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RedEye
06-09-2007, 02:32 PM
Recently, I have become frustrated with Jerry Narron's propensity for lineup tinkering based on L-R matchups, hot hitters, and phases of the moon. I've always thought there was some value in trotting out a consistent lineup every day--something that a lot of great teams seem to do. Somewhat in jest, I posted a lineup on the recent "Random Thoughts" thread that I thought Narron should start every day. I quickly got a flurry of responses, and so I thought it would be interesting to post a new thread to discuss this topic in particular.

So, here is my ideal offensive lineup for this edition of the Reds. I recognize that this is purely hypothetical and operates in vacuum, but it's fun!

1) Freel 2B -- Yes, I'm still a proponent of him playing every day and of trying him at second base--at least for the sake of my ideal lineup. His OBP is usually fairly good and he has the speed you like to set the table.

2) Dunn LF -- He's got mad OBP skills, and even though he doesn't seem like a prototypical two-hole hitter, it has always worked well for him. After those two HR on Opening Day, I'm not sure why Narron ever moved him.

3) Griffey RF -- Still the best hitter we have when he's healthy. No one strikes fear in opposing pitchers like Griff, so we want him to have a guaranteed AB in the first inning.

4) Encarnacion 3B -- You do L-R when you can. Since his recall, EdE has shown the poise we all expected. He'll soon be the best situational right-handed bat we've got (if he isn't already), and I think he needs to be here, behind Griff.

5) Hamilton CF -- The Natural could very well move up in this ideal lineup within the next calendar year. He might actually be the one player on the team who could hit anywhere in the lineup with ease. Enough speed, power, and bat control to fulfill any duty in an offense. I'll hit him here for now.

6) Phillips SS -- This means Gonzo is not in my ideal lineup. Remember, I said this was a hypothetical lineup in a vacuum, and not for the real world. I do honestly think that Brandon could play SS, but that's beside the point: Freel + Phillips IMO is the better offensive combo for this team. I thought about batting Phillips higher, but his power and lack of OBP say he should be down here.

7) Hatteberg 1B -- The Pickin' Machine makes one hell of a seventh hitter. Tired after making it through the first six Reds, the poor opposing pitcher now has to take on a hitter who almost always works the count full. I like Hatte here much more than our usual suspects.

8) Ross C -- Admittedly, calling any lineup with the 2007 Ross in it "ideal" is a stretch, but I just don't think Javy is well-suited to play every day. I fully expect David to be able to hit at least .250 with a bit of power by the end of the year. That's okay for number eight in my book. Let's hope I'm right.

9) Bailey SP -- Remember, this is in a vacuum. I liked what I saw Homer do with the bat last night. He's feisty and full of enthusiasm. Plus, I wouldn't mind watching him pitch every day. ;)

I've had to take a stand on a few issues worthy of debate, most notably the absence of Gonzo. However, assuming that this is a lineup intended to work for the best possible Reds offense, I think you really need Freel in there.

Okay... I am now bracing myself for your criticism and your alternate lineups. Remember, you have to choose one lineup and not one for facing LH and one for facing RH.

Have at it!

RedsManRick
06-09-2007, 03:24 PM
1.) Hatteberg 1B -- OBP, OBP, OBP. Sees pitches. Gets on base. He doesn't have much power so his run producing ability is limited to his ability to get on base. His value is maximized by batting him ahead of guys likely to drive him in. If you put the 8 best guys on the field, Hatteberg leading off just makes the most sense to maximize everybody's skills sets. Batting Hatteberg 6th just because he's not too fast would be like batting Alfonso Soriano leadoff just because he is...

2.) Dunn LF -- Have I mentioned OBP? Seriously, there are just so many reasons for Dunn to bat 2nd. If the 1B is covering the bag, the shift is less effective. There's more benefit to drawing a walk when there is power behind him. Strikeouts and flyballs are much better than double plays. Dunn has a .74 GB/FB ratio compared to 1.30 for Phillips. Plus, the dude has some decent wheels and can score from 1st on a double.

