The Cardinals' 2009 season is up next on deck, and here is my prediction for the lineup/batting order. The 2009 season will be the 128th season of the St. Louis Cardinals—and the 118th in the National League.
*Warning: This prediction is based on information available as of Dec. 18, 2008. Lineup could potentially change. The order is subject to change based on pitcher handedness and players' overall performance during the year.
The leadoff spot in the lineup could be in need of some more XBH, as the four players batting leadoff accumulated a .281 avg and a .388 SLG. The clear choice might be Skip Schumaker, though his 35 XBH are a very low total and a reason for the very low SLG.
Although it might sound like I'm against Schumaker, I would be fine with him as long as he played a split role, hitting only against righties and, occasionally, lefties. I would choose Brendan Ryan to lead off against lefties, as he has a .300 avg. vs. lefties.
The second batter in the order is usually a batter with doubles power and a decent average. In 2008, the second man in the order batted .315 with nearly a .500 SLG.
Sadly, the batter with the highest average in the two spot was Aaron Miles, who batted .358 and slugged .444. Of course, Ryan Ludwick was an adequate No. 2 hitter, batting .339 and slugging a ridiculous .700.
A more realistic, No. 2 hitter would be Adam Kennedy or Khalil Greene with a hot bat at the right time.
His name speaks for itself, and so do the awards. Pujols, in 2008, batted .356 and slugged .648 in the Cardinals' second time around cleanup spot.
In 2008, the cleanup spot was mediocre as far as I can tell: The fourth spot batted a .266 avg. and had a .478 SLG, the lowest non-pitcher spot average in the lineup. As good as Ryan Ludwick was as the No. 2 hitter, he is desperately needed to bat cleanup.
The cleanup spot had three main occupants (Glaus, Ankiel, and Ludwick), but Ludwick is the only batter not to put up mediocre numbers.
Ankiel had a .253 avg and .502 SLG, and Glaus had a .228 avg and .351 SLG, while Ludwick, who had about the same number of at bats as Ankiel in the cleanup spot, batted .295 and had a .587 SLG with 20 HRs.
In 2008, the fifth batter in the order batted .280 and slugged .478. My recommendation for this spot would be a call on Troy Glaus and Rick Ankiel.
Ankiel would get my vote as far as it goes, but only when he's healthy, as Troy Glaus did a pretty decent job in the fifth spot.
Yadier Molina took this spot most of last year, hitting .309 in the games he batted sixth. But in my opinion, it would go to the player who isn't batted fifth (Glaus or Ankiel).
No disrespect Molina, but we need a little more pop in this spot.
With the new acquisition of shortstop Khalil Greene, we should have a more stable middle infield. I put Khalil in this spot based on his career .250 avg.
However, the power he adds to this slot will be very much welcomed.
To me, the eighth-spot pitcher doesn't fit my lineup, but based on Tony's love of the idea, it has to stick.
In 2008, the eighth spot batted .205 and slugged .298.
Yadier was already knocked down three spots, and now he's batting ninth?
I know we need a typical leadoff hitter, but Molina's .300 avg last year could be a plus for the ninth spot, which only batted .268 in 2008.
I would prefer to bat Molina eighth.
A prototypical No. 2 hitter is the greatest need for the Cardinals, and that player would have to be a second baseman, as it is the only flexible position we really have.
Orlando Hudson hit .312 in the No. 3 spot in Arizona, and his production would be well-received in the No. 2 slot in the Cardinals' lineup.