Recently on Twitter I have heard Dusty is thinking about starting at lead off or even clean up in the Batting order this season. My first thought was “huh… seriously???” However the more thought I gave it the more curious I got. I decided to look up Bruce’s MLB Career stats based on batting order. After looking over those stats I decided to graph them to get a better visual of it. Below I have put together five graphs and posted them on the blog. ( you can make it bigger by clicking on the graphs)
As you can see there seems to be a lack of experience for Bruce at Leadoff with only 112 at bats and even less at clean up with 31 at bats. In addition Bruce stats at those 2 batting order positions are not very supportive. At the leadoff position Bruce does have a decent AVG at .277 however he does not have what it takes to be a leadoff hitter in respect to base running as he has no stolen bases and caught stealing twice. Dusty also has better options at both batting order positions. At Leadoff with Stubbs (who let’s hope has learned to make contact with ball) and newly acquired Fred Lewis who if nothing else has the experience at leadoff. At clean up you have the 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto who I am sure will do very well at that position and should be a no brainer for it.
While I like the idea of a manager thinking outside the box I believe this move would be disastrous for Bruce if this were to become an every day event. If opportunity presents itself IE we have 5+ game lead in the division or we are playing a very weak opponent and can easily catch up then sure experiment all you want but not too much. Especially with Bruce who struggled mightily through most of last season before the light came on at the end. I think he has confidence now but that could be washed away quickly if Dusty messes with hi too much. Also for those of you who watched last year Jim Edmonds really took Bruce under his wing and was often coaching him in the club house and so far this spring Jim is back with an invite to St. Louis’ camp. Take a look at graphs and form your own opinions on should Bruce be a leadoff or cleanup hitter this season.