Could Jeff Baker lead off against lefties?



Dare I say it? I think Quade's gonna bat Jeff Baker leadoff against lefties in 2011. 
This may not be news to you, considering Baker got 28 at-bats in the leadoff spot last year, and started in the one-spot seven times at the end of last season. But it should be a shock to at least a few of you: the man had a .326 on-base percentage last year, for goodness' sake!
Our own Mike Wilkinson said he'd like to see Baker hit 7th or 8th against lefties, and that's a perfectly likely outcome given Baker's overall numbers. But look at his career splits:
Against lefties (396 AB): .308/.363/.545 (.908 OPS)
Against righties (574 AB): .244/.300/.378 (.678 OPS)
Hard to call that a function of small sample size, although one season's worth of data isn't exactly the most robust thing you've ever seen. But yeah, look at today's game against the Royals. Lefty Bruce Chen starts, righty Jeff Baker leads off. And like I said before, Quade has toyed with this idea previously. 
It's sort of crazy to think about Jeff Baker leading off for your team, under any circumstances. But maybe against lefties, it's a good call.


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  • I was about to torch this because my first thought was that he was a Rockie, but his hitting vs. LHP with the Cubs was better, so testing that sample size can't be a bad thing. That said, Castro's OPS was .897 in 141 PAs last year; shockingly only .701 vs. RHP in 365 PAs. All of that said, Marlon Byrd's well over .800 since '06 vs. LHP. Castro, Baker, Byrd in the 1-2-3 could maybe end up being interchangeable.

    Left out of this is Soto's low-sample success vs. LHP. Going Baker/Castro/Soto/Ramirez/Byrd might be best. Soriano's an insane lefty-killer, so dropping Baker might end being best to put Soriano in the upper three.

    Baker's never really been tested vs. RHP; no reason to do so here. Castro's numbers are low, but throwing his feet to the fire isn't bad, and Byrd doesn't have a great history. Do you go, maybe, Kosuke-Castro-Colvin 1-2-3 vs. RHP? Kosuke/Colvin/Soto/Ramirez/Byrd/Castro?

  • I'm pretty fond of the first offering in your second graf: Baker, Castro, Soto, Rami, Byrd against lefties. Maybe Sori ahead of Byrd there, but I like the OBP of Baker (against lefties) Castro and Soto up top.

    Against righties, it's probably gonna be Kosuke/Castro/Byrd/Rami/Pena/Sori/Soto/DeWitt. But I certainly wouldn't mind seeing Soto higher up. Your head is in the right place Mr Sonty.

    Haven't seen you on here before; thanks for chiming in with your comment!

  • In reply to ajwalsh08:

    Sori/Byrd/Kosuke is probably never a good lineup in those games. Colvin should be replacing starting for Sori or Byrd at almost all times -- usually Sori. Tough to handle because you never wanna risk icing Sori or Byrd, but you have to maximize Colvin's AB vs. RHP.

    I like the Pena pickup, but this was my problem with it; it ices Colvin. Teach him 1B and go Ram/DeWitt/Castro/Baker as your IF vs. LHP when it's clear you can't move Kosuke or Sori's contract. Of course, this is still an option against the types of RHPs with styles against which Pena can't be productive.

    I've been reading, I just rarely comment anywhere. You're doing great work. Keep it up.

  • In reply to LittleAlex:

    Colvin should definitely see more time in left field this season. As for Pena... well, we spent $10 million, didn't we?

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