Drew Stubbs (.267/.323/.439/.762/99, 8 HR, 17 RBI, 10 SB)
After a slow start to his spring training, Drew turned it on and solidified himself as the starting centerfielder. He built on his power surge from last season and if he keeps it up could begin to mirror the other centerfielder in Ohio, Grady Sizemore. While last season's number were from only 200 PA's, he showed he can handle big league pitching. His 50 K's were a little high which was not ideal for a leadoff hitter. This is why I wish Dusty would get off the centerfielder-must-leadoff train and realize he is better suited for the #2 hole when there is a better choice at leadoff. He gets on base enough, has a little pop, and his strikeouts wouldn't be as bad because it means less double plays. Even if he grounds out, he is fast enough to beat out anything that isn't tailor made. The leadoff hitter should be his backup and possible starting leftfielder...
Chris Dickerson (.275/.370/.373/.743/97, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 11 SB)
He raised a bit of a fuss early in spring training because the centerfield job was essentially given to Drew without Chris having a chance at it. As spring went along Chris played well, but Drew played better and earned the job. Now Chris is up for the starting leftfield job and should be there anytime a righthander is on the mound. His career OPS is .845 against RHPs. He could also give Stubbs a day off in center if needed.
The leftfield spot isn't quite decided since Dusty decided to wait an extra day to make the cut. He has only had 6 weeks to decide, I'm sure something will change in the next 12 hours. Way to be decisive Dusty.
A reader asked what the lineup should look like. Here are the lineups I would use:
Votto and Bruce back-to-back would make Dusty's head explode. O MY GOD! 2 Lefthanders in a row! The reality is Votto hits lefthanders about the same as righthanders so if the opposition makes a pitching change it won't affect him, just Bruce, who is improving but still struggles against southpaws. I love this lineup because Dickerson gets on base but doesn't have much power. Stubbs gets on base and has a little more pop plus helps Dusty since it splits up lefthanded hitters. Votto should bat 3rd since he is a machine and Bruce should hit 4th since he has the most pop. In the minors he was a doubles machine and he has found his home run stroke in the bigs. If he were to come up after all those high OBP guys, he would be able to drive them in. The rest of the lineup is pretty much interchangable. This lineup gets the Reds best hitters the most AB's and more chances to drive in runs. That is the goal and how lineups should be set.
This is slightly difference but the same principles. High OBP and speed at the top. Stubbs and Bruce don't have as much pop against lefthanders but will still get on base. Votto stays at 3rd but Phillips move up to 4th since he put up.301/.342/.541/.883 against LHPs last season. Gomes starts in leftfield on those days and stays in the middle of the lineup. The other 3 can hit anywhere.
Unfortunately there is no way Dusty would employ these lineups. For some reason, he thinks it always has to be centerfielder-shortstop. No idea why. He did it with Taveras and Gonzalez last season and they were terrible. The only problem with these lineups is that there are 2 lefthanded hitters in a row with Bruce and Votto. This doesn't really matter because Votto his them just fine. Philly has put Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back-to-back and it has worked pretty well. Who would have thought Jerry Manual would be more forward thinking then Dusty Baker. O yeah, everyone is more forward thinking then Dusty Baker.
7 hours ago