My Pre-Spring Training/Opening Day Starting Lineup
Spring Training is less than a month away, but just for the fun of it, I decided to fill-out the Padres’ starting lineup. I thumbed through the Padres’ roster and decided who I would like to see one through nine.
There are a few surprises, and some obvious choices. If you don’t agree with my starting lineup, post your lineup in the comment box below. I am interested to see how your lineup stacks up against mine.
Here is my pre-Spring Training/Opening Day starting lineup:
1. Everth Cabrera – Despite speculation of moving Logan Forsythe to shortstop to make way for Jedd Gyrko at second base, I envision the 26-year-old Cabrera to be the guy at short on Opening Day. Cabrera’s speed on the base paths is why I have him batting first in the lineup.The leadoff hitter is the table setter for the whole lineup, and with Cabrera’s speed he can make things happen. Cabrera stole his way to win the National League’s stolen base title with 44, and set a team a team record with a 91.7 percent stolen base success rate. The downside to having the speedy shortstop at the leadoff spot is the fact that he has trouble getting on base. Last year, he had a .246 batting average and a .324 OPS. To be an effective leadoff hitter, Cabrera needs to put the ball in play more. Last season he struck out a ton, 110 times to be exact. Nonetheless, I think Cabrera will improve his offensive game in 2013, and for that I’ll have him being the table setter at the top of the lineup.
Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
2. Logan Forsythe – Forsythe was injured for the better part of last year, but he did manage to play in 91 games. In those games, Forsythe showed he can be a solid offensive player in the Major Leagues. The right-handed hitter is ideal for the No.2 spot in the lineup because he knows what he is doing at the plate. Forsythe is a good contact hitter. If he doesn’t get on base, he will put together a productive out by advancing the baserunner(s). Opposing pitchers better not fall a sleep on the Padres second baseman because he can hurt them with the long ball, especially in clutch situations. Last year, Forsythe drilled nine home runs while driving in 26 runs. He also posted a .273 batting average in 315 at-bats.
3. Chase Headley – Last year, Bud Black penciled Headley in the three-hole, and boy was Buddy Black rewarded. As the Padres’ cleanup hitter, Headley put himself in MLB’s MVP race, won his first Silver Slugger Award, a Gold Glove and took the National League’s Player of the Month honors for August and September. If that is not enough for you, the Padres’ MVP beat out Ryan Braun for the NL’s RBI title. The switch-hitting third baseman is clearly the best hitter on the team. He can do it all, hit for average, power and draw a walk. Headley batted .286 last season with 31 home runs and 115 RBIs. He also had a .376 OBP. Do I have to further explain why Headley is my No. 3 hitter? I think not!
4. Carlos Quentin – Everything Quentin hits is hard. That is why he is batting cleanup in my lineup. Throughout Quentin’s seven Major League seasons, he has been an RBI machine. Last year, the stocky left fielder banged 16 home runs with 46 RBIs in just 86 games. He did all this while playing on a bum knee that caused him to miss majority of the season. If Quentin can play in 120 plus games in 2013, it will be frightful to see the ridiculous offensive statistics he can put up. It is important for the cleanup hitter to clear the bases and Quentin has shown he can do that. The hometown kid owns a .253 lifetime batting average, 137 career home runs with 429 RBIs and a .492 slugging percentage.
5. Yonder Alonso – Alonso is a good No.5 hitter because he has the ability to get on base, hit for power and drive in runs. If you need a double, then call on Alonso, who seemed like that was all he hit this past season, placing in the top 10 in the NL with 39 doubles. The left-handed hitter not only hits doubles, he also gets multiple hits a game. He had 10 multi-double games in 2012, the most in the Major Leagues since 2006. With the outfield fence at Petco Park moved in for 2013, Alonso is the player who stands to benefit the most. A lot of his doubles would have been home runs if he were playing in a more hitter friendly ball park. Last season, the rookie first baseman put together a .273 batting average with 9 home runs, 62 RBIs and a .348 OBP.
6. Cameron Maybin – Maybin struggled a bit last year, but I think he can bounce back and put together the same type of statistics he had in 2011, his first year with the Padres. The speedy center fielder has all the make up to be a five-tool player. He has moderate power, blazing speed, could hit for average and his defense is rock solid. I would have probably listed Maybin higher in the lineup if it wasn’t for his struggles with the bat last year. I also feel he can add some much needed speed and power at the bottom of the lineup. I would also like to see Maybin cut down on his strikeouts. In 2012, he had a .243 batting average, eight home runs, 45 RBIs and 26 stolen bases. He did strike out 110 times too,
7. Kyle Blanks – Having Blanks in the lineup is a risky proposition, considering the fact he hasn’t hit Major League pitching in almost a year. Blanks underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012 and should open 2013 completely healthy. Although Blanks hasn’t played in a while, I still have him in the Padres starting lineup simply because of his talent level alone. The 6’6″, 270 pound right fielder can crush the ball with the best of them. In 2010, his rookie season, Blanks clubbed 10 home runs in just 148 at-bats. The seventh spot in the lineup is a good spot in the lineup for Blanks to get back in his groove. The end of the lineup is considered to be a less of a pressure situation.
8. Nick Hundley – Hundley was a disappointment last year after he signed a $ 9 million, three-year year contract.The Padres 2012 Opening Day catcher was so horrible that he was demoted to Triple-A Tucson. Hundley was never able to get it together as he had a woeful .157 average with three home runs and 22 RBIs. Hundley’s 2012 performance is the reason why I have him batting eighth.
9. Pitcher – Sorry Tony La Russa, but if you’re a National League team then the pitcher holds down the ninth spot in my book. Unless, of course, you’re Babe Ruth.
This is my starting lineup, what’s yours. Let me know in the comment box below.