I almost feel like I'm trolling my own site here. But I know people hate Jim Leyland's lineups -- myself included -- and I know people want to discuss Jim Leyland's lineups, so I provide you a space to get it out of your system here. I'll start.
*#$#&!!!!!!!!!! @#$@#!!!!!!!! ******!!!!!! %%%%%%!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OK. Frustration vented. Time for construction.
The first thing I want to note is that there's no No. 1 "use it all season" lineup out there. People might not want to hear it, but rigidity is not your friend. Maybe you want to find someone who can field the ball when your contact pitchers Doug Fister and Rick Porcello are on the mound. Maybe you've got a player who hits well against a righthander but not a lefthander.
That said, I think we could improve upon the Tigers' batting order a bit by moving a few folks around. I share today a radical proposal:
1. Johnny Peralta (R) -- On the face, he doesn't really profile as a leadoff batter. But unlike Austin Jackson, he makes contact frequently, doesn't strike out a lot, and actually gets on base (.350 OBP). He's a weak baserunner compared to Austin Jackson, but I'm not going to complain about a bit of station-to-station running when there are several quality batters behind him. You can't run the bases if you strike out.
2. Alex Avila (L) -- In many ways, Avila profiles as a leadoff batter. He gets on base (.384), takes pitches (4.01 P/PA, 2nd most among regulars). In addition to being a second chance to get Cabrera a baserunner, Avila has a fair amount of power, giving him the opportunity to drive in the leadoff batter no matter what base the runner is on.
3. Miguel Cabrera (R) -- Jim Leyland wants him fourth because he expects the first three batters to get on the bases. Then Leyland puts a couple of guys who can't get on base ahead of him. Makes no sense. In theory, your best batter should bat first to get the most plate appearances. I think that's taking it a bit to the extreme. I like him to bat third so that you have a good chance of having baserunners, and he gets more plate appearances per season.
4. Victor Martinez (S) -- Martinez behind Cabrera has worked all season. Why change now? Shifting him up a spot allows the Tigers to get him a few more plate appearances. As he's the best one at driving home runs, and the top three guys are good at getting on base, this allows Martinez even more opportunities.
5. Brennan Boesch (L) -- I thought about having Boesch bat higher in the order, but I think fifth is a decent spot. One reason I don't have him higher is that he likes to chase too many pitches. Another is the lefty-righty combination of the order. But fifht is still nice. He's good at driving runners in, but not exceptional. If Martinez doesn't get the runners home, you still have a good shot with Boesch.
6. Ryan Raburn (R) -- I guess you could actually argue for second-half Raburn to bat higher in the order. But even then the second-half OBP of .344 isn't wonderful. He's kind of like Delmon Young anyway, but with more power.
7. Delmon Young (R) -- Young, too, is good at driving in runs. He is slightly less good about getting on base, however. At least, in the first half of the season. (363 OBP in the second half!) So I like him lower in the batting order. But if he and Raburn keep batting like they have in recent weeks, the bottom of the Tigers' order is far from a respite for the pitcher.
8. Wilson Betemit (S) -- Betemit is actually a pretty decent batter against right-handers. You could use that to justify batting him a bit higher in the order. But looking at the Tigers 1-5, I prefer to keep Betemit in the lower third of the order. At least with his batting average he gives the top of the order a chance to drive in some runs if Jackson strikes out behind him.
9. Austin Jackson (R) -- While the black hole of strikeout possibilities in the bottom of the order might scare you a bit, at least they're getting fewer plate appearances than they would at the top of the order. Besides, Jackson's going to make the pitcher work a bit. If he does get on base, this is almost like making him a leadoff man, right?
Notes: When you need defense or want to put some extra pressure on against right-handed pitchers, insert Ramon Santiago at second in place of Raburn, and Andy Dirks in the outfield in place of Young. (Young's splits make him the best platoon candidate in the outfield.) When the rosters expand, Danny Worth should be called up and see playing time in the infield as well on certain days as well.
Thoughts: I'm sure your lineups and justifications won't look exactly like mine. But I want everyone to get them out of their system today. Share, share, share!