Its not terrible. Church/Escobar/Kearns across the outfield. Zimmerman, Guzman, Lopez & Johnson (hopefully) around the infield. Schneider, behind the plate. You have some speed, pop in the bats, and some decent on base percentages in that lineup. Defensively, that's a pretty good lineup--not stellar, but very decent.
Off The Bench:
Larry Broadway will get his chance, probably, his last one, to make the Big League Roster, if Johnson can't go early in the season. Travis Lee gets the nod, if Broadway fails.
Kory Casto will get a serious look, although, I am not expecting him to start the season at RFK Stadium. The Nationals need Church to get hot, so Ryan can become a trading target, once again--for something good, in return.
I am very curious about Chris Snelling, the often injured outfielder, that arrived in the Jose Vidro Trade with Seattle. And, utilityman Josh Wilson. But, I honestly don't know a whole lot about their talents. Can't wait to see though.
Logan should make the team, as a backup outfielder, defensive specialist. Catcher Jesus Flores stays on the Major League Roster, all season long--no matter what. No way, Jimbo's giving him back to The Mets. Robert Fick makes the team also, due to his versatility. Not so sure about Brandon Harper, last season's back up catcher.
With Manny Acta announcing Our Washington Nationals will carry 12 pitchers to start the season--all the everyday players listed above have the best chance for filling out the remaining 13 spots. Of course, there is not much left, on the non-invitee roster, to choose from anyway.
One week away from the start of Spring Training. The African Queen and I can't wait!!