FanPost

Should Molina bat 5th?

This may sound crazy, but give me a chance first and then let me know how crazy it is.

I'm not as critical of JuanE as many of you, but as the 5th batter with JEd out, JuanE's batting average with RISP is alarming to me. Take a look for yourself:

Bases Empty       .265 in 98 AB
Runners On        .230 in 57 AB
RISP              .196 in 51 AB
RISP w/2 Outs     .190 in 21 AB
Bases Loaded      .167 in 6 AB

Now these numbers are well below his career averages (his career RISP is .263 and a surprising .337 with the bases loaded), so they should be expected to rise. In fact, his numbers for last year were quite impressive:

Bases Empty        .240
Runners On         .332
RISP               .331
RISP w/2 Outs      .333
Bases Loaded       .500

But the other day there was talk about Molina's surprising batting average with RISP:

Bases Empty        .095 in 84 AB
Runners On         .296 in 54 AB
RISP               .303 in 33 AB
RISP w/2 Outs      .316 in 19 AB
Bases Loaded       .500 in 4 AB

Now I don't know what JuanE's isolated numbers are for only the period since he's been hitting better and that might change my mind. But I can't help wondering if we might be better off by having Molina and JuanE trade places -- atleast until we begin seeing significant improvement in JuanE's numbers -- because JuanE seems to be leaving too many men on base (is there a place to find player LOB or LOB AVG for the season?) Using today's lineup as a starting point, here's what I propose:

  1. Eckstein
  2. Rodriguez or Spiezio
  3. Pujols
  4. Rolen
  5. Molina
  6. Taguchi, Bigbie, Luna or Spiezio
  7. Encarnacion
  8. Miles
  9. SP
Switching the batters in the 5th and 6th position might make even more sense, considering Taguchi's reliability with the bases loaded and his better average with the bases empty.

So what do you guys think? Like I said, I might change my mind if JuanE's RISP has greatly improved since he's been hitting better (he left 6 on base today and 0 RBI's for what it's worth), but I sort of like the idea until that happens. If nothing else, looking up this information reminded me of one of the reasons WJ was probably excited about JuanE (i.e. last year's impressive averages with men on base) and that gives me something to look forward to in the future.

Update: After thinking about this some more, I realized that Luna's RISP is .391 and Spiezio's is .370, so it would probably be better to drop Molina to 6th and bat Speizio, Luna or Taguchi 5th.

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