Gutierrez To Hit 3rd

Dave · April 4, 2010 at 6:55 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Shannon Drayer has the story of Wak deciding to start the season with Death To Flying Things hitting in the #3 spot in the order, seemingly to avoid putting undue pressure on Casey Kotchman. I talked about this the other day, but there was certainly a chance that Kotchman could have ended up as an easy scape goat for frustrated fans if the offense slumped early and he was hitting into a bunch of double plays. It’s not really the way you want the fans to get to know your new first baseman, so I think this is probably the right call.

If you start Kotchman off down in the order and he struggles, he may still attract some derision, but he won’t be seen as the reason the offense is failing. If he starts off hot, it’s easy enough to move him up.

I’m glad to see Wak make this move. It’s just one potentially bad scenario avoided.


9 Responses to “Gutierrez To Hit 3rd”

  1. Mekias on April 4th, 2010 8:04 pm

    While Kotchman isn’t exactly a good #3 hitter, I’m rather worried about Gutierrez hitting there against righties. His wOBA against righties last year was only .302 (.411 vs lefties).

    We’re really going to need Guti to speed up his development as a hitter if this is going to work out well.

  2. Dave on April 4th, 2010 8:09 pm

    In general, large platoon splits aren’t overly predictive. You have to regress them heavily, as most players who demonstrate a big difference in ability against different handed pitchers perform more like the average of the two going forward.

  3. Mekias on April 4th, 2010 8:26 pm

    I’d be a bit more optimistic if a .302 wOBA was unusual but that’s pretty much been his career vs righties. I can hope that his overall approach has improved and that will eventually lead to better hitting vs righties but it’s still worrisome.

  4. brettb3 on April 4th, 2010 8:58 pm

    As long as our three best hitters are in the 1,2 and 4 holes, it doesn’t really matter to me who is batting third. I like that this move will take away some undue pressure from Kotchman.

  5. behappy on April 4th, 2010 9:14 pm

    Either way for this team to win, everyone is going to have to hit better than they did last year. Ichrio! has to be Ichrio!. But we need big years from Casey, Franklin, Milton, Jose, Jack, and hopefully the two-headed catcher will be average. That lineup is way better than last years opening day but, we need a perfect storm to win the division.

    Less than 24 hours till first pitch.

    Lets Go Mariners!! It been 9 long years since the magic 2001 season. Remind me again why I have been such a devoted fan.

    Cheers…here is to a fun long season.

  6. nickwest1976 on April 4th, 2010 10:42 pm

    Based on this, I would guess the lineups would look like this:

    Against righties:

    RF – Ichiro (L)
    2B – Figgins (S)
    CF – Gutierrez (R)
    LF – Bradley (S)
    3B – Lopez (R)
    DH – Griffey (L)
    1B – Kotchman (L)
    C – Johnson (R)
    SS – Wilson (R)

    Against lefties:

    RF – Ichiro (L)
    2B – Figgins (S)
    CF – Gutierrez (R)
    DH – Bradley (S)
    3B – Lopez (R)
    LF – Brynes (R)
    1B – Kotchman (L)
    C – Johnson (R)
    SS – Wilson (R)

    Essentially against lefties Milton should move to DH and Brynes is your LF.

    If Griffey is officially done as a hitter, I would hope Milton would move to full-time DH and then Brynes/Langerhans could platoon in LF which would provide very good defense in LF each day.

    But I LIKE Guti in the 3 hole because I think he still has upside as a hitter to keep getting better and it provides a ton of speed 1-3. The M’s should be able to use the speed game at the top of the order to generate some runs. I also agree completely Dave that this is the wise move to take some pressure off Kotchman.

    I also like that it balances the lineup a bit more in terms of L-R-L.

  7. Liam on April 5th, 2010 1:20 am

    Gutierrez is the #6 hitter the Mariners deserve, but not the one it needs right now. So they’ll bat him third, because he can take it.

  8. Patrick on April 5th, 2010 2:53 am

    Kudos Liam, for equating a Dark Knight quote to Guti, that was awesome.

    And as far as this move goes, as long as it helps Kotchman and the M’s, its great. I’m excited to see how it all plays out.

  9. Rboyle0628 on April 5th, 2010 8:33 am

    Agreed Patrick, I like this move also.

    Guti is going to have numerous RBI opportunities with Ichiro! and Figgins on base.

    …Which I’m also praying for because he’s on my fantasy team lol.

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