Cincinnati Reds: Improving The Lineup Without an Addition
The trade deadline has come and gone and the Reds stood still, opting to go forward with what they have.
I’d like to take a look at the lineup and batting order, using what they have, and examine how it might be better in the second half than it was in the first half.
We know this team has some pretty good offense, they rank among the top in the league in most of the major offensive categories.
But they also have some not-so-good offensive peculiarities: They lead the league in shutouts, that is, they’ve been shut out 12 times already.
Though they have so far been able to come from behind and win a lot of close games, it’s also a little alarming that they HAVE to come from behind so often and have had so many close games.
So, what do they need to do to improve with what they have now? Some would argue that they should continue on like they have been all year. If it’s working, don’t mess with it.
But I think there are a few things they could and should do to make their offense a little better.
Cabrera is not a top-of-the-order hitter. Well, maybe he was at one time, but he’s not this year. He should be moved down in the order…way down.
His backup, Janish, is known for his strong glove and weak bat, but in limited use this year, he’s actually doing well at the plate.
I wouldn’t say he should replace Cabrera on the depth chart, but I’d definitely give him more playing time than he’s been getting.
The Reds also aren’t really getting the offensive production they need from the centerfield position.
Stubbs is getting most of the playing time, and though he has speed and a bit more power, his .230-ish average and .300-ish OBP really hurts.
I’d like to see Heisey get more playing time. He’s unproven at the MLB level, but after almost 85 at-bats so far he’s hitting .286 with an OBP of .365.
I say switch the depth chart and put him as the starting centerfielder and use Stubbs as the backup and stop-gap for those defensive substitutions and pinch-hit double switches when you’re bringing in the relief pitchers.
Here’s the batting order & lineup I’d use:
CF - Chris Heisey
2B - Brandon Phillips
1B - Joey Votto
3B - Scott Rolen
LF - Jonny Gomes
RF - Jay Bruce
C - Ryan Hanigan/Ramon Hernandez
SS - Orlando Cabrera
P - Pitcher
Gomes’ spot in the batting order is fairly interchangeable with Hanigan/Hernandez depending on who’s catching for the Reds at the time and who the opposing pitcher is, but I think I’d leave the rest of it alone for the most part.
It gives our No. 3 through No. 6 hitters protection on both sides, and our leadoff spot has protection behind him.
I’d use Stubbs and Janish for as many pinch hit and spot start opportunities as I could.
There’s also Cairo and Nix on the bench and in the September call-ups, the Reds have some talented guys in the minors who might help.
Then again, maybe the Reds will pick up someone from the waiver wire...
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