Now that the position players are all but set for the Brewers for the upcoming ’08 season, it’s time to start looking at the 2008 batting order.
Skipper Ned Yost let one change slip out the other day to jsonline.com’s Tom Haudricourt:
But look for manager Ned Yost to move Fielder ahead of Braun in 2008, primarily to open some running situations for Braun. Braun runs well, but Yost seldom gave him the green light in 2007 because opponents would have pitched around Fielder with first base open. By adding Cameron and moving Braun behind Fielder, the Brewers plan to be more aggressive on the bases.
Essentially, the chance of right-handed pitchers intentionally walking Fielder now to get to Braun (with a man on base) drops off a bit. But I digress….
First, we know that the batting orders will be determined based on what happens during Cactus League play…what we do know already, however, is that there will be one or two batting orders for the first 25 games, due to Mike Cameron’s suspension:
1. With Gwynn in CF and Hart in RF…likely against right-handed pitchers;
2. With Hart in CF and Dillon in RF…likely against left-handed pitchers
With Hart being in the line-up regardless of where he plays in the field, the chances that he’ll be the leadoff hitter at the outset increase; however, the Brewers surely want to find out if Gwynn can be a leadoff hitter…at least against righties.
So here’s a look at the line-up on versus the right-handed Carlos Zambrano on opening day:
1. Gwynn, CF
2. Weeks, 2B?
3. Fielder, 1B
4. Braun, LF
5. Hart, RF?
6. Hardy, 2B?
7. Hall, 3B?
8. Kendall, C
9. Sheets, P
As you can see, other than the #3, #4, #8, and #9 slots, Ned Yost has many different combinations that he can try. So…who do you like for the leadoff spot, pre-Cameron? Who should be the #2 guy…Hardy? Weeks? Hart? Who should be the #5 guy? Discuss amongst yourselves….