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View Full Version : Top of the Order & the Winning Formula


nebraskasox
05-16-2005, 02:18 PM
Looking at stats I noticed that Pods leads the Sox with an OBP of .391. By comparison Ichiro's OBP is .405. Not bad. Scott is 2nd on the team in walks with 21 behind Paulie's 24 and has the fewest strikeouts among the regulars with 12. Of course, he leads the majors in SB with 23. The leadoff part of the winning formula appears to be working like a charm from a stats standpoint. That doesn't even consider the intangible of wrecking havoc on the basepaths (recent pickoffs aside) and affecting the opposing pitcher's concentration.

Iguchi follows with good bat control and the highest average among regulars on the team. (He could cut down on strikeouts though). Considering that he is new to the league, this guy might get even better. So, the top of the order is a big contributor to the team's success so far. These off season moves look great at this point.

Now if we can just get the expected production from 3-6 in the order, the Sox will be even tougher to beat, if that's possible. This will need to happen since the pitching is regressing toward the mean. Like the .750 winning percentage, it will be tough to maintain a near 3 ERA in the AL. Garland and Hermanson can't keep up this pace.

One poster noted that Frank batting 3rd could be the the final piece in the puzzle to jump start this offense. I think we're going to need it. Could it be that this team's ultimate success will rest with arguably the franchise's best offensive player ever? I hope we find out soon what the big man brings to the party.

DaleJRFan
05-16-2005, 02:35 PM
Podsednik and Iguchi have been fanstatic. Every time Pods gets on base, everyone gets excited. Iguchi is a good contact hitter and can move the runner along as he has shown (not including Sunday's game). Podsednik is an old school throw back OBP guy and I love that we have him. I could care less if he hits 200, as long as that OBP is around 400, he gets an A+.

I think that having Aaron Rowand batting 3rd has been, and will prove to be, beneficial. Aaron is starting to hit and he is a high-SLG% guy. Even when he makes outs, they are hard line drives. I really hope that Ozzie will keep him in the #3 spot, even with Big Frank returning. Aaron is hitting 350+ since he was moved to the #3 spot. With Frank hitting cleanup directly behind him, I'd have to say Aaron would see a lot of good pitches to hit. Bench Dye and put Everett in the outfield (flame me if you want) and I think we have a pretty stout lineup, 1 through 9.

Podsednik
Iguchi
Rowand
Thomas
Everett
Konerko
Pierzynski
Crede
Uribe

mealfred13
05-16-2005, 02:35 PM
I have to tend to agree with you here. We have arguably one of the best #1 and 2 hitters we've had in years, and they're doing exactly what a number 1 and 2 hitter should be doing, and have been all season. Other than that, with the exception of Everett in the DH spot, the middle of the order has been pretty much dead. Still, I'd hate to see where we might be if Konerko wasn't at least driving in runs, even though his average is now dipping below .200.

Frater Perdurabo
05-16-2005, 02:37 PM
Excellent analysis. Frank will be the key. Pods and Iguchi will have one of the greatest hitters in baseball hitstory batting behind them, and Frank will have the best 1-2 combo hitting in front of him. That's why I think Frank should return to the #3 spot, with Rowand batting lower to drive in runs.

The only leadoff hitter with whom Frank has played that might be better than Pods is Tim Raines of 91-93. The only #2 hitter as good as Iguchi has been so far in that role is Ventura, and he only regularly hit in front of Frank in 91 and even he didn't hit .320 that year. (IIRC, that's part of the reason they moved Robin down in the order to take advantage of his power to generate RBIs. That and Steve Sax....) Iguchi is better than Joey Cora. I personally like what Pods brings to the table more than Tony Phillips or Ray Durham.

So, when Frank comes back, IMHO the Sox will have the best 1-2-3 since at least Raines-Robin-Frank of 1991 when Frank finished 3rd in MVP voting. (Now, if they could just get Konerko to be like Julio Franco of 1994....)

DaleJRFan
05-16-2005, 02:38 PM
seriously, am I the only one who thinks Rowand should hit 3rd and Thomas 4th?

Flight #24
05-16-2005, 02:42 PM
Personally, I'd rather see if we can get Konerko going. So bat Frank 3d & Paulie 4th. he'll get more pitches to hit and could drive in a ton of runs. ARow's going to be OK on his own (IMO), but Paulie needs a bit of assistance.

Ol' No. 2
05-16-2005, 02:47 PM
seriously, am I the only one who thinks Rowand should hit 3rd and Thomas 4th?I've been thinking the same thing and I'm still on the fence. Frank's BA isn't what it was, and he may be more suited to be a #4 hitter. It worked pretty well last year before Ordonez got hurt. Let's wait and see how well Frank hits when he returns. It could still be a while before he's shaken all the rust off.

mealfred13
05-16-2005, 02:48 PM
If you all recall, Rowand was hitting in the .400s when he was put in the 1 or 2-hole last year. That's not to say I'd rather have him batting at the top of the order over Pods or Iguchi, but it's something to think about when we're wondering why he's not doing quite as well in the 5 or 6 spot.

