Mar 14, 2014; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielderB.J. Upton
(2) talks with batting coachGreg Walker
(27) prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Earlier today on twitter, the various Braves media guys (Mark Bowman, David O’Brien, Kevin McAlpin) let those of us without inside access know that Fredi Gonzalez had some plans for the Opening Day Atlanta Braves lineup:
Not exactly what you were expecting or hoping was it? Well, it definitely wasn’t for most of us. As some of you may know (and some may not) “advanced” lineup construction methods show that the spot your best overall hitter should be hitting in is the No. 2 spot because of the number of plate appearances and RBI opportunities.
Unfortunately, it looks like Gonzalez is planning on going with arguably the team’s worst hitter in this spot. Forget for a second that Upton was one of the worst hitters in all of baseball last year and just ponder upon his .329 career on base percentage. That’s not exactly a hitter you want to have the second-most appearences on the team.
Hopefully, this is just a little experiment for Fredi and we move on to an actual MLB lineup as the year progresses. Until then, I wouldn’t worry too much about it because lineup optimization doesn’t even make a huge difference in the big scheme of things.
Oh yeah, Chris Johnson is going to bat fourth. I don’t really care too much about that one because Johnson actually hit well the entire year, but I’d probably stick Justin Upton in that spot. Now we’re just nitpicking poor ol’ Fredi.
Harang to pitch Atlanta opener
In addition to those lineup notes, Bowman and company also tweeted that newly acquired Aaron Harang should be in line to pitch in Atlanta’s home opener against the Mets in addition to the final game against the Brewers:
Should be fun.