What is the object of the game of baseball? To score runs, right?
What is the best way to stop your opposing team from scoring runs? Get batters out.
Therefore, what is the best way to score runs? Not produce outs.
Sure home runs are great; chicks dig the long ball, but making opposing pitchers throw more pitches, keeping your offense on the field and putting pressure on the opposing team to stop you from scoring is a good idea. No?
It is time managers stop putting a fast guy at the top of the lineup solely because of his speed. It is time to stop blindly inserting the home run guy in the middle and catchers at the bottom of the order. Player’s don’t leave their mitts on the field between innings anymore, do they? So why is the same general formula for writing a lineup still used?
If a team does not want to make an out then the most plate appearances should go to the player who makes the fewest outs.
On-base percentage is how often a batter gets on base. Sounds simple enough, right? Would you rather a guy who gets on base about 40% of the time get more at-bats or a guy who gets on base about 33% of the time? Give me the guy who gets on 40% of the time almost any day.
Or look at this way; one player gives the other team an out 60% of the time and the second player gives the other team an out 67% of the time. Which is better?
With that being said, here is what the Rockies lineup should look like come opening day:
— Todd Helton: career OBP of .424 and even last year his OBP was .362 and it was his worst season since 1997 – his rookie campaign.
— Troy Tulowitzki: career OBP of .362 and in recent years his OBP has been .377 in 2009 and .381 in 2010.
— Carlos Gonzalez: CarGo’s .376 OBP was 20 points higher than it was in 2009. Progress is good!
— Seth Smith: his career OBP of .349 was dropped quite a bit because of his awful second half in 2010. His OBP of .378 in 2009 is lovely.
— Dexter Fowler: in his first two full seasons of baseball his OBP has hovered around .350.
— Jonathan Herrera: His .352 OBP in 2010 should give him a better shot at the 2B job. In reality he has little chance of making the club out of spring training.
— Ian Stewart: never had an OBP higher than .349 for a full season and more recently his OBP has been closer to .330.
— Chris Iannetta: while his batting average is painfully low, he does take a lot of walks so his OBP is quite a bit higher. In 104 games in 2008 his OBP was .390 and even with a sub .200 batting average in 2010 his OBP was still .318 – not great, but more representative of what he does offensively than his batting average.
This leaves the following players for the bench:
— Ryan Spilborghs: 2009 and 2010 were the only season where Spilly appeared in 130 games or more. In 2009 his OBP was a meager .310 but in 2010 it jumped to .360.
— Eric Young Jr.: needs to learn to draw walks if he truly is a top of the order batter. We know Jim Tracy would love to have him at the top for his speed but his .312 OBP in 2010 belongs in the eighth spot of the order.
— Ty Wigginton: a career .326 OBP and already 33 years old = the bench.
— Jose Lopez: a career .297 OBP (.270 in 2010) should mean he is sent to AAA to learn what a walk is. Lopez has 134 walks in his CAREER in 3,599 plate appearances. He has 402 career strikeouts.
So the two free agent position player signings by the Rockies this offseason should be nothing more than bench players. Yet something tells me they will play a larger role.