Making The Best Lineup — One through Nine, Catcher to DH — of The Game’s Best Prospects
Today is the first day of Major League Spring Training games — we’ll have to wait longer on the Minors — so we are getting our first looks at lineups with prospects: what positions they’re playing, what slot in the order they’re hitting, etc. For example: Avisail Garcia and Nick Castellanos, two of the Tigers’ top three prospects, started in right and left field and batted eighth and ninth, respectively, on Jim Leyland’s first card of the exhibition season.
Anyway, that was enough for me to ponder this question: If you could make a lineup — one through nine, with a DH instead of a pitcher — comprising entirely prospects, what would it look like? Well, after doing some thinking, here is what I came up with:
I’m guessing this will be one of the more divisive blog posts in PROSPECTive’s brief history, so allow me in advance to explain some of my choices:
- Profar (Rangers): He is the Minors’ most dynamic player, not quite the base-stealer that the Reds’ Billy Hamilton is, but a much better hitter for both average and power. He would also play a very good shortstop.
- Yelich (Marlins): Hamilton and the Red Sox’s Jackie Bradley contended for this center field slot, but I couldn’t pass up Yelich, who might be the Minors’ most natural hitter. He also has decent power and smarts on the basepaths. I would trust the him to form a solid atop-the-order combo with Profar — they’d make for a good hit-and-run combo.
- Myers (Rays): Speaking of natural hitters, the Royal-turned-Ray might be a better fit for the lineup’s cleanup spot, but I like to alternate lefties and righties so as to stop the skipper in the other dugout from bringing in a relief specialist that would cross off back-to-back sluggers. Superficial of me, I know.
- Taveras (Cardinals): I’ve been hearing the Vlad Guerrero comparison a lot lately, but let’s remember that Taveras is much more of a disciplined hitter. He also has Myers-type power without the whiffing, having fanned just 56 times in 477 at-bats while hitting 23 homers a year ago.
- Zunino (Mariners): This is the section of the lineup where I’m getting creative as a skipper. I had considered going with Twins third baseman Miguel Sano here (as he might be a DH long-term anyway), but he strikes out too much for my taste, and moving Zunino out from behind home plate allows me utilize d’Arnaud’s bat, too.
- Singleton (Astros): Why couldn’t I afford to keep Sano’s bat (144 Ks in ’12) in the lineup? He and Singleton (131 Ks in ’12) would have killed far too many would-be rallies with their swing-hard-and-miss-often approach.
- d’Arnaud (
Blue JaysMets): Risky to DH my backup catcher (Zunino), I know. But what you didn’t know: I have the Padres’ Austin Hedges waiting on the bench. So there.
- Arenado (Rockies): My fear of piling up Ks is also why I’m going with Arenado here, not the Rangers’ Mike Olt. Yes, Arenado came back down to earth last season, but that was at age 21 and in Double-A. Give this kid a break — he’s going to be a good one.
- Wong (Cardinals): It’s cliche, sure, but I view the No. 9 man as a second leadoff hitter, allowing the lineup to turn over one spot earlier than usual. Wong gives me that luxury. He’ll make consistent contact, move runners over with ease and steal more bases than the Padres’ Jedd Gyorko would.
OK, now you know my lineup. Give me yours in the comment section. I want to hear your arguments.