Going into this weekend’s series against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Cardinals need to start getting back to scoring runs and playing better in general. After seeing the Cardinals offense flame out and the team get swept by both the Cubs and Reds, I got to thinking that maybe the lineup could use some tweaking. There are a few theories around about lineup construction and optimization. And there are those of the opinion that batting order doesn’t matter. For example, yesterday’s lineup saw Matt Carpenter, the team’s leading home run hitter, in the lead-off spot. From there he hit what amounted to an inconsequential 2-run home run in the 8th inning after the team was down 5 runs. Traditionally, teams would put their number one home run hitter in the 4th spot. Some say if that player leads the team in OPS he should bat 3rd. So, who is the Cardinals leader in OPS? Among league leader qualifiers (minimum 3.1 plate appearances per game) it is Jedd Gyorko. He should bat 3rd, That puts Carpenter in the 4th spot. Stephen Piscotty, yesterday’s 3rd place hitter leads the team in on-base percentage. So wouldn’t it make sense for him to lead off? Traditionally, a team would want its 2nd place hitter to be one who puts the ball in play and doesn’t strike out a lot. The player with the lowest strikeout rate per plate appearance? Aledmys Diaz. Now, for the bottom of the order, Dexter Fowler, 2nd on the team in home runs, should bat 5th followed by Yadier Molina. The 7th spot often sees the player with the highest strikeout rate. In this case that player is Tommy Pham, who is an interesting choice for this spot because he leads the team in both on-base percentage and OPS among non-qualifiers. The 8th spot goes to the second baseman, Garcia or DeJong, followed by the pitcher’s spot.
Mike Matheny needs to shake things up to ignite the offense, and if that means getting guys out of their comfort zones, then so be it. When run scoring has become this anemic, it is time for a change.
This one uses 3.1 PA/G, began with middle of lineup
Piscotty—Highest on-base PCT
Carpenter—Leads team in HR
Fowler—2nd in HR
Molina—3rd in HR
Garcia/DeJong—Someone has to play 2nd
Pham—Highest on-base PCT among non-qualifiers (3.1 PA/G)
Based on runs created per game: