What is the most ideal version of a San Diego Padres lineup?
Here is an attempt to create the ideal lineup for the San Diego Padres moving forward.
Throughout the 2019 San Diego Padres season, talk of firing manager Andy Green persisted.
Green’s lackluster ability to generate a desirable lineup remains a chief complaint of many.
Let’s take a look at traditional lineup building strategies as well as more modern methods and attempt to develop the ideal possible lineup for the San Diego Padres as they enter their possible years of contention.
1st – Fernando Tatis Jr. – SS
The traditional method of the leadoff spot is placing your best contact hitter and fastest baserunner there. Historically these are players such as Rickey Henderson and Ichiro Suzuki. In the modern MLB, we’ve seen a shift away from the speedster aspect of the leadoff spot, with the new theory being that you want to place your best hitter in the leadoff spot because he will get more chances at the plate. With the application of either idea, Tatis is the obvious leadoff choice. With an average of .320, 22 home runs, and 16 stolen bases, Tatis is a rare combination of contact, power, and speed. He is the Padres’ best overall hitting option and the best baserunning option, making him the undisputable choice for the leadoff spot in an ideal Padres’ lineup.
2nd – Manuel Margot – CF
Manuel Margot spent 48 of his 68 appearances in the Padres lineup this season in the 7th, 8th, or 9th spot. Only 11 of his appearances came in the two-hole. This is odd, as the traditional rule of thumb for the second spot in a lineup is to place a batter who will put the ball in play and advance the leadoff runner. You want a guy who isn’t going to strikeout. A hit, walk, or even a ball put in play that results in an out works as long as the leadoff runner is advanced.
With that method in mind, it’s astounding the lack of looks Margot receives in the second slot of the order, as the player who boasts the lowest strikeout-percentage of all qualifying batters on the team. This is a full percentage point-and-a-half ahead of next lowest Padres’ regular, Manny Machado. With that strikeout-percentage complimented by an OBP of .327, the odds are also good that the advancement of Tatis would be carried out in conjunction with Margot getting on base.
3rd – Manny Machado – 3B
There are only three examples of games in which Andy Green batted a player not named Manny Machado in the third position of the Padres’ lineup. This is absolutely the right move, as the third spot is most ideal for a batter who hits for a proficient batting average (.265), can drive in the first run or runs of the game (70 RBIs), does not lack power (26 HRs), and can hit a few doubles (8.7 Extra Base Hit Percentage). Machado fits the archetype of a three-hitter perfectly, and this proves, justifiably, one of the least contested decisions by Andy Green this season.
4th – Hunter Renfroe – RF
Eric Hosmer spent 13 more games in the slugger spot than Hunter Renfroe this season. Hunter Renfroe hits for a higher slugging percentage, on-base plus slugging percentage, and average exit velocity than Hosmer. Not to mention he hit 14 more home runs than Hosmer this year. Is Hosmer a valuable bat in this lineup? Absolutely. Is he a more potent bat than Renfroe or more deserving of the four-hole? No.
5th – Eric Hosmer – 1B
Eric Hosmer possesses power, but the four-hitter should hold a home-run-or-bust mentality, and Hosmer hits for too good of an average and drives in too many runs without the long ball to assume that mentality. Instead, he serves a better purpose clearing the bases of any runners Renfroe fails to drive in or following up a Renfroe home run with a double to restart the run-scoring process. While Hosmer is a power bat, he is so much more than that and is better served to do more than just swinging for the fences.
6th – Francisco Mejia – C
With a batting average of .280 and flashing some of his power in recent games, Green should seek to place Mejia in the six-hole to get him the most plate appearances out of the bottom-half hitters. The sixth or seventh spot is also the traditional spot for catchers who do not possess uber-superior power or contact, a skill which Mejia does not yet boast.
7th – Josh Naylor – LF
Naylor is in the same spot as Mejia, a solid hitter who shows flashes of developing into a superior power bat, but in the status quo is not a hitter ready for the top half of the lineup. What is nice about having Naylor in the seventh spot is having solid hitters at the plate this deep into the lineup giving pitchers a tough time of navigating this Padres lineup.
8th – PITCHER
For those of you who know anything about baseball theory, you know where I’m going with this. Don’t place the pitcher at the bottom of the order to kill momentum before getting to the top of the order, give the offense a chance to rejuvenate itself between the pitcher and the top of the order. Fun fact: Padres pitchers combined for 20 total hits on the season.
9th – Luis Urias – 2B
When applying the Maddon/LaRussa method of eight-hole pitchers, you generally want one of your alternatives for the leadoff spot in the ninth spot. This occurs so the 9th batter can get things ready for the top of the lineup to come storming back through. Urias fits that leadoff archetype, and while he lacks success in the late 2019 season, with a little spring work, he should fit right into this role come the Great
Playoff Push of 2020
Now, this is subjective, but this lineup, with all things going according to plan, would ideally help lead the Padres to the playoffs in 2020.
Chase is an 18-year-old pre-journalism major at San Diego State University. His two main passions in life are speaking and sports, as he has played sports since he was 4 years old.
In his spare time, Chase plays basketball and talks politics on instagram. Enjoy his content and follow him on social media.
Not bad, but it should be like this the remainder of this season and into next season (barring any trades or FA signings):
1 – Tatis – No Brainer
2. Machado – Your points are valid, but you make it sound the #2 hitters only job is to advance base runners. That just doesn’t work. Why can’t they drive in runs also? The best teams in the games #2 hitters (mostly) – Yelich, Judge, Trout, Bryant, Altuve, Devers/Betts, Muncy/Turner – These are mostly the teams best or second best hitter and some of the best players in the game.
3. Hosmer (v. RHP)/ Myers (v.LHP) – Hosmer is a professional hitter, although frustrating. Myers has heated up of late and he still draws BB’s at a better rate than anyone else on the team. Both can hit the gaps and have the power and ability to drive runs in.
4. Renfroe – Really the only option for a clean up guy. He’s clutch, is getting more patient every day and can hit 50 HR if he gets the AB’s
5. Naylor – He can take pitches, draw walks and hit the gaps.
6. Mejia – Having Hosmer (or Myers), Renfroe and Mejia back to back to back sets up a lot of K’s. Bump Mejia down one spot to hopefully get pitchers out of their rhythm
7. Margot/Cordero (for 2020 obviously) – I do think the CF position is the one that will be looked at hard to improve this offseason. I like Franchy, but health is proving to be a major issue for him unfortunately.
8. Urias – This one is tough. I do think Urias is a perfect #2 guy. For now though, let’s see a little more consistency from him. If he shows it the rest of the year, then bump him to #2 and Hosmer/Myers go to 5 while everyone else moves down a spot.
This lineup is dangerous although I do think another LHH is needed. CF is really the only option for that spot.
This team either needs Urias and Mejia to take a major step forward, AND Myers to return to form, or it needs new players.
A team with Hosmer 3rd and Renfroe 4th is not a playoff team. Hosmer has a very meh 102 wRC+, he should be hitting 6th. Renfroe has an OBP of .299, he should be hitting 7th.
I agree with your advocacy for another LHH. Perhaps Renfroe moves to CF and Trammel comes up and plays RF?
Read Bill James and bring your thinking current.
Teams in the know value on base percentage and power. Machado should hit 2nd. Not barely holding on to his roster spot, replaced by Wil Myers in CF to get some offense out of that position Margot.
This is another reason Green should be fired. Too stupid to see what others are doing, and too stubborn to change.
And no team that has league average hitters batting 2nd and 5th is going to the playoffs. Hosmer should be batting 6th and Margot 9th.
The one that doesn’t have Wil Myers in it.