The best and worst from MLB lineups in 2013

13 Comments

This is a quick look at the very best and worst each major league lineup spot has to offer this year. Posted along with each line is the player most responsible. We’ll start out with the good before moving on to the bad.

1. Reds: .292/.442/.517, 9 HR, 37 R, 20 RBI, 5 SB (Shin-Soo Choo)
2. Brewers: .348/.394/.572, 9 HR, 33 R, 23 RBI, 14 SB (Jean Segura)
3. Tigers: .385/.460/.690, 14 HR, 39 R, 55 RBI, 1 SB (Miguel Cabrera)
4. Rockies: .346/.396/.622, 12 HR, 32 R, 50 RBI, 3 SB (Troy Tulowitzki)
5. Orioles: .314/.397/.686, 16 HR, 31 R, 45 RBI, 0 SB (Chris Davis)
6. Mets: .247/.361/.494, 10 HR, 23 R, 20 RBI, 1 SB (Lucas Duda)
7. Rangers: .274/.346/.500, 10 HR, 25 R, 18 RBI, 1 SB (A.J. Pierzynski)
8. Braves: .321/.384/.497, 6 HR, 16 R, 27 RBI, 2 SB (Ramiro Pena)
9. Tigers: .291/.315/.451, 4 HR, 26 R, 23 RBI, 1 SB (Omar Infante)

– I decided to go strictly by OPS here. Taking ballparks into account, Rays cleanup hitters (Evan Longoria) have been better than Colorado’s.

– The Rangers’ 7 hole is a true group effort. One might guess that Mitch Moreland was most responsible, but he’s actually struggled in his seven starts there, posting a .579 OPS. Jeff Baker has an 1.134 OPS in 17 AB there, Pierzynski is at 1.053 in 33 AB, Geovany Soto is at .845 in 31 AB and David Murphy has a .794 OPS in 56 AB.

– Incredibly, Braves No. 8 hitters have been better than any other team’s No. 6 or No. 7 hitters. And they’ve managed an .881 OPS while the Braves’ No. 1 and No. 2 hitters have come in at .665 and .551, respectively. Again, it’s been a group effort: six different players have put in at least five starts there.

Here’s are the worsts of the bunch:

1. Twins: .200/.242/.246, 1 HR, 24 R, 12 RBI, 4 SB (Aaron Hicks)
2. Marlins: .225/.267/.272, 1 HR, 15 R, 9 RBI, 4 SB (Placido Polanco)
3. Athletics: .204/.293/.342, 6 HR, 27 R, 26 RBI, 3 SB (Josh Reddick)
4. Mets: .192/.255/.337, 6 HR, 19 R, 20 RBI, 0 SB (Ike Davis)
5. Twins: .198/.271/.281, 1 HR, 17 R, 16 RBI, 1 SB (Ryan Doumit)
6. Rays: .199/.283/.313, 4 HR, 15 R, 22 RBI, 1 SB (Yunel Escobar)
7. Dodgers: .163/.246/.213, 1 HR, 11 R, 15 RBI, 1 SB (Luis Cruz)
8. Mets: .177/.233/.280, 3 HR, 14 R, 19 RBI, 1 SB (Ruben Tejada)
9. Mariners: .168/.235/.206, 1 HR, 10 R, 11 RBI, 3 SB (Brendan Ryan)

– I excluded NL teams from the No. 9 spot. The Mariners are actually 23rd in the majors, so eight NL teams are beating them in OPS from the nine hole. The Phillies (.571) and Cubs (.567) are tops there among NL teams, and those two are also beating the White Sox and Orioles from the AL. The Pirates are the true No. 30 team for OPS from the ninth spot; they’re hitting .113/.173/.127.

– Braves No. 2 hitters are batting just .171, but at least that’s come with 12 extra-base hits and 20 walks, giving them 11 points of OPS on the Marlins. Astros, White Sox and Nationals No. 2 hitters have all been similarly dreadful, with OPSs in the mid-500s.

– Of course, the Marlins are near the bottom in a lot of spots here. Only from the sixth hole, where Rob Brantly has been pretty good, do they even rate average. They’re getting sub-.600 OPS from the first, second, fifth, seventh and ninth spots in the order.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
Leave a comment

We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

Elsa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.