As someone mentioned, Rowand has been hitting in the .300 range since being moved up to the 3 spot, and I get the feeling he's a little more comfortable at the top of the order. I know he has good power and can drive in alot of runs, but he also has the ability to be more of a high-average hitter than just an RBI guy. I'd like to see him closer to the top of the order even when Frank comes back, because having him bat third with Frank at cleanup means he won't get pitched around much, especially when runners are in scoring position with Frank on-deck.

I get the feeling having a Rowand #3 and Frank at clean-up could be HUGE as far as giving Rowand some good pitches to hit with the threat of Frank right behind him, not to mention having Paulie in the #5 spot if they decided to pitch around Frank.

TaylorStSox
05-16-2005, 02:51 PM
seriously, am I the only one who thinks Rowand should hit 3rd and Thomas 4th?


Frank's too selective to hit in the 4th hole. His OBP. will move runners over without sacrificing AB's.

MeanFish
05-16-2005, 02:57 PM
Frank's too selective to hit in the 4th hole. His OBP. will move runners over without sacrificing AB's.

Aaron is more apt to actually bring the guys at the top of the order home. There's a point in the order where you stop moving runners over and you start adding runs. The guy hits a huge number of doubles, which would put two runs on the board every time. Aaron is looking darned good in the 3-spot and when Frank comes back he'll have the ability to keep the line moving with his tremendous OBP, plus give Paulie and Jermaine/Carl more pitches to see.

I also think Frank will be a little more hospitable to Aaron as far as letting him bat third. The two train together in the offseason and, it seems to me, get along very well.

FGarcia34
05-16-2005, 02:58 PM
I really think our lineup when Frank returns really depends on who has got the hot bat. I'm sure once Frank gets back, he will not be immediately in the 3 or 4 spot, but more like the 5 or 6 spot so he can see some fastballs and get goin. when frank immediately returns, our lineup should be something like this...

Podsednik
Iguchi
Rowand
Konerko
Dye/Everett
Thomas/Everett
Pierzynski
Crede
Uribe

Then, once Frank gets goin, I would like to see our lineup maybe change to this...

Podsednik
Iguchi
Thomas/Everett
Konerko
Rowand
Dye/Everett
Pierzynski
Crede
Uribe

balke
05-16-2005, 03:01 PM
seriously, am I the only one who thinks Rowand should hit 3rd and Thomas 4th?

I'm actually kinda curious where Uribe goes when Frank comes back. There may be major lineup tinkering when/if Frank comes back. I think Pods is by far the best leadoff hitter, Iguchi is the best #2 because he hits the ball and can bunt while having above average speed. Then I like Uribe for clutch hits, and moving the runners along, and power. I don't have the stats in front of me (on 56K today) but from what I've seen Uribe's been more effective than Rowand at the plate. I am wondering if Uribe doesn't go to #3, with Frank at clean-up, PK #5 then whatever else from there.

Jerome
05-16-2005, 03:03 PM
The top of the order has been amazing this year. I've said before that our main problem last year was the top of the lineup. If we put this years Podsednik and Iguchi at the top of last year's lineup we're in the playoffs for sure. If those two guys were getting on base, all those HR's last year would have had a lot more meaning.


Also, it just seems to me like we are scoring more in the first inning. Keep it up Podzilla and Gucci.

TaylorStSox
05-16-2005, 03:03 PM
Aaron is more apt to actually bring the guys at the top of the order home. There's a point in the order where you stop moving runners over and you start adding runs. The guy hits a huge number of doubles, which would put two runs on the board every time. Aaron is looking darned good in the 3-spot and when Frank comes back he'll have the ability to keep the line moving with his tremendous OBP, plus give Paulie and Jermaine/Carl more pitches to see.

I also think Frank will be a little more hospitable to Aaron as far as letting him bat third. The two train together in the offseason and, it seems to me, get along very well.

That "point in the order" is 4,5,6. Those are the guys that drive in runs. 1,2,3 get on base and get guys over.

Frank's been in the 3 spot his whole career. He's a perfect 3 hitter. He gets on base, moves guys over and drives in runs. Rowand's too free of a swinger to hit that far up in the line up.

PorkChopExpress
05-16-2005, 03:09 PM
You have to keep in mind too, that if Frank bats 4th, there will be a number of games where he is the lead-off hitter in the second inning if not more, and with Frank's ability to run being somewhat questionable, that may not be a good thing. Obviously, PK won't be on his heels or anything, but you are asking for an increase in GIDP's with those two. Just my two cents.

