In the grand scheme of things, we know lineup order means little. It’s certainly more important that a manager have the right guys playing than have them in the proper order. Lineup decisions aren’t worth a tenth of all the ire they produce on the Internet and radio.
And, yet, once in a great while, those poor lineup decisions get exactly the results they deserve. For example, here is how the Royals have fared in all six of Chris Getz’s starts in the leadoff spot this season:
May 22 – Lost 3-1 to Houston
May 23 – Lost 5-4 to L.A. Angels
May 24 – Lost 5-2 to L.A. Angels
May 25 – Lost 7-0 to L.A. Angels
May 26 – Lost 5-2 to L.A. Angels
Aug. 13 – Lost 1-0 to Miami
That’s six games, all losses, with a total of nine runs scored. Getz went 4-for-21 with four walks between the six games, giving him a .320 OBP that slightly exceeds his career mark of .310.
Obviously, if Getz has to play, he should be batting ninth. And that’s usually where he bats in manager Ned Yost’s lineup. But not tonight, for some reason. Jarrod Dyson, who has better numbers against right-handers and is faster than Getz, hit ninth tonight. David Lough, the usual leadoff hitter against righties, hit fifth, apparently because he was needed there more than he was at the top.
ESPN’s Keith Law has released his annual top-100 prospects list. According to Law, Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna is the number one prospect in baseball.
After blazing through High-A and Double-A ball last season, Acuna was the youngest player in Triple-A in 2017. He was 19 years-old all season long and put up a fantastic line of .335/.384/.534 in 486 plate appearances at Double and Triple-A. He then went on to star in the Arizona Fall League, leading that circuit in homers. Law, who is not one to throw hyperbolic comps around, says, “if Acuna stays in center and maxes out his power, he’s going to be among the best players in baseball, with a Mike Trout-ish profile.”
Acuna, who is 20 now, is likely play the bulk of the season in Atlanta, even if he’s kept down at Triple-A for the first couple of weeks of the season to manipulate his service time, er, I mean to allow him to develop his skills more fully. Or something. Given the presence of reigning Gold Glove center fielder Ender Inciarte, Acuna is not likely to man center for the Braves this year, but Law says he’d be a plus right field defender, which could make the Braves outfield Death to Flying Things in 2018. At least when Nick Markakis is not playing.
Number two on the list: Blue Jays third base prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. As law notes, the name may be familiar but he’s not very much like his old man. Mostly because young Vlad can take a walk. Which is better, even if it’s nowhere near as fun as swinging at balls that bounce in the dirt first.
For the other 98, you’ll have to click through.