During the winter doldrums I dream about watching baseball. St Louis Cardinals style, of course. So then I decided to put together what I feel would be the line-up card for opening day. How to construct a batting order popped into my head. What would I like to see at every spot in the order? I went back in Cardinals History and looked at some of the more successful teams and how they were put together. Here goes with the CardinalsGM lineup card.
Lead-off batters should be quicker than snot, be able to take a walk and be a slash hitter. This translates into a good on base percentage for the #1 hitter. I won’t be able to distinguish for all the batting spots but I believe in the modern era of baseball Lou Brock was the Cardinal that did this best. Looking at our currently available players for this I don’t see any real good lead-off hitters. It appears to me that Ryan Theriot is a better selection here than Skip Schumaker due to Theriot’s ability to steal bases more consistently.
Who bats after the lead-off might be a part that is most overlooked in my opinion. Now we need a player that can bunt the runner over, conduct a successful hit and run play and take a few pitches in the count to get the lead-off a chance to steal a base or two. Ted Sizemore complimented Lou Brock as well an any I can remember. Here is where our new right fielder will pay dividends. Lance Berkman has a reputation as a good eye that takes tons of walks coupled with a very good on-base-percentage.
Batting in the 3 hole is a player that has some power and can particularly be an extra base machine. Plenty of doubles would be preferred in this spot. A RBI spot needs an automatic RBI guy. I am not looking for just shear power in this spot. The Cardinals have plenty of them in their illustrious history. I would prefer to see Matt Holliday bat in this spot but Albert Pujols will be entrenched here as long as LaRussa is the manager. Remember, Tony has won a few more games than I have.
The clean-up hitter. Everyone’s bread and butter guy. Pure raw power is what I want in this spot of the order. He can be a gap hitter, too. I want someone here that cleans the bases. What he should also possess the the ability to hit a sacrifice fly to plate the runner for a run. I am putting Pujols in this spot but we will see Holliday bat 4th most of the time.
What do I see as a 5th place hitter? After all, I just cleared the bases with my clean-up guy. I want similar attributes as the 3rd hitter but I would like to see a bit more speed here to begin the process over of getting on base. Possibly more of the gap type hitter than power would prevail here. This means I put Colby Rasmus as the 5th spot hitter. 15-25 homers and 10-20 stolen bases is what I hope to get.
We go back to contact hitter at the sixth spot but with a touch of power. Somebody than can hit the ball hard and move runners along. Some managers like their second best home run hitters here but I don’t buy into that. Here I place David Freese to bat sixth if he is ready at the start of the season.
This is not a nice thing to say but the 7th place hitter is just a line-up filler. What every you have left on the field you put them here and hope for some success. Yadi Molina gets this duty in my line-up.
I give the 8th place hitter a bit more of a role in the order. This player must have some patience to take a walk or the ability to get hit by a pitch. Something to try to get on ahead of the pitcher to get him out of the way in the line-up. Skip Schumaker bats 8th for me in this batting order.
9th place hitter is the pitcher, not at the 8th spot.
So let’s recap on how to construct a batting order.
Your thoughts are always appreciated!