Paulwny
05-16-2005, 03:13 PM
Personally, I'd rather see if we can get Konerko going. So bat Frank 3d & Paulie 4th. he'll get more pitches to hit and could drive in a ton of runs. ARow's going to be OK on his own (IMO), but Paulie needs a bit of assistance.

I disagrre with Konerko batting 4th, protection for a hitter comes from the batter behind him not in front of him.
If Frank returns to his normal hitting form teams will start pitching around Frank seeing if Konerko can do the job. It may be better to bat Konerko 3rd and have Frank 4th.

PorkChopExpress
05-16-2005, 03:15 PM
I disagrre with Konerko batting 4th, protection for a hitter comes from the batter behind him not in front of him.
If Frank returns to his normal hitting form teams will start pitching around Frank seeing if Konerko can do the job. It may be better to bat Konerko 3rd and have Frank 4th.

Or Frank 3rd, Konerko 4th and Rowand 5th.

Edit: On second thought, in line with my earlier post, I think it would be best to seperate Frank and Paulie in the line-up due to the ease with which a double play can be turned on these two guys.

Flight #24
05-16-2005, 05:22 PM
I disagrre with Konerko batting 4th, protection for a hitter comes from the batter behind him not in front of him.
If Frank returns to his normal hitting form teams will start pitching around Frank seeing if Konerko can do the job. It may be better to bat Konerko 3rd and have Frank 4th.

With Pods & Iguchi on base at at .370+clip, then Frank at .400, Paulie's going to get a lot of ABs with multiple men on base. That usually bodes well for being pitched to. Right now, Paulie's drawing a ton of walks, and from what I'm seeing, they're not really going at him (and why would you with Dye hitting behind him).

The whole scenario is predicated on Paulie being a better hitter if he gets more pitches to hit. Frank #3 & Konerko #4 accomplishes that, but if he can't get it done, then I'd be in favor of going Frank-Everett/Dye-ARow or ARow-Frank-Everett/Dye.

A. Cavatica
05-16-2005, 10:38 PM
seriously, am I the only one who thinks Rowand should hit 3rd and Thomas 4th?

I'm with you.

Frank has been miscast as a #3 hitter his whole career. The #3 spot is for someone with tremendous power. The #4 spot is for someone with tremendous power AND a high OBP. This is because the #3 often comes up in the first inning with two outs and nobody on, and the #4 often leads off the second inning.

A. Cavatica
05-16-2005, 10:50 PM
With Pods & Iguchi on base at at .370+clip, then Frank at .400, Paulie's going to get a lot of ABs with multiple men on base.

I'd rather see Frank batting with Pods & Iguchi & Rowand on base. PK can bat fifth (against LHP) or sixth behind Everett (against RHP).

Whitesox029
05-16-2005, 11:25 PM
Looking at stats I noticed that Pods leads the Sox with an OBP of .391. By comparison Ichiro's OBP is .405. Not bad.
Am I the only one who sees a contradiction here? By my count, the .405 OBP leads the team. :D:

A. Cavatica
05-16-2005, 11:29 PM
Am I the only one who sees a contradiction here? By my count, the .405 OBP leads the team. :D:

Did we trade for Ichiro?

batmanZoSo
05-17-2005, 12:21 AM
Looking at stats I noticed that Pods leads the Sox with an OBP of .391. By comparison Ichiro's OBP is .405. Not bad. Scott is 2nd on the team in walks with 21 behind Paulie's 24 and has the fewest strikeouts among the regulars with 12. Of course, he leads the majors in SB with 23. The leadoff part of the winning formula appears to be working like a charm from a stats standpoint. That doesn't even consider the intangible of wrecking havoc on the basepaths (recent pickoffs aside) and affecting the opposing pitcher's concentration.

Iguchi follows with good bat control and the highest average among regulars on the team. (He could cut down on strikeouts though). Considering that he is new to the league, this guy might get even better. So, the top of the order is a big contributor to the team's success so far. These off season moves look great at this point.

Now if we can just get the expected production from 3-6 in the order, the Sox will be even tougher to beat, if that's possible. This will need to happen since the pitching is regressing toward the mean. Like the .750 winning percentage, it will be tough to maintain a near 3 ERA in the AL. Garland and Hermanson can't keep up this pace.

One poster noted that Frank batting 3rd could be the the final piece in the puzzle to jump start this offense. I think we're going to need it. Could it be that this team's ultimate success will rest with arguably the franchise's best offensive player ever? I hope we find out soon what the big man brings to the party.

There's really nothing wrong with this team. If Konerko and Dye would just hit like they're supposed to, we'd be fine..even without Thomas. It's hard to score runs when you have your two guys in the middle doing absolutley nothing except for the very occasional home run.