The Orioles Lineup Dilemma


The 2012 version of the Baltimore Orioles presents a difficult challenge for General Buck Showalter in terms of a threatening batting order. He certainly possesses a large cache of weapons, but how to deploy them in most effective way to do the most damage upon enemy pitchers??… That is a challenge for sure.

Before making some evaluative remarks upon the O’s arsenal, here is how I view the composition of an effective batting order:

1 – a high OBP guy who can work the count, run the bases, annoy the pitcher, and create defensive holes

2 – a bat control guy who can move the leadoff runner, hit for a decent BA and help to set the table for the big guns following

3 – the best all-around hitter on the team

4 – the best all-around power hitter on the team

5 – a very strong RBI guy who can drive the ball

6 – a jayvee version of the guy above

7 – a jayvee of the jayvee, or the best of the final three hitters

8 – the place to hide a weaker hitter or slow runner and hope for the best

9 – the weakest long ball threat, but maybe a guy who can run and produce a decent enough OBP to turn over the lineup and set the table

I understand that this entire discussion is wrought with opinions and evaluations. But here is where I see the following probable eight position players, along with the DH possibilities, naturally fitting into a batting order in light of the above-mentioned skill sets:

C – Wieters – 5,6

1B – Davis – 5,6,7

2B – Andino – 9

SS – Hardy – 2,6,7

3B – Reynolds – 5,6,7

LF – Reimold – 5,6,7

CF – Jones – 3,5

RF – Markakis – 2,3

DH – Betemit – 2,8,9

DH – Miller (Jai) – 7,8

DH – Chavez – 7,8

To skeptical reader who is thinking, “All this writer has done is to illustrate the obvious.”  To you I say, “All I’ve done is to illustrate the obvious.”  Yes, there is NO natural leadoff hitter and NO natural cleanup batter. The point I’m making is that this is a team weighted down with 5-6-7 hole hitters.

So, solutions – several players have to be chosen to bat in positions outside their natural skill set or history as of this point in their career, and make it work for the good of the team. At this moment, here is what I’d do if I was the General:

1 – Markakis

2 – Hardy

3 – Jones

4 – Wieters

5 – Reynolds

6 – Reimold

7 – Davis

8 – DH of the day / Back-up catcher, with Wieters as DH

9 – Andino

Summary Statements:

  • Markakis is the best OBP guy of the choices (.365) and works pitchers, though I grant he is not the typical leadoff guy, especially in terms of outright speed – but, this is the problem we have.
  • Wieters is the best for cleanup – as a switch-hitter and least likely to strike out of the candidates – though again, he is not prototypical and will not likely lead the team in HRs (but will in RBIs imho). He hits well with runners on base.
  • The batters in the 5-6-7 holes are relatively interchangeable – depending upon specific match-ups and who is hot.
  • There is going to be a lot of variation of lineups throughout the season. This is a far less-than-obvious challenge for Buck to figure out.

So, some of y’all out there – yell at me, interact a bit, feel free to call me a genius, whatever!