The Order of Things (Part 2)
Last Saturday I outlined how I would like to see the top three spots in the 2012 Rangers’ batting order filled. Here’s a quick recap in case you missed Part 1 of this three part series:
1. Ian Kinsler–I believe the success that Kinsler had from the lead off spot last year shouldn’t be questioned or messed with. Over the course of the season someone like Elvis or Gentry may deservingly take the spot from him, but to start the season I want Kinsler at #1.
2. Michael Young–I think this is the most sensible place for Young to bat. He doesn’t have enough pop to occupy the heart of the order, but he generated enough production that you want him to get as many at bats as possible.
3. Josh Hamilton–Hamilton lives at #3. Having Kinsler and Young set the table for him gives him plenty of RBI chances. Opposing pitchers will also won’t be able to nibble, for fear of the mashers coming up behind him.
Having assigned those three spots last week, this week I will address the 4, 5, and 6 holes. Keep in mind that this is what I would like to see, not necessarily what I think Wash will run out there.
4. Adrian Beltre–Beltre’s power can’t be denied, but he isn’t the most selective hitter. He took only 25 walks in the 2011 season. To me, this indicates that he needs to be in a spot where he will have some protection. If you believe in that sort of thing (which I obviously do), having Hamilton in front of you and the next guy on this list behind you is a fine way to achieve it. His surroundings in the order should guarantee him seeing good pitches to hit.
5. Mike Napoli–Although I don’t expect Napoli to match his 2011 numbers in 2012, I certainly expect good things from him again. He has a good approach at the plate, and enough power to reach the seats wherever the game may be played. He earned a great deal of respect from opponents last year, and I fully expect that to carry over to this year.
6. Nelson Cruz–Cruz’s streakiness is the only thing that keeps him from climbing higher in the order. On the other side of that coin, his power is the only thing that keeps him from dropping lower. I love having Cruz in the lineup, because even when he’s in a slump you never know when he’s going to break out and go on a tear. Unfortunately, he also has hamstrings that seem to be made of cooked spaghetti. Keeping him in the 6 spot will mean that less lineup jmbling has to be done when (not if) he misses time with injury. There you have it; Beltre, Napoli, and Cruz are the middle third of my 2012 fantasy Texas Rangers lineup.
Check back next Saturday when I’ll round out the bottom three spots in the order and venture a few thoughts as to how it might change over the course of the season.