What do AA7 and John Farrell do with this lineup now? So many options and so much flexibility. In my head I have gone over probably 20 different lineups, and I can’t figure out which one is truly best. Of course, there could still be more moves in the works, such as a third baseman coming in moving Bautista to RF. But as of now, there are so many possibilities. At each position there are at least 2 options, other than SS. I would like to quickly run down the possibilities at each position, and give my insight to each one.
I see JPA and Napoli almost splitting most of the time, with JPA starting close to 60% of the games. I see Napoli as a good guy to mentor JPA as an offensive minded catcher in the bigs.
Lind will start against righties, Napoli will start against lefties. Seems pretty easy from there. Encarnacion gets at bats to fill in occasionally.
I know Lawrie has been working out at 3rd this winter, but maybe the Jays like him at 2b enough to move Hill to third. Not likely, and Hill plays all year at 2nd. Lawrie needs more time in the minors.
Hill could move over, or Lawrie could open some eyes at third, but realistically, for this year, unless they bring someone else in, Bautista is the man at the hot corner. I am not even putting Encarnacion on this list.
A pretty obvious choice here, as John McDonald will once again be a late inning pinch runner or occasional fill in when a day off is needed.
This is tough. Because I am not sure who would be better in right or left, I think that Snider and Rivera play opposite each other. Let’s say Rivera takes over in left. Apparently nobody thinks Lind can play the outfield anymore, and Patterson, well, I don’t think he should start anywhere.
Although Mastroianni has really opened some eyes in the last year or so, I think Davis pretty much wins this by default. Gose is not quite ready yet, maybe another year or two of seasoning ought to do it though. Mastroianni starts the season in Vegas, and Gose in New Hampshire.
With Davis supplanted in centre, and Rivera already in left, that leaves Snider to play every day in right. Hopefully he is healthy and he shows his true potential. I think he breaks out this year. Unless they find a 3rd baseman, Bautista stays there. But if Bautista found his way to right, Snider would simply shift over to left.
I think initially, Encarnacion gets a fair amount of time here, as Napoli helps ease both Arencibia and Lind into catcher and 1B, respectively. But as the season goes on, I see Napoli spending more time here as they get accustomed to their positions and Encarnacion will be on the bench.
I will have to think about bench guys, and definitely put my two cents in about the rotation and bullpen in the next week or so. But basically, barring any unforeseen changes, (which is exactly how the Silent Assassin does things) I guess my starting lineup looks something like this:
C – JPA/Napoli
1B – Lind/Napoli
2B – Hill
3B – Jo-Bau
SS – Esco
LF – Rivera
CF – Davis
RF – Snider
DH – Encarnacion/Napoli
Not bad. Considering the oldest guy is Rivera, who will turn 33, and only under contract for 2011. After that, Bautista just turned 30.