Just because the number of good 3rd basemen are scarce does not mean a pretty good player is elite. It might make him more valuable but not elite. Remember playing in NY pumps alot of athletes up and makes them overrated . Imagine if Chipper played his whole career with the Yankees. I doubt he would ever just get a 1 minute segment on Sportscenter if he announced his retirement.
#22 – I wouldn’t want to completely discount the possibility that guys are comfortable in certain spots in the order but I don’t know how much it actually comes in to play. It think it gets overstated.
These guys are major leaguers. Baseball is such a repetitive game and these guys have been playing almost every day at a fairly high level, against other professionals, since they were 18-22 years old. When a guy is at the plate, I seriously doubt that he’s thinking, “oh, I’m in the second spot in the order today so I’m really feeling the pressure much more so than usual.” Maybe I’m just being naive.
I guess where it could come in to play more is if a guy gets dropped in the order and he reads it as a slight or presses. But I even have my doubts that that is a huge factor. I just suspect that most guys who make it to the major league level are extremely professional, in the highest sense of the word. They may not like being pushed down in the order but I suspect that guys who make it to the majors have extreme focus, in addition to talent and personality, to overcome what they might perceive as a slight, in addition to overcoming lots of other factors which impacts on performance we sometimes overstate.
@26 – On top of being top 3 in the MLB at his position (which I think qualifies a player as elite), Wright is an elite player overall. I think you’re not giving him credit because his last three season have not looked as nice statistically. That’s happened for two reasons:
1) in both 2009 and 2011 Wright struggled with head and back injuries, limiting his effectiveness for long stretches, and
2) in 2009 the Mets moved to the cavernous Citi Field. His numbers over this three year period have been noticeably, but not drastically, better on the road, particularly his power numbers. In this case, NYC worked against him. The Mets moved the fences in this year, and I’d be willing to bet that as long as Wright stays healthy, he will have a monster season.
A few numbers to back this up. Wright was top 10 in offensive WAR in 2005, 2007, 2008. He was #5 in the league in WAR in 2007 when he was only 25. In 2008 he was just outside the top 10. Despite his numbers being diluted by 3 seasons at Citi and a few years of injury, he still has a career 135 OPS+ and a career OPS of .890. In comparison, Vlad Guerrero has a career OPS+ of 140. Chipper of 141. All of this looks elite to me, especially for a guy who probably has 5-7 more years of productive baseball ahead of him.
Former MLBer (and one-time Brave) Jim Bouton on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” this past weekend. He’s promoting his book Ball Four now out on e-book. Some great quotes: “What doesn’t excite me about the game [today] is the stepping out of the batter’s box. What are you stepping out of the batter’s box for? After every pitch, the guy’s gotta step out of the box, fix his glove…all that. If they eliminated velcro it would knock 20 minutes off of every game.” “AND I don’t like guys hitting home runs and raising their arms up like they just discovered a cure for cancer. In our day, you hit a home run, you ran around the bases, you went in the dugout and you shut up. You know why? Because it’s just a home run. It’s not a religious experience.” The host asked, “Did you ever hit one?” Reply: “I never hit a home run.” (some thought) “All right, so maybe I would’ve raised my hands.”
I hate the flat bills, and they’re not going away. I help coach a middle school team, and all our kids wear the flat bills. They love it. I think we’re all just gonna have to get used to it. And FYI, I’m not getting lumped in with you “old folks”.
That said, Meds was on it last night. Just a bulldog on the attack.
Really enjoyed the show guys, and I love this winning baseball stuff. Time to win the series. Go Braves!
Steve @36, all the in-depth studies suggest you want your best hitters hitting 1st, 2nd and 4th, with the best sluggers hitting lower and the better on-base guys hitting higher.
I would prefer McCann 4th and Heyward 2nd or even leadoff, although 2nd is probably ideal.
And the idea behind not putting your very best hitters 3rd is that they will on average come to the plate with fewer runners on than the 4th or 5th hitters.
I think it’s good to have a decent slugger in the two whole because a slugger can advance the leadoff man without the manager feeling like he has to use up an out and bunt the leadoff guy over, if the leadoff guy is on base.
I think by far the biggest mistake managers make regarding a lineup is putting a weak hitter, who may be a contact hitter and a good bunter but who can’t hit, in the number two spot.
Why not put a traditional number three hitter in the two spot instead? That way you aren’t wasting an out and using the number two hitter to advance the leadoff man one base in order to get him in scoring position for the 3-5 hitters. I’d rather just have the leadoff man on first and the 3-5-type hitters trying to drive him immediately following the leadoff man, than have an out on the board and the leadoff hitter on second.
We’re lucky this year because the only options for Fredi there are Prado and Heyward and maybe Chipper. None of those players are bad options; unlike Alex Gonzalez or McClouth.
Steve, regarding Heyward being the leading slugger, I’m not sure that’s his true talent level. When all is said and done this season, I think he’ll be up there but I think he’s more of a decent slugger with great on-base skills.
I like this lineup because it puts our speed at the front of the order with good RBI guys hitting behind them. I like Prado at the bottom of the order because it keeps our 7-8-9 from becoming a complete black hole and turns over the order quicker, imo. Having speed at 1 and 2 puts more pressure on opposing pitchers and defenses. Jason looks like he’s picked up a thing or two from Bourn, and both have elite speed.