One of the more interesting headlines of the Mariners offseason was the switch of Ichiro from the leadoff role to the No. 3 spot in the lineup. It was a decision that broke 10 years of tradition.
With that move, Chone Figgins became the new leadoff man, and Dustin Ackley remained in the No. 2 spot.
But with all the experimenting going on in the Mariners lineup, would it make sense to try Ackley hitting third and Ichiro second?
In the long run, Ackley is going to be the No. 3 three hitter anyway. When Ichiro retires, somebody is going to have to fill that role.
On paper, it makes sense for Ichiro to bat third. He has the ability to put the ball in play, something that is crucial when there are runners on base. He doesn't strike out a lot, he's patient.
But dig deeper, and you'll find a decent number of Ichiro's hits are infield singles. And infield singles will do your team no good with runners on base.
Ichiro does have the ability to hit for power, but through 15 games, he's only popped one home run.
I'm not saying Ackley is going to hit a lot of home runs, but he is much more of a natural No. 3 hitter than Ichiro.
Ackley's smooth, compact stroke naturally generates line drives all over the ballpark. It seems like 90 percent of his hits are frozen ropes in the gaps.
This will come in handy with runners on base, especially when the two hitters ahead of him are the speedy Figgins and Ichiro.
Figgins is doing much better in the leadoff role and Ichiro will give you good production pretty much anywhere in the lineup, so it wouldn't hurt to try Ackley in a different role.
The run production still isn't where we want it to be, and at this point Eric Wedge is willing to try anything to push a few more runs across.
Especially after that heartbreaking loss to the Indians last Thursday, a 2-1 defeat despite Felix Hernandez's gem of an outing.
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