The Diamondbacks completed yet another piece to their puzzle this off season by signing Martin Prado to a four year deal that our editor, Michael Jenkins discussed in detail here. That leaves only Gerardo Parra as an arbitration eligible player without a deal as the two sides sit about $600,000 apart.
On the heels of Prado’s extension today, I thought it would be interesting to see what the teams potential lineup would look like on a nightly basis. Hopefully, the year 2013 will see more of standard lineup than we watched in 2012 with Kirk Gibson sending out a different order seemingly every night for the first two months of the season as he tried to light a spark under his club.As Prado mentioned in his interview with ESPN, he has virtually been in the number two spot in the lineup for his entire career. His competition for that spot will be Aaron Hill who spent 103 games there in 2012 batting .296. Prado spent 140 games in the two hole finishing with a .297 average meaning both players can fill this spot in the lineup nicely. Being that Hill has shown pop in his bat in the past, the likely move would be for him to bat third.
It has been said that rookie Adam Eaton will be the lead-off man for the club if all goes as planned through Spring Training. Eaton has a grand total of 85 major league at-bats with all but one coming in the lead-off spot. In his limited action, he finished with an on base percentage of .382, perfect for a lead-off hitter whose number one priority is getting on base.
Jason Kubel had his most success while batting in the clean-up spot and since he led the team in home runs and RBI’s, I think starting him there again in the upcoming season makes sense.
This leaves us with Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Montero, Cody Ross and Cliff Pennington. Montero was second on the team in RBI’s last year (88) so the fifth spot in the lineup may seem like a good fit. However, the catcher was lights out when he hit in the the sixth spot in the lineup last season, hitting .335 with a .430 OBP and 10 of his 15 home runs.
Goldschmidt experienced the most success in the fifth spot in the lineup last season finishing with 22 doubles, 10 home runs and an OPS off the charts at 1.020. The stats here place them in their respective spots rather easily.
Ross actually had his most success in the six hole while playing with Boston last season although he recorded the most at-bats in the number five spot in the lineup. Still, while Ross did hit 22 home runs last season, I believe that he would best fit in the seventh spot in the lineup, hitting just behind Montero.
Pennington offers the least production offensively in this lineup assuming he is the starting shortstop and will sit in the eighth spot for most of the season. Gibson might try to shake it up at some point though and give him a few starts in the number two hole throughout the season. In the event that Pennington struggles, Willie Bloomquist spent most of his at-bats leading off last season although he was effective all over the lineup card and is a great ‘plug-and-play’ guy both offensively and defensively.
All that being said, here is the lineup that the D’backs could pencil in on a regular basis:
Sure, many critics of this team say they lack that ‘big bat’ that will scare opposing pitchers. However, when looking up and down this lineup there is a great argument that from top to bottom there really aren’t any weaknesses. There is, of course, the “if” factor with Eaton who has very little major league experience, but that’s where Gerardo Parra can come in at any time and still give the Snakes a spark at the top of the lineup. In 2012, the lefty scored 30 runs and hit .307 with a .374 on base percentage from the top spot in the lineup.
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