Chris McGrath/Getty ImagesMarch 9, 2010
It took Manny Acta two weeks to do what Eric Wedge couldn't in seven years(with the exception of a couple small, unflattering tryout periods), announce that center fielder Grady Sizemore will hit second behind Asdrubal Cabrera.
This move will take advantage of Sizemore's rare combination of speed and power, providing more run scoring opportunities for both Sizemore and the hitters behind him (Choo, Peralta, and Hafner).
Deciding to bat Cabrera-Sizemore at the top of the order should not have been a difficult decision.
Both should have similar On-Base Percentages, but Cabrera hits from both sides of the plate, has better lefty/righty splits than Grady, and can also do more with the bat, i.e. slap the ball to one side of the field or lay down a bunt.
The idea is for the ninth hitter to have the best possible OBP when Cabrera and Sizemore step up to bat followed by the middle of the order. This better utilizes Sizemore's power and speed on the bases.
To start the season, the everyday lineup, depending on the opposing pitcher, should look something like this:
The above should be something like what can be expected against left-handed pitching. Against righties, Branyan and Hafner become two of the better hitters, so having R/L balance will be tough to maintain. Perhaps:
However, once outfielder Michael Brantley has spent enough time in AAA to push his arbitration clock back a year, Brantley's speed will be used to fill out a more practical order.
Brantley will either be injected into the ninth or lead-off spot (most likely ninth until later in the season), and should do so as a June first call-up. Playing time will have to be determined by Acta to get enough at-bats between Brantley, LaPorta, Branyan, and Hafner at the LF, 1B, and DH spots.