3.) Encarnacion 3B -- Forgive me, but he does split up the lefties. There is some merit to doing that if you do it with hitters who merit the spot. He's a 50 XBH guy and a solid all around bat. Having guys on base and Junior behind him will get him a lot more fastballs. He sees more pitches and gets on base more than Phillips, who has similar power. I expect him to be a bit more consistent.

4.) Griffey RF -- The power is still there, but best of all, he's seeing 4.0 P/PA this year and his OBP is .382. I don't think it will stay there all year, but that's awesome. He's 4th instead of 2nd because he doesn't move so great anymore and his reputation, let alone his actual bat, is great protection for EE. While I'm not a massive advocate of splitting your lefties just to do it, Jr. does have a pretty significant split and avoiding having the LOOGY get Dunn and Jr. is a plus.

5.) Phillips 2B -- Phillips was built to bat 5th or 6th. Good speed, good pop, not so patient. With guys on base ahead of him, those extra base hits will drive in runs. If he gets on with them empty, he's a threat to advance himself. I maintain speed is most valuable behind your power, not ahead of it. Again, the lefties are split.

6.) Hamilton CF The talent is there, but the league is adjusting. He's get worked high and tight with two strikes and is expanding his zone. Batting lower in the order will take some pressure off, but still take advantage of his power/speed combo. If Hatteberg's OBP falls below .360, I could see a case for moving Hamilton up as it will get him some more at bats. I just feel like if he does walk, he's more likely to help his own cause than would Hatty and his power is more likely to drive in runs batting lower in the order. If he sustains an .850 OPS, he definitely should bat higher. His .718 OPS in May makes me think it's going to fall closer to .800ish.

7.) Dave Ross C Call me crazy, but I don't think he's this bad. Yes, he's always stuck out a ton, but he's also got 30 homer power and can take a walk. When he's not making much contact, it can get really ugly. However, I'll take him over AGone on the strength of his 4.30(!) P/PA. His .250 BABIP despite not hitting a ton of grounders suggests a bit of bad luck.

8.) Alex Gonzalez SS Decent power, that's it. He hits for an acceptable average, but doesn't walk. He can hit 20-25 homers and drive in 70 runs, but he's never walked more than 33 times in a full season or OPS'd over .756. I won't call this season a mirage, but he will not sustain his 35 double, 25 homer pace. He also runs better than Ross, so is a better option to have on base for the pitcher to avoid double plays.

9.) Lohse SP This is a lineup right? The man can lay down a nice bunt.

I'm sorry, but Freel is no longer the valuable player he once was. He's not getting on base like he used to and his aggressiveness is now a liability as it costs us more runs than it generates. Besides, I think we're going to see him moved to the 60 day DL soon -- I think he's in worse shape than many people think. If he could return to 2004 form, I'd put him at 2B and slide Phillips over to SS in a heartbeat. However, unless that OBP was in the .370+ range, I'd still bat him towards the bottom of the order where he can use his speed to create run scoring opportunities himself. The risk of running in to outs at the top of the lineup when they're quite able to get extra bases and drive you in just isn't worth it.

mth123
06-09-2007, 03:36 PM
Hamilton CF
Dunn LF
EdE 3B
Griffey RF
Votto 1B
Phillips 2B
Gonzalez SS
Ross C

I'm pretty set on the top 4. I could swap Votto and Phillips and could swap Ross and Gonzalez. This should be the later in 2007 and 2008 Line-up (assuming no trades) and Bruce moves in at the 6 hole in RF with Votto and Phillips each sliding up a spot in 2009. Eventually, Bruce takes the 3 spot with EdE moving to 4.

KronoRed
06-09-2007, 04:26 PM
Hamilton CF
Dunn LF
EdE 3B
Griffey RF
Votto 1B
Phillips 2B
Gonzalez SS
Ross C


I agree with this lineup, Votto should be up..today.

