As the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim search for the winning lineup, there see..."/> As the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim search for the winning lineup, there see..."/>

Where To Begin?


As the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim search for the winning lineup, there seems to be one question lingering amongst halo fans… “Is Maicer ready to be this clubs leadoff man?”

Amongst other decisions that will have to be made as the season progresses and players return from the disabled list, this seems to be the one that requires the most immediate attention.  If the Angels can’t get the right man in the one spot, they may want to rethink their hopes for a post-season appearance.

In my mind, and on paper, the answer is perfectly clear.

If the Angels want to get the most bang for their buck out of mighty Maicer, he belongs in the two slot in that batting order.  In 151 games where Izturis batted second in the order as a starter, he has boasted some of his most consistent (and most powerful) statistics.  A mere .276 career hitter, Maicer has a boosted .293 batting average when batting behind the leadoff spot, and a whopping 15 homeruns out of that same lineup position.  Pretty impressive numbers considering he only lays claim to 27 homeruns as we now enter his eighth year in the majors.

What may be more impressive than the argument for his batting second in the lineup, is the argument against his batting leadoff.

If we simply take a look back a year ago to the 2010 season, Izturis only started 7 games in the leadoff spot.  In those 7 attempts to get the ball rolling, he reached base only once to start the game by way of a walk.  If we look just a bit further at 2010, in those 7 games he leadoff, Maicer hit for an average of .214, well below that of his teammate Erick Aybar (.279 BA in 95 games as leadoff man).

In fact, I would go as far as to say that Izturis is even a risk to let lead off any inning, as he only hit .210 last season as the first batter of an inning.  Two things to me are certain;  Izturis is clearly more comfortable for whatever reason batting second in the lineup for the Angels, and he clearly has no business batting in the leadoff spot.  That spot belongs to Erick Aybar.

In the 2010 campaign, Aybar played 95 games as the halos number one man, with an OPS of .706 and an OBP of .336.  As a leadoff man, Aybar is most definitely the best choice the Angels have.  A career .275 hitter, Erick does hit slightly above average in the one spot (.284 BA).  If you were to look at the career stat lines for Aybar, his hitting capabilities are about equal whether he hits first or last in the lineup.  There are two numbers however, that jump out at you when you look at Erick’s statistics as a leadoff man… Runs scored and bases stolen.

If Erick can get on base more than Izturis, which he clearly can, he stands a chance to both steal a bag and come around to score.  17 stolen bases and 66 runs out of Erick versus 6 stolen bases and 34 runs out of Izturis, there is just no question who the better man is to get things going for Los Angeles.  The Angels have a serious one-two punch if they can just muster up the courage to use it properly.  That’s my theory at least for how I think the halos can fix this problem.

Here’s how I think the Angels should arrange their lineup, for the regular starters of course:

1-Aybar (Best leadoff man potential)

2-Izturis (Clearly his most productive lineup spot)

3-Abreu (Has played ten times more games in the #3 spot than any other lineup spot)

4-Wells (Best strategic positioning for a power threat like Vernon)

5-Trumbo/Morales (Teams will pitch more to Mark, or avoid Kendrys and pitch to Wells)

6-Hunter (Highest career SLG and OPS when batting in the #6 slot)

7-Kendrick (A career .315 hitter with 16 HR in the 7 hole)

8-Bourjos (Incredible speed, a great setup for Mathis)

9-Mathis (Most productive spot for Jeff, great sacrifice spot to move Bourjos)