Let’s Go Tribe says that Matt Underwood is reporting Grady Sizemore will bat second in the batting order, while Asdrubal Cabrera will bat leadoff. Acta believes that dropping Grady in the order will better utilize his power and create more run production. Acta estimated that the leadoff hitter gets approximately 150 AB’s with no one on base (Which seems off actually -shouldn’t it be at least 162 ABs, or one for every game a player leads off??), and must feel that is a lot of wasted RBI opportunities.
Regardless of how you feel about the RBI stat (I don’t care for it much myself), I’m not sure this is a good move for Sizemore. The Indians should be working with him to cut down on swinging for the fences and instead focusing on his on base percentage, which has dropped a bit in recent years as his power went up. This is where Grady has the most value to the Indians – as an OBP machine that can also hit for some power, has speed, and can play good defense (albeit with no arm).
I guess I can see the logic in Acta’s thinking, which is probably, “Hey, let’s turn all those solo Sizemore homers into two-run shots!” But at the same time, wouldn’t you want your best hitter – and Grady IS the Indians best hitter right now – to have the most at bats? Especially when your best hitter is capable of producing his own offense like Grady is?
This is not a knock on Asdrubal, who would be my choice to leadoff this year if Grady wasn’t going to do so (Sorry Michael Brantley fans, he’s not ready). Cabrera is a good contact hitter and should do will in the leadoff role, provided he doesn’t put too much pressure on himself. But he’s not the Indians best hitter, (in fact, he came in third in my completely unofficial poll of myself) and therefore why should he get all the extra at bats?
Of course, this is probably much ado about nothing, and hopefully Michael Brantely can prove me wrong and become the next Kenny Lofton. But I give Acta props for being willing to shake things up, something Eric Wedge was always reluctant to do. Maybe we’ll see Kerry Wood as a starter next.