Who bats first?


Mark Sheldon had this piece over at MLB.com about Cincinnati’s search for a leadoff hitter for 2011. There is no easy, or obvious, solution. My guess is that Brandon Phillips returns to the leadoff spot next season, but no one believes that BP is an ideal leadoff hitter. Drew Stubbs may get another shot, and he’s probably the best of the in-house candidates, as far as I can tell.

If the Reds are going to go outside the organization to find someone for this role, barring some kind of blockbuster trade, it will probably have to be a left fielder or shortstop. Sheldon mentions a few names, some who don’t interest me at all (Scott Podsednik, Coco Crisp) and one who is nothing but a dream (Carl Crawford). Anyone else available?

If I were manager, I’d pencil Ryan Hanigan into the leadoff spot five times a week. That’s how I roll.


  1. Jason1972 says:

    I would give the Pirates a SP and two good prospects for MCutchen in a heartbeat, but there is no way they part with him.

  2. lookatthathat says:

    I’ve heard several complaints about Ellsbury’s defense. They said he relies too much on his speed, and gets bad jumps and takes bad routes, which is bad news for a guy who has started to get injured. Those statments could have been in regards to when the BoSox were trying to force him into center field though to “optimize” use of his speed. That wouldn’t be a problem in Cincy in any case.

    That said, I don’t know much about Ellsbury. I’ve seen him play here and there, but Red Sox games take absolutely forever. Plus, I start getting physically ill as the conversation switches from the game to how many holes the Red Sox have, and how they are going to fill them in Free Agency. They are just like the Yanks, and I hate it when they pretend they aren’t. Woooooo. Who just blew off steam?

    Anyway. Is Ellsbury as good at everything as people think?

  3. lookatthathat says:

    I checked out some of Ellsbury’s defensive stats.

    2008 he split time at all 3 OF spots (66 for CF, 58 for LF and 36 for RF). He made no errors, though we all admit this is a terrible fielding metric. Baseball reference has his defensive runs saved above average at 14 total, with 6 in RF, 5 in LF and 3 in CF. It’s hard to make a decision on all of this in one season, but, seems to me, that the man is a corner outfielder.

    The next season seemed to support that, as Ellsbury only played center, 153 games at that, and posted -9 runs saved (while only posting 2 errors šŸ˜› )

    Then Adrian Beltre killed him, and we haven’t gotten a decent sample size to make a proper decision. That being said, he is elligible for arbitration in 2011, and made a shade under 500 K last year. He will be a free agent in 2014.

    Sticking him in left seems okay to me, but it’s going to cost a pretty penny.

  4. Bob Purkey says:

    Not that this relates to who bats first, but LF, I see that the Yankees have declined the option on Lance Berkman.

    2 questions:

    – He has played the outfield in the past, but has had knee problems recently.

    – His asking price has to be greatly reduced, How much? Was at $14MM @ age 34, so I think that he will garner DRASTICALLY lower $$ next year. Who knows, but a switch hitter for left field. . .I have mixed feelings here, especially based upon the knee and age – no more than a 2 year contract, but I am curious as to what anyone thinks about this option & what is he worth npw?

  5. pinson343 says:

    @lookatthathat: Thanks for the research. I like Ellsbury. As an offensive player, he has serious speed and he uses it. He does what you want a contact hitter to do – make contact. He knows how to steal bases. His lifetime OBP – .344 – is not outstanding of course but it’s better than what we’ve had leading off and maybe it will get better.

    I’ve been impressed by watching him – a very aggressive player, he loves to pressure a defense.

    I like what I’ve seen of him in the OF. Lookatthat’s numbers above suggest he is a good corner OFer. He would be light years better than Gomes in LF.

    Last year’s injuries might be a good thing, in terms of keeping down the price a little.

  6. pinson343 says:

    Don’t know where else to post this – how could Carlos Gonzalez be named Player of the Year by the players, over Votto and Hamilton? There’s jealousy or something weird at work there. He can’t even hit outside of Coors.

    He should be named the Coors Lite Player of the Year.

  7. pinson343 says:

    From Fay’s blog, I see that Dusty sees Chapman in the bullpen next year.
    Yet WJ has definitely said he’ll be starting next year (I suppose possibly at AAA in April).

    Do these 2 guys talk with each other ?

  8. lookatthathat says:

    Wooo. Thank goodness Jocketty has gotten that one right.

    I loves me the Dusty brains.

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