There has been a lot of talk amongst Mariners fans lately about the order of the team’s lineup. Most fans love Servais and were happy with his extension. Honestly, it doesn’t seem like there is a ton to reasonably complain about with him, which is why it feels so many are focusing on lineup construction.
When you look at the lineup, at least the general order that has most often been brought out lately, it seems as if there is a “stuck in June” thought process, or even veteran love given to the lineup. JP Crawford is leading off, Haniger is second, and Seager is third.
If you want to keep Crawford at the top, I can understand that argument. He hit .248/.328/.324 in August. That’s an awful slugging percentage, but he is getting on base good… at least good for Mariners hitters.
Over the course of a season, each spot in the lineup loses about 14 PA’s. That doesn’t seem like a ton… but wouldn’t you still want your best hitters getting the most looks possible at the plate? Of course, you have to balance it a bit with those who get on base vs. those who have a higher propensity or ability to drive in runs, but your best hitters should be in those top 3/4 spots… always.
The Mariners don’t seem to construct their lineup in an accordant manner
Haniger, most often in the second spot, hit .213/.302/.362. Seager would usually follow him, and had an August line of .194/.267/.481. It’s just not conducive to optimizing your best chances at run production.
If there was no one else to take their spot, then it would make sense. BUT WE HAVEN’T EVEN TALKED ABOUT THE TWO BEST HITTERS ON THE TEAM!
Abraham Toro hit .296/.377/.398, with a strikeout rate of just 12%. Compare that to Crawford (20.9%), Haniger (27.8%), and Seager (24.1%), and Toro is better in every measure for lineup placement.
Then, there is one of the best hitters in all of baseball, Ty France. He hit an incredible .348/.393/.554 last month, with an 18.8% K rate. I mention K rate for the reason that these two guys are hitting better AND putting the ball in play more often. Which, even if it results in an out, can still move runners over.
When it comes to the bottom of the lineup… well, it’s not good. Moore hit .125, Raleigh and Fraley hit .172, and Murphy hit .200. Kelenic sat at .196, with a .282 on-base. The surprising one is that Bauers, in just 36 ABs, hit .278/.381/.306 (single machine) with three steals. When it comes down to it, the lineup should look something like this.
- JP Crawford
- Abraham Toro
- Ty France
- Mitch Haniger
- Kyle Seager
You could switch Crawford and Toro around, but hitting leadoff can put a lot more pressure on someone if they aren’t used to it. I don’t know if this lineup would be any better. I do know one thing though: It couldn’t be much worse.