After watching AJ's dominant outing against a very strong Phillies lineup, I wanted to check out his splits with Barajas. It always seems like he's incredibly dominant when Barajas is his battery-mate, and lousy with Zaun. Nothing against Zaun of course, but AJ & Barajas look like they have tremendous chemistry.
Here are the splits (Ba/OBP/slug) for AJ with Barajas & Zaun behind the plate:
Barajas: 207/286/303 (589 OPS)
Zaun: 368/438/566 (1.004 OPS)
I'll give Zaun the benefit of a 450 BAPIP, compared to a 250ish one from when Barajas is behind the plate. But those splits make it pretty damn clear that Barajas needs to be catching AJ everytime out. The only way to win this year is to make sure AJ opts-out, and he can only do that if he has a winning season. And if he has a winning season, the Jays will be in the playoff race.
Now, it's been said time and time again that the order of a lineup makes little to no difference on how the team performs. So if that's the case, feel free to skip this and read on to Will's brilliant post about the minors...
Alright still here? Cool. Now, when Gibbons was making the lineup back in the AL parks, you may have noticed some platoon issues - 2 RH batters, 2 LH batters in a row. Things like that. My lineup tries to eliminate that, while keeping everyone in line with their respective skill set:
1st - Alex Rios, CF - I know, people hate him leading off. But he was struggling before he was moved to the leadoff spot, and he'd have slumped hitting 1st, 3rd, or 9th. He's the catalyst of this team, and we need guys to get on base for the middle of the lineup to drive them in. Rios gives us that "Sizemore" type player at the top of the lineup, and gets shit going.
2nd - Lyle Overbay 1B- He's a good doubles hitter, but more importantly is the 370+ OBP. You wanna score a lot of runs? Put a high OBP guy at the top...Vs LHP Eckstein can bat second when he returns.
3rd - Rolen 3B- best hitter on this team. He's not a HR slugger, but he has a high slugging %, so he'll be a perfect fit here. Also has a ridiculously good eye, as seen by the 15 pitch at bats he had in Minnesota.
4th - Stairs, DH - He's the big HR guy, the classic slugger, and the obvious choice against RHP to bat fourth. Mench, when he's healthy, can play RF and bat fourth against Southpaws.
5th - Aaron Hill 2B - A surprising choice, but he's capable of hitting 5th, mainly because the options behind him suck. Stairs would bat fifth vs lefties.
6th - Gregg Zaun C - Except for when AJ is pitching, Zaunnie bats 6th. Great OBP to start a new rally once Stairs clears the bases. Hill bats here vs LHP
7th - Stew LF - You all know I'd rather have Lind here, but realistically Stew's the guy we need to hit 7th. Overbay bats here vs LHP.
8th - RF Wilkerson - Just filling out roster spots at this point....Zaun bats here vs LHP
9th - David Eckstein SS- nuff said. Stew or Wilkerson can play LF and bat here vs LHP.
So the final result of my lineups are:
vs RHP - Rios, Overbay, Rolen, Stairs, Hill, Zaun, Stew, Wilkerson, Eckstein
vs LHP - Rios, Eck, Rolen, Mench, Stairs, Hill, Overbay, Zaun, Wilkerson/Stew
I think my lineups are a lot more intimidating, and better served against late game so that opposing managers can't go too the loogy or RH set up man and go through 2-3 hitters in a row and have a platoon advantage.