The One Batting Order the Cubs Should Use More Of
With only 42 games remaining in the Cubs 2013 season, the Cubs' focus has turned to experimentation and evaluation. Minor leaguers such as Junior Lake and Donnie Murphy have been called up already and the club can now turn their focus to evaluating other young stars as well as experimenting with the batting order.
Here is the one batting order that the Cubs should use more of.
Note: All statistics courtesy of MLB.com
1. David DeJesus, CF
Center fielder David DeJesus has done a sufficient job of leading off for the Cubbies this year. DeJesus has a .343 on-base percentage, 25 walks and 26 batted in. He has above-average speed, which makes him a threat to throw down a bunt for a hit every once in awhile.
DeJesus does not steal many bases, which is a negative of him hitting in the lead-off spot. He only has three stolen bases with the Cubs in 2013.
Junior Lake also did a good job of leading off, going 12-for-29. However, he will continue to set up Anthony Rizzo in the two spot.
2. Junior Lake, LF
Junior Lake's versatility allows the Cubs to put him virtually anywhere in the lineup. He has mostly been hitting second in the lineup and will most likely continue to do so.
Lake works well in the second spot, providing a right-handed bat between lefties DeJesus, Rizzo and Schierholtz.
Lake also works well in front of Anthony Rizzo so that Lake can get on base for Rizzo's power behind him. With DeJesus and Lake at the top of the order, they both provide a quick, base-hitting combination.
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Anthony Rizzo has batted third in 96 of the Cubs' 120 games this season and despite a disappointing .225 batting average, Rizzo holds a .315 on-base percentage. Rizzo's power as well as his OBP make him perfect for the three-hole.
Rizzo is good in the three spot because of its importance as a productive but set-up role. Rizzo does not have too much pressure to be the most prolific bat in the lineup (that's saved for the clean-up spot at number four) but still can provide a good at-bat to start the game off in the first inning.
4. Nate Schierholtz, RF
With the departure of Alfonso Soriano to the Yankees, the clean-up spot is up for grabs for the remainder of the season. Soriano had 357 at-bats during his 2013 season with the Cubs.
Nate Schierholtz has 33 at-bats in the four-spot this season, and holds a .333 on-base percentage. Schierholtz has 16 home runs, only two behind Anthony Rizzo for the team lead. Soriano had 17 before departing for the Bronx.
Although he was a back-up player on the World Series champion San Francisco Giants, Scheirholtz has played a large role in the Cubs' lineup and provided a powerful bat.
5. Welington Castillo, C
Right fielder Nate Schierholtz has batted fifth for most of this season, but with him batting clean-up the fifth spot is open.
Although it is common for the catcher to be at the bottom of the order, Castillo's .342 on-base percentage should be kept towards the middle of the line-up.
Welington Castillo has seen a small amount of time batting fifth and has performed well. Although he only has 18 at-bats in the five spot, he has a .423 on-base percentage. He is projected to hit fifth again versus the Cardinals on Friday.
6. Donnie Murphy, 3B
Newcomer Donnie Murphy has been impressive since being called up on August 3. Murphy will bat sixth tonight against the Cardinals. It's too early to tell if he will be a good fit there, seeing that he is only 1-for-7 while batting sixth in his brief time up.
7. Starlin Castro, SS
Starlin Castro's disappointing season resulted in him being dropped to seventh in the batting order in June. Although he has only hit seventh in 10 games, continuing to hit him late in the order may take some pressure off of him.
On the place side, at least Castro didn't get offended like former teammate Alfonso Soriano did when dropped to seventh in the lineup. Perhaps that's a bright spot.
8. Darwin Barney, 2B
Darwin Barney is arguably the weakest bat of the Cubs' regular starters. Barney is hitting an abysmal .214 this season with a .262 on-base percentage. It's a no-brainer that he belongs in the eight spot, followed by the pitcher.
Barney's defense is his main contribution to the Cubs. Without his Gold Glove defense, Barney would be a utility player at best.