Friday, January 4, 2008

What's In A Perfect Lineup?

What makes a good lineup? Is it power? Or speed? Or attitude? It's a little bit of everything. You need to find the right balance. That was what made 2005 so successful for the White Sox. There were cries of foul play during the 2004 off-season because Kenny Williams traded away or let go of power in the lineup and replaced it with something mostly unknown.

The 2005 team was far from perfect, but they could get it done. 1 through 9 should have their own responsibility to the team. Success is a team effort, not individuals setting personal goals. A team should work together and sacrifice personal stats for the good of the team. Does that hurt sometimes? You bet! If it's done correctly, the rewards are greater than any individual goal a player should ever have.

Batter #1 - This should be a speedy guy who gets on base an insane amount of the time. He should be proficient at stealing bases and working the count. By hit, walk or hit by pitch, he should be able to get to at least first base and then distract the pitcher.

Batter #2 - This should be a guy who is a pure contact hitter. Put the ball in play, move the runner over and get himself on base in the process. Speed is a plus, but not necessary. He should have the mental capacity to sacrifice his statistics to get the runner over. Some players do not do well in this role. The second spot in the lineup is a specialty that few batters will ever possess.

Batter #3 - This should be your stud power hitter. The job is to get those runners home. The ideal candidate should be a selective hitter that can lay off of close pitches that end up being balls. He can be a threat with the long ball, the walk or a single. The most important thing is to keep the line moving.

Batter #4 - This should be a guy who could potentially be a #3 batter. His job is to be enough of a threat, that the opposition figures they should just go after the #3 hitter. He should be slightly less selective, but not in a reckless way.

Batter #5 - This should be your bottom of the upper echelon power hitter. He is a power threat, but not known for it. This way, it lulls the opposition into a false sense of security. His power sneaks up on you, but by the end of the year, he should have over 30 home runs. It is a plus if this man is a contact hitter. Should be a bit speedier than the power hitters.

Batter #6 - Mid-level speed guy. Ideally, a slap-hitting singles guy. Good contact and decent on the base paths. Not known for speed, but can pull it out when on base.

Batter #7 - Mid-level power guy. He has pop and can make contact. He should get any existing runners over. Should be slightly speedier than the power guys at #3, #4 and #5.

Batter #8 - The Oddball. This should be a fun position. The player who doesn't fit into the other eight roles as well as the others should be placed here. He should be at least two of the following three. Contact hitter, speed or power. Contact hitter should be the requisite and speed or power should be the option.

Batter #9 - Speedy guy who doesn't get on as much as #1. When he gets on base, he should be an excellent base runner. Not a guy who will get caught stealing or get caught in between bases.

The White Sox have strayed from this formula since the middle of 2006. Part of the blame can be put on Scott Podsednik's health issues. A leadoff hitter that gets on base frequently is essential for a team to win. Without it, the rest of the lineup doesn't fall in like it should. If everyone on the team does the job that they're supposed to do, winning is that much easier.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...