I have no problem with Ichiro hitting No. 3; I believe the time has come for Ichiro to start utilizing his power more than his speed and finesse.
What I'm still trying to wrap my head around is Figgins leading off after two embarrassingly bad seasons.
Who could've possibly thought this was a good idea?
His OBP (on-base-percentage) last year was .241. That wasn't his batting average, that was his OBP! His batting average was a mind-boggling bad .188 in 81 games last year.
It is possible that he went through some miracle transformation over the offseason, but then again he is 34 years old and hasn't been relevant at the plate since 2009. According to his WAR (Wins Above Replacement), he's actually been one of the worst players in the majors since he came to Seattle.
Considering the money they Mariners are paying him, I wouldn't say anything if they put Figgins at the bottom of the lineup just so they could get some bang for their buck.
There is no reason for him to leadoff; a leadoff hitter needs to have a extremely high OBP. His job is to get on base; that's what Ichiro has been doing for the last decade.
A lot of people say that Figgins OBP was extremely high as a leadoff hitter with the Angels. Are you telling me that batting no. 2 instead of no. 1 had this big an impact on his production? There was no excuse to have a .241 OBP last year.
I have no problem with Ackley batting No. 2. He is one of the best pure hitting prospects in the game. He sprays line drives all over the ballpark, a perfect No. 2 lefty.
There are other candidates to lead off for the Mariners.
Franklin Guiterrez is an intriguing option. Guti enters hot and cold streaks, but overall I think he is a much butter leadoff option at this point than Figgy.
I'm all for second chances, but let Figgins prove himself at the bottom of the lineup, and if he can prove he can handle the responsibilities, then give him a chance.
With Ichiro hitting No. 3, I think the Mariners expect him to get more RBIs than home runs. Which is OK.
With runners on base, Ichiro can be dangerous with his ability to simply put the ball in play and put the game in motion.
Unfortunately, with Figgins leading off, I'm not sure how many runners on base there will be for Ichiro.