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Cubs Batting Order Analysis - Part II

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

This is part II or a II part series on the Cubs line-up construction. Part I is either directly below this post on the page... or here.

Before we resume, lets review the color code key.

Color Code Key
 Prime batting spot
 Acceptable batting spot
 Shouldn't be hitting here

Todd Walker

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Todd Walker would be a starting second basemen on most clubs. Unfortunately for Walker, the Cubs off-loaded a future Hall of Famer for a super-utility player who has two redeeming characteristics:

He is a true leadoff hitter
He is an excellent second baseman

So, in Byron Land... and I suspect in Cub Land, Todd Walker is going to be riding the bench a few more times than he planned when he re-signed with the Cubs this winter.

Fortunately for Walker he also has two redeeming qualities

He bats left-handed
He can actually hit well. Both for power and OBP

In fact, Walker's high OBP would make him a prime candidate to lead off if JHJ isn't playing. However, his footspeed makes him a better candidate to hit as a traditional #2 batter.

If JHJ is also playing, Walker is better suited to hit down in the order in to allow the team's best hitters to get a few more at-bats. As a result, I see Walker hitting anywhere from 5-8. His best spots are probably 6 or 7, followed by the five hole and then the eight hole. I've got Walker in the five spot because I like his high OBP and decent speed. This would come in handy since he'd be hitting in front of Corey Patterson.

Todd Hollandsworth

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Despite his stellar performance in an injury shortened 2004, Todd Hollandsworth is a .279/.336/.447 hitter (AVG/OBP/SLG). As such, I can't see hitting him any higher than sixth in the order.

As a hitter, Holly is pretty good at making contact, and is thus an effective hitter in small-ball situations. My gut tells me he would be best in the seven spot, but valid arguments can be made for having him sixth or eighth. If he continues hitting like he did last year, maybe #2, but probably not.

Finally, it should be mentioned that Hollandsworth is also a lefty. So in any lineup configuration, you'll want to make sure that he doesn't bat next to Corey Patterson or Todd Walker... a maxim which should be ignored from time to time.

Henry Blanco

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

I can't say I've ever seen him hit except for a handful of at-bats this spring. So, at the risk of stereotyping... he should never hit anywhere but #8. He's a catcher, and he has a career .216/.288/.356 line. So, really, he shouldn't be batting at all... but since Michael Barrett can't be expected to catch 162 games... when he bats, its #8.

Jose Macias & Neifi Perez

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

No, I did not forget to color in the boxes... they are all black, indicating neither of these men should ever bat... in any situation. Here is why:

Jose Macias career: .257/.301/.378, 39 sb, 18 cs, 1469 AB
Neifi Perez career: .269/.301/.380, 48 sb, 40 cs, 4190 AB

These lines are scary bad. I don't think either belongs on the club... but if we're voting, I'm voting Neifi off the island. Macias brings more defensive flexibility, a stronger arm, and a better stolen base percentage indicating either more speed or better base running judgement. At one point this season, one of these guys will be called upon to pinch run, and that could mean an extra win. So Neifi loses out when the Cubs keep Dave Hansen.

Dave Kelton

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

If he makes the club, he should only bat eighth. He is a rookie and he doesn't have speed... or a track record of being a top of the order guy. I have a feeling the question will be moot as I can't imagine he'll be on the big-league roster after tax day.

Dave Hansen

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

If Hansen makes the club, he could potentially transform this team from a good team to a great team? Why? Well, he is one of those veteran professional hitters who can hit off the bench and spell Aramis Ramirez at third... without letting Jose Macias bat. (That alone could be worth 3-5 wins.)

Hansen's career line is a respectable .264/.365/.374. Oh, Did I mention he bats left handed?

As for lineup placement? Bottom half. Doesn't really matter where. I'd say because he is no speed burner, it might make sense to bat him seventh in front of a guy like Jason Dubois who can take a shot at the bleachers in front of the pitcher's slot in the lineup.

Look for Hansen to be placed on the active roster when he recovers from his appendectomy. I've got my money on Neifi Perez getting the axe, but it could just as easily be Jose Macias.

March 30, 2005 Record: 14-15, Box HoHoKam Park, Mesa AZ
ST#29 Chicago Cubs 5
Colorado Rockies 4

March 29, 2005 Record: 13-15, Box, Phoenix AZ
ST#28 Chicago Cubs 13
Milwaukee Brewers 6

March 28, 2005 Record: 12-15, Box, HoHoKam Park, Mesa AZ
ST#27 Chicago Cubs 7
Seattle Mariners 11

March 27, 2005 Record: 12-14, Box, HoHoKam Park, Mesa AZ
ST#26 Chicago Cubs 5
San Diego Padres 9

March 26, 2005 Record: 12-13, Box, Tucson AZ
ST#25 Chicago Cubs 6
Colorado Rockies 7

March 25, 2005 Record: 12-12, Box, HoHoKam Park, Mesa AZ
ST#24 Chicago Cubs 4
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 6

Finally, at the end of this interminal post. I wanted to thank David Pinto of Baseball Musings for linking to my post yesterday in his post. If by some chance you don't already regularly read Baseball Musings, I strongly encourage that you do.

Posted by Byron at March 30, 2005 8:22 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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