Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Why Not Bat Bradley #3, Choi #5?
Tracy flip-flopped Drew and Choi over the weekend, and I would like to see another change. Just as Beltre forced his way up from the #7 spot to cleanup last year, Bradley has made a strong push to move up from his #5 spot. I would like to see a lineup where Choi drops to #5, and Bradley jumps to #3.
First off, I realize that a change in the batting order is relatively insignificant as long as something stupid isn't done. (Leave it to Tracy to bat Robles #2 and Choi #7.) Secondly, this isn't a knock on Choi, as he is starting to fulfill his potential. It's just that somebody needs to move down if Bradley moves up in the order. I don't think Drew should be the one bumped down. Even though Drew has struggled, his OBP has been quite good due to his high walk rate.
From The Hardball Times:
Drew's OBP is a tad lower than Choi's, but look at the difference in power.
Runs are mainly scored by getting men on base (OBP), and then driving them in (SLG). The top 5 batters have OBPs within 0.030, which is fairly close. Meanwhile, the difference in Drew's SLG to the power trio of Bradley/Kent/Choi is substantial. Put another way, Drew is not better suited to hit #2 than Choi, but Choi is WAY better suited to hit #5 than Drew.
In addition, breaking up Choi and Drew would prevent the opposing team from using their top situational lefthander on consecutive lefthanded batters. Similarly, when Werth comes back and probably hits in the #6 spot, Choi would break up the righthanded bats. Moving Bradley up would also give the top of the lineup a bit more speed.
It's interesting to think how good this lineup could be once Drew gets out of his slump. Compare Drew's "line drive percentage" so far this year to last year.
Once Drew starts hitting, he becomes an OBP machine. With good speed on the bases, to boot.
Many have said that Choi's power would eventually be best used in a run-producing spot. I think that now would be as good a time as any, since Choi has seemingly figured it out.