The Optimal Line-Up
Now that the Mariners have added Dustin Ackley to the roster, I thought I’d throw out my suggestion for what the line-up should look like on a fairly regular basis, based on the team as currently constructed.
I’m sure Wedge will start Ackley lower in the line-up for reasons related to “pressure” and “adjusting”, but I don’t put a lot of stock in those ideas. Right now, Ackley is one of the best hitters on the team, and the Mariners have their best chance of winning if he’s near the top of the batting order and on base for Justin Smoak to drive in.
As for Carp over Peguero, this shouldn’t even be that controversial; Carp outhit Peguero in Tacoma, and he’s outhit him in the Majors. I don’t think either of them should be considered the answer in left field, but given the choice between the two, I think Carp should win out pretty easily. If you want to argue for Peguero to get some of Cust’s playing time, that’s fine – just realize that the “lousy” Jack Cust that many people want to see released has a .314 wOBA, and the “exciting” Carlos Peguero that has “proved his skeptics wrong” has a .316 wOBA. Both are flawed players, but I’ll take a guy who can actually get on base over an all-or-nothing hack.
Figgins probably won’t like becoming a part-time player, but he hasn’t earned an everyday role, and until Adam Kennedy cools off, those two can share third base. They’re both probably best utliized as part-time players at this point in their career anyway.
The lack of a real left fielder continues to hurt here, as the team has a very weak middle of the order against southpaws. Halman is probably the best option right now due to handedness and defense, but that’s just being the biggest fish in a very tiny pond. If the Mariners are serious about trying to stay in the race this summer, they need a new left fielder – preferably one who can hit LHPs. You can mix and match at DH if you want, as none of the options are all that great against southpaws.
There will be some push to use Jack Wilson at second base against lefties, but I would advise against a strict platoon. Ackley actually hit LHPs better than RHPs in Tacoma this year, and the team needs his bat in the line-up as often as possible. Wilson can get the occasional start against southpaws, but they should be benching Ackley about as often as they bench Justin Smoak – these two aren’t just the future of the offense, they’re two of the best hitters this team has, and they need them in order to win.