About that lineup

A few games later, and I’m reconsidering that opinion. Not so much because of the batting average or the strikeouts or the lack of steals or because he’s not a Leadoff Hitter, but because of his team leading 29 home runs and .247 ISO (which, incredibly, is higher than his batting average!). Put very succinctly, putting your best power hitter in the leadoff position makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, especially when you’re going to be sticking Ichiro Suzuki and Russell Martin directly in front of him in most games. That’s not a recipe for maximizing your opportunities to score runs at all, and though lineup construction might not mean much in the long run, such a drastic departure from an optimal configuration can easily make an outsized impact in a small sample size. Not to be pedantic, but every run counts when you’re struggling to win close games, and Granderson’s best attribute right now is that he’s got the ability to go deep in any at bat. With Alex Rodriguez out and the Yankees’ lineup built around hitting the long ball, the focus here should be getting as many runners on base in front of Granderson and Robinson Cano as possible, and putting the former at the top of the lineup card absolutely does not do that. Heck, a few months ago I seriously thought that Girardi should swap Granderson and A-Rod, moving the latter to the two-hole and putting Granderson third in the order to take full advantage of their relative power/on base skills.

The problem with the change is also compounded somewhat by Girardi’s stated rationale for the move: to avoid stacking his left-handed hitters. In some cases this would be reasonable enough, but neither Granderson nor Cano are particularly susceptible to southpaws (Cano does have a massive platoon split this year, but he’s got a career wRC+ of 110 against lefties), so it seems like the team would gain a lot more from maximizing the RBI opportunities the two are presented with than they are from sticking Derek Jeter between the two in the lineup’s upper third.

5 thoughts on “About that lineup

  1. I get your point about the power potential with Granderson. But I guess I'm old school enough to think that batting order does matter. The top of the lineup gets the most plate appearances of the game, and if that guy is stone cold, then you've got a cold hitter batting more than anyone else. I understand what Girardi is trying to do. But you're right, Granderson should be more in a power spot. My order would go something like this:

    Against right-hand pitchers: Jeter, Ichiro, Teixeira, Cano, Swisher, Granderson, Chavez, Martin, Ibanez. Ichiro is hard to double up.

    Against left-hand pitchers: Jeter, Swisher, Cano, Teixeira, Granderson, Jones, Martin, Ichiro, Nix.

  2. brian

    it's funny, batting order DOES matter but not for the reason most people think…

    it doesnt matter much in a vacuum, while william makes a good point, the #1-3 hitters ARE likely to get that 5th plate appearance in a game… but even that's minimal… there's really no difference if the manager picks the lineup out of a hat before every game, if the players were machines

    however, these are humans, egos involved, thats why i'm one fan who is ok with sort of placating players in this regard… bat these guys where u know they expect to hit unless u really can't get away with it anymore (and recent losing streak aside, they are nowhere near that point)

  3. brian

    … however, this isn't about ego's (unless ichiro won't bat 9th, and we dont know thats the case)… this is just about girardi trying to reinvent the wheel a bit, he had a good thing going in the 1st inning…

    jeter
    grandy
    tex
    cano
    grandy
    ibanez
    chavez
    martin
    ichiro

    its not perfect… u've got 4 lefties in the middle but remember, andruw jones is there to pinch-hit

    i honestly dont know what the best lineup is right now, except that it involves jeter leadoff, ichiro 9 and cano 3 or 4

    • brian

      sorry thats swish batting 5…. i debated swish/grandy in the 2 and 5 spots

  4. jay_robertson

    In that case, Brian – bat Granderson 7 or 8 until he acts like an adult at the plate. Lately his approach has defined lackadaisical.

    Although "nonchalant" would also work.

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