Benihana
06-09-2007, 06:06 PM
Not sure about this year, but I'll tell you what I like for next year:

2B Phillips
CF Hamilton
LF Dunn
3B Encarnacion
1B Votto
RF Bruce
SS Gonzalez
C Ross/Valentin

if Dunn and Griff get traded for pitching, then I wouldn't mind seeing this:

LF Freel
2B Phillips
CF Hamilton
3B Encarnacion
1B Votto
RF Bruce
SS Gonzalez
C Ross/Valentin

RedEye
06-09-2007, 06:12 PM
if Dunn and Griff get traded for pitching, then I wouldn't mind seeing this:

LF Freel
2B Phillips
CF Hamilton
3B Encarnacion
1B Votto
RF Bruce
SS Gonzalez
C Ross/Valentin

I like that lineup too, except I don't think Bruce will be up that soon. We'll probably need to find a stopgap RH bat via trade or FA and then hope to flip him at the deadline la Joe Randa or Denny Neagle.

RedEye
06-09-2007, 06:21 PM
I'm sorry, but Freel is no longer the valuable player he once was. He's not getting on base like he used to and his aggressiveness is now a liability as it costs us more runs than it generates. Besides, I think we're going to see him moved to the 60 day DL soon -- I think he's in worse shape than many people think. If he could return to 2004 form, I'd put him at 2B and slide Phillips over to SS in a heartbeat. However, unless that OBP was in the .370+ range, I'd still bat him towards the bottom of the order where he can use his speed to create run scoring opportunities himself. The risk of running in to outs at the top of the lineup when they're quite able to get extra bases and drive you in just isn't worth it.

Hold on a sec...

I agree that Freel hasn't been good this year (and that injury is looking scary), but he was pretty consistent over the last three years when his OBP was always between .360 and .370. I don't think it's fair to say that after two months of a season he is no longer a valuable player. In fact, if one or two more hits drop, Freel's OBP progresses right up to where it was the past three seasons, right?

You do have a point about him running the Reds out of innings. His speed is useless if it's not disciplined, and he sometimes seems to take risks just for the sake of taking them.

Still, he's the only prototypical lead-off hitter the Reds have right now. Hatte does get on base, but he lacks the speed you need for a table-setter. I'm not saying stolen bases are the goal always, but it is nice to have a burner who can go from first to third on a gapper and score that important first run off an ace early on in the game. Freel gives you that option. Phillips doesn't get on base enough, period. Hamilton is an interesting argument, but I feel like his power is wasted in that spot.

mth123
06-09-2007, 08:25 PM
Hold on a sec...

I agree that Freel hasn't been good this year (and that injury is looking scary), but he was pretty consistent over the last three years when his OBP was always between .360 and .370. I don't think it's fair to say that after two months of a season he is no longer a valuable player. In fact, if one or two more hits drop, Freel's OBP progresses right up to where it was the past three seasons, right?

You do have a point about him running the Reds out of innings. His speed is useless if it's not disciplined, and he sometimes seems to take risks just for the sake of taking them.

Still, he's the only prototypical lead-off hitter the Reds have right now. Hatte does get on base, but he lacks the speed you need for a table-setter. I'm not saying stolen bases are the goal always, but it is nice to have a burner who can go from first to third on a gapper and score that important first run off an ace early on in the game. Freel gives you that option. Phillips doesn't get on base enough, period. Hamilton is an interesting argument, but I feel like his power is wasted in that spot.

I think a lot of people think so. That is why I'd be shopping the heck out of him once he's healthy. The rub for me is all the outs on the bases. That OBP of .360 to .370 is effectively .330 to .340 once all the times he removes himself from base are accounted for.

Freel is a player with no natural defensive value but does pretty well in the OF because of his speed, At 31 he'll start to lose a step or so very soon. I don't count on him for much from here on out and his value could drop pretty fast IMO. It may already be too late. I think the Reds missed a real opportunity in the off-season when guys like Juan Pierre were getting 8 figures per season as teams were clamoring for lead-off, CF types. I think he should have been cashed in for a young arm or two.

