Only a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to try and figure out what the “optimal” lineup was for the Mariners. Not based on feel or anything like that, mostly just based on how hitters had done while at specific locations in the lineup. Today’s goal focuses on just one aspect of that. Who should the Mariners have leadoff games?
There are only really two guys who have seen time there this year, so we can start off with that. The Mariners haven’t gotten much from their leadoff position, so… is it time for some change? Also, I had this nearly finished up on Tuesday before the first Twins game, and got pulled away. It then came out that Crawford was going to leadoff for the first time all year before being a late scratch (flulike symptoms).
Who should the Mariners bat leadoff? Cause it hasn’t been great in 2022.
JP Crawford hasn’t led off yet this year, playing mostly in the 3/4/5 spot.
Adam Frazier – 39 G, .255/.324/.339
Jesse Winker – 17 G, .197/.346/.318
Abraham Toro – 5 G, .000/.048/.000
Tom Murphy – 1 G, .000/.1000/.000
That’s… well, that’s all pretty ugly. Frazier isn’t too bad there, but you just hope that your leadoff guy would walk a bit more, or bring a bit more to the table speedwise. Frazier isn’t bad and neither is Winker. Okay, let me rephrase that. Neither of them is awful. But that’s a quality you want for your number 8/9 hitters, not your leadoff guy.
Let’s take a look at Winker. Yes, he’s walking a lot, but that’s about all he is doing. It does make for a nice debate about how important walks are, and how much they can get in a pitcher’s head. Winker does seem to be getting more comfortable, back to taking walks and finding a bit of pop, but we still need more from someone who was ranked as one of the most dangerous LF bats in the game.
Toro and Murphy aren’t options, and shouldn’t even be considered for this. That conversation is over. France stays at the 2, and Julio shouldn’t be there. Too much pressure. Let’s move on.
I don’t really see any other option in there. There is a small part of me that wants to see Dylan Moore leadoff, if only to see what would happen. He’s got crazy speed, plays good defense, and runs into the ball fairly often. I just don’t see Servais going for it though. Those two steals Tuesday though, that was fun to see.
Suarez, Raleigh, and Torrens aren’t options either. That just leaves Crawford and Trammell. We’ve seen JP leadoff before, and in fact, he did a pretty good job in 2021. As leadoff last year, JP would hit .281/.345/.390 in 108 games. He seems like a darn good choice for that spot and is an improvement all around vs Winker/Frazier (based on this year’s numbers).
Lastly… what about Trammell? Easy, No. I don’t think he has what it takes. Especially since things are gonna get real crowded when Haniger and Lewis come back, who are ahead of him in the pecking order.
So, what should Servais do? It’s Crawford or Frazier. Move Winker down somewhere in the 4/5/6 range, and keep him out of the leadoff spot. It seems like allowing Frazier to focus on leading off and playing solely second base could help him produce on a more consistent basis. If Scott doesn’t want that though, giving Crawford a shot to prove last year wasn’t a fluke seems like a great idea.