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!