RedEye
06-09-2007, 08:32 PM
I think a lot of people think so. That is why I'd be shopping the heck out of him once he's healthy. The rub for me is all the outs on the bases. That OBP of .360 to .370 is effectively .330 to .340 once all the times he removes himself from base are accounted for.

Freel is a player with no natural defensive value but does pretty well in the OF because of his speed, At 31 he'll start to lose a step or so very soon. I don't count on him for much from here on out and his value could drop pretty fast IMO. It may already be too late. I think the Reds missed a real opportunity in the off-season when guys like Juan Pierre were getting 8 figures per season as teams were clamoring for lead-off, CF types. I think he should have been cashed in for a young arm or two.

I guess my point is that in the current 'ideal' Reds lineup, a healthy Freel playing like it's last year is the guy you want in the first slot. I absolutely agree with you on every other point. I hope Wayne is smart enough to think the same.

mth123
06-09-2007, 08:42 PM
I guess my point is that in the current 'ideal' Reds lineup, a healthy Freel playing like it's last year is the guy you want in the first slot. I absolutely agree with you on every other point. I hope Wayne is smart enough to think the same.

But unless there is a DH or defense is completely ignored and you could play him at catcher, there isn't a position that he plays where he's the best option. He's still a good bench player who would start semi-frequently to give guys like Griffey rest or Hamilton a day off against a tough lefty, but if you want a set line-up he just isn't one of the 8 starters.

BTW, your idea of Freel at 2B and Phillips at SS is exactly what I wanted the Reds to go with (until Gonzalez was signed, then I wanted Freel traded for pitching), but Gonzalez has been better than expected and I think he's better than Freel. I just have a real hatred for making outs on the bases. The way some fans blindly stereotype guys who strike out as being unable to play, is the way I feel about players who make outs on base. It just irks me.

RedEye
06-09-2007, 09:18 PM
But unless there is a DH or defense is completely ignored and you could play him at catcher, there isn't a position that he plays where he's the best option. He's still a good bench player who would start semi-frequently to give guys like Griffey rest or Hamilton a day off against a tough lefty, but if you want a set line-up he just isn't one of the 8 starters.

BTW, your idea of Freel at 2B and Phillips at SS is exactly what I wanted the Reds to go with (until Gonzalez was signed, then I wanted Freel traded for pitching), but Gonzalez has been better than expected and I think he's better than Freel. I just have a real hatred for making outs on the bases. The way some fans blindly stereotype guys who strike out as being unable to play, is the way I feel about players who make outs on base. It just irks me.

Yes, I agree with all your points. That is why I wanted this thread to just be about the best offensive lineup available. I know, this makes the discussion have no bearing on the real world Reds. But that's sort of the fun of these kinds of discussions on RedsZone, no?

RedEye
06-09-2007, 09:25 PM
I suppose we might also offer the best defensive lineup the Reds have to offer. It would go something like this, I think...

Hatteberg 1B
Hamilton CF
Encarnacion 3B
Griffey RF
Dunn LF
Phillips 2B
Gonzalez SS
Ross C
Harang P

Not too sure who our best defensive pitcher is, so I just threw in Harang. Anyone have an opinion?

BoydsOfSummer
06-09-2007, 09:45 PM
Let me take a stab at it...


C--Brian McCann

1B--Lance Berkman

2B--Ian Kinsler

SS--Hanley Ramirez

3B--Ed Encarnacion

LF--Adam Dunn

CF--Curtis Granderson

RF--Griffey

:dancingco:p:

RedEye
06-10-2007, 12:15 AM
Let me take a stab at it...


C--Brian McCann

1B--Lance Berkman

2B--Ian Kinsler

SS--Hanley Ramirez

3B--Ed Encarnacion

LF--Adam Dunn

CF--Curtis Granderson

RF--Griffey

:dancingco:p:

Okay... so this is basically your All-Star lineup, right? Would that be for offense or defense? (I'm assuming offense since Dunn and Griffey are both in there).