Ender Inciarte as the Leadoff Man?
By Thomas Lynch
Jun 24, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Ender Inciarte (5) hits an RBI single during the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
While watching the Arizona Diamondbacks play the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night, I heard Bob Brenly comment on Ender Inciarte who was batting at the time. He stated that perhaps the D’backs had found the guy that could be the every day leadoff man for the team. After all, Inciarte went 6 for 10 with three runs scored during the series. Brenly listed all of the guys who batted number one for the Snakes in 2014. Does that mean Inciarte should be the player leading off every day?
First of all, two excellent games should not automatically give him the role for every game. Even when you factor in the two contests against the Indians, Inciarte has an on-base percentage of .275 in 104 at-bats. It is true that it is an 80 point improvement from June 1st. However, if you are going to go with one leadoff person, shouldn’t it be someone with a longer track record like Gerardo Parra or even Chris Owings? Out of all the guys tried out in that spot this year from Parra and Owings to A.J. Pollock and Didi Gregorius, Kirk Gibson is going to settle on the guy with the least amount of experience and production? Also, we are talking about a manager who moves guys around the lineup as if he was playing Checkers. No player has a set spot for an extended period of time in this lineup except for Paul Goldschmidt at number three. Do we now expect that Ender Inciarte gets to the end of the board and yells, “King me”?
I wouldn’t mind if Gibson had a more structured, every day lineup. However, it is hard for me to believe that Inciarte is the best candidate for the leadoff position. Let’s let him have at least a week’s more worth of games before we anoint him as the one.