Ray's Ramblings - 4/3 - Batting Orders
BATTING ORDER CURIOSITIES
Xander Bogaerts is batting 6th on Opening Day for the Red Sox. Ugh. Xander hit second or third nearly all of last season, but after his second half fade last season, and the ascension of Andrew Benintendi, it seems like the Red Sox are confident that dropping Bogaerts is the correct move. I don’t see that as being the correct call at all. But hey, no one asked me (though they should have). Bogaerts is coming off back-to-back 190 hit seasons and last year went .294-21-89-115-13. The desire for the lefty/righty thing is really costing Xander here. Don’t panic if you own him, but this isn’t the news that anyone was hoping for. I would bet he ends up batting higher in the order if he just hits like he has the last two seasons.
Byron Buxton was going to hit leadoff, at least was the hope in the fantasy community heading into the season. Woke up Monday morning and lo and behold... Buxton is batting third. Obviously this is excellent news for his outlook as it was also always possible that he would be placed in the bottom third of the order. He must make better contact or he could end up there in short order. Brian Dozier is batting leadoff by the way.
Adam Eaton will hit second on Opening Day for the Nationals as Dusty Baker finally came to his senses and absolved himself of the belief that Eaton should be hitting sixth. Well, at least for one day that is. Anthony Rendon is out of the lineup with a calf issue, he could return Wednesday, and the Marlins do not have a lefty-heavy pen so Dusty was ok with going Eaton, Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper in the 2-3-4 spots in the lineup. What that all means is that we’re still not certain what the Nat’s daily lineup is going to look like.
Adam Frazier is batting leadoff for the Pirates. Don’t get all crazy though and stomp over folks on the way to the waiver-wire. Here’s what’s going on. (1) The Pirates are in need of a designated hitter since they are playing in Boston. (2) Gregory Polanco has a wonky shoulder, so the team is using Polanco at the designated hitter spot since they aren’t concerned about him swinging the lumber. Hard to think that the Pirates would let Polanco DH if they didn’t think he would be ready the first time they don’t need a DH and they need their outfielder back. He should be good to go in the field later in the week which will relegate Frazier to a support role moving forward.
Manuel Margot is batting leadoff for the Padres. It’s the spot he should full all season long if he performs as expected. He’s got the skills to contribute in the batting average and stolen base categories.
Jose Peraza will hit second behind Billy Hamilton in the Reds batting order. I still don’t think that Hamilton should hit leadoff, but at least the Reds got it right slotting Peraza in the two hole.
Not only is Tyler Saladino playing second base for the Sox to start the year, holding the seat warm until the team deems Yoan Moncada ready for the show, is batting leadoff for the White Sox. Saladino hit eight homers with 11 steals, while batting .282, least season in under 300 at-bats. His efficacy as a season long threat in mixed leagues is in doubt, but for those of you in AL-only leagues this is a solid skill set to look towards as long as his back is healthy.
Is it just me or is there some serious worry that the Orioles batting order isn’t exactly ideal? Seth Smith is batting leadoff for the Orioles, and though he posted a .351 OBP last season against righties, he’s obviously not one for that role long-term. When a lefty is on the hill he certainly won’t be in the spot, likely won’t even be in the lineup, but for those of you in daily chance leagues this is a really good sign if you own Smith.
Eric Thames is hitting second for the Brewers. Makes all the sense in the world. After all, he did crush the pelota in Spring Training with a .771 OPS and one homer, with 19 strikeouts, in 22 games. Seems like an odd fit to me.
Andrew Toles is batting leadoff for the Dodgers, and the more I see of him the more I think we may have undervalued him coming into the season. Toles is taking the spot after a solid spring, he hit .306 after batting .314 in 105 at-bats in the regular season last year. Logan Forsythe, who was thought to be the leadoff man, is batting fifth for the Dodgers.
Devon Travis (knee) was racing all spring to get healthy enough to play. He’s done it to the point that he’s batting leadoff Monday, an excellent development. As I’ve noted a lot, and folks have missed a lot, Travis has been borderline elite when on the field. In 163 career games, he’s gone .301-19-85-92-7.
BLUE JAYS 9th INNING
I dislike the World Baseball Classic. Here’s yet another reason why.
Roberto Osuna returned from the WBC with a neck issue. Supposed to be no big deal it was, but now he’s been placed on the DL retroactive to a great day, my birthday, April 1st. He could be activated in just 10 days, but that return date isn’t certain. Recall that Osuna was supposed to merely be dealing with a neck issue caused by a bad mattress. Osuna threw in games after the WBC, but his velocity was down so the team will shut him down for a bit.
While he is out, Joe Biagini and Jason Grilli will handle 9th inning work though it sounds like Grilli is in the lead for the role. Grilli is 40 years old, but he saved 24 games as recently as 2015 and he was effective over 46 outings with the Jays last season (6 wins, 3.64 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 12.43 K/9 but a poor 4.07 BB/9). Biagini will be 27 in late May, and as a rookie last season he posted a 3.06 ERA, a 1.30 WHIP with an 8.25 K/9 and 1.98 GB/FB ratio. He’s a decent fall back option if the team turns in his direction.
Ray Flowers can be heard Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday, 7 PM EDT, Wednesday 8 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 8 PM EDT PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work on Twitter (@baseballguys).