Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tigers Opening Day Lineup




It's here! Jason Beck revealed the Tigers opening day starting line-up this morning:

Ian Kinsler 2B
Torii Hunter RF
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Victor Martinez DH
Austin Jackson CF
Alex Avila C
Nick Castellanos 3B
Alex Gonzalez SS
Rajai Davis LF

My first thought is that Jackson might not be a good man to bat behind Cabrera and Martinez given that he has not hit well with runners on base (.260 versus .288 with the base empty) in his career.  So, swapping Hunter and Jackson might make sense.  Those kinds of splits tend to even out over time though, so it may not matter.

Another observation is that Davis has been inserted as the number nine hitter versus a right-handed starter.  At first glance, it might seem that the speedy Davis would be a good "second lead-off man", but he has a .650 OPS lifetime versus right handers lifetime (as opposed to .779 versus lefties).  The lefty/right split is not one that is likely to correct itself, especially not after 1,758 plate appearances versus righties.  So, why not see what the lefty hitting rookie Tyler Collins can do?

13 comments:

  1. Ok my lineup prediction got busted on the first entry, I had AJ leading off for us. And kinda disappointed that Castellanos is batting 7th, I had him 6th, but I'd rather see him anywhere from 2-5 than to see him at 7. I don't want to wait that long to see him hit and I want to see as many atbats from him as possible and practical. And I'd rather see Tyler Collins play over anybody in the OF except AJ. So I very much agree with you, and our 8-9 hitters I'd just rather see NEVER play, because we should have better players than them on the roster.

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  2. Scottwood at motownsports did point out a reason why Collins might not be starting on opening day: http://www.motownsports.com/forums/detroit-tigers/102758-opening-day-lineup.html#post3056704 Shields, the Royals starter, does better versus lefties than righties. I'm still hoping Collins gets most of the starts versus RHP though.

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    1. Indeed a great point. I don't care though. I'm going with the young unknown Tyler Collins any chance I can find an excuse to do so. I don't like our OF group at all. I would find an excuse to put Ben Guez out there before other players too, and if not him I'll find more young OFs we have that can play too.

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    2. Also to provide an official counterpoint, just because a player performed in the past better under one Split scenario doesn't mean it is true. With hundreds of pitchers out there it's always going to be possible to have a statistical outlier where one Pitcher happens to perform reverse to tradition. So for all of Shields' future years, he may just as well go back to traditional performance on that split comparison, so for all we know it still makes more sense to have a natural matchup advantage unless you have some analysis for why he is going to perform against the natural grain because that is his particular nature. Could just be statistical randomness as some pitcher in baseball would have to statistically score more skewed than everybody else. So I don't automatically accept that he's better at the reverse matchups.

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  3. I think it is fair to say that if R Davis is starting against RH pitchers, then the organization has not dealt very effectively with Dirks' injury.

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    1. Sounds fair to me. I'm quite disappointed with this team so far and we haven't even seen a pitch yet. But then again that was the state I was in every previous season as well. And it really angered me when Cabrera complimented how great our Front Office is during his last presser. I understand the FO is GREAT for Cabrera, but for him to say that and add that in really pushed my buttons. I am now at an all-time low on Cabrera cause now he is way overpaid and he's complimenting a FO that I think is doing a very bad job. I'm not very happy right now. Hopefully we get off to a hot start to ease the pain.

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  4. Davis is in the lineup because of the, um, speed thing. This could prove to be a great advantage. Provided he gets on base.

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    1. That's fine, but then make sure he has the Steal sign instead of not attacking the bases. We haven't done very well in the running game in any season I have seen yet on a number of levels. We have always been very conservative with Stealing in addition to not teaching our players how to think properly about making other running decisions. That has to stop and Ausmus needs to be on top of things.

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    2. This is cliche, but you can't steal first base. Davis has a .297 OBP vs. RHP, .354 versus LHP. He makes a good platoon player and pinch runner.

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    3. Yeah I agree with this, keep Davis ON THE BENCH, and put him on 1B when the time is right, such as when one of our nondescript SSs get on base as one example.

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  5. Smoking LoonMarch 30, 2014

    Avila any higher in the order than #8 is bad for business. I'd bat either C #9 but for the "2nd leadoff" idea with either Davis/Collins or (even) Gonzalez/Romine, an idea I favor. I can't see giving Avila more ABs (over the long haul) than Castellanos, that's for sure.

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    Replies
    1. Oh hey SL great to see you chime in over here!

      Well I agree, we SHOULD have 8 guys that are better hitters than Avila in the lineup. But our SS is currently a hitting Black Hole, and I'm not very high on Davis' bat either, so I'm glad those 2 guys are the bottom 2 hitters in the lineup. I think we need to desperately hope for Avila to step up and I think if Ausmus is a good Manager that he can help Avila with hitting tactics and he should show much improvement as a hitter. I'd be challenging Avila due to lack of other players worth giving atbats to, so I don't mind it, just get the job done with him so he can be more effective than we have seen recently.

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  6. Well turns out Gonzalez was in the right spot in the lineup today! What was the prize if somebody guessed he would have two big hits today to win it and make up for the earlier error?

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