Since Spring Training is starting this week, I figured I would take a break from my beloved PAC-10 Basketball and discuss some baseball. I've got a few season predictions, and a bit of analysis... and then it's back to basketball again until the regular season gets underway. The first order of business is the Diamondbacks batting order. First of all, with the "Mad Scientist" Bob Melvin at the helm we know that this lineup is going to be ever changing. But as a general rule of thumb, this is what I think the BO (no, not that kind of BO) will look like...
1.Chris Young - proved he can handle the lead-off spot. He's a threat to steal and to go long with it. Love his hustle. He's worked his way through the first year adjustments and proved that he is going to be an elite player.
Big Concern: Will he avoide the typical sports Sophomore let down?
2. Orlando Hudson - Very consistent hitter with a lot of speed will keep the pressure on the bases and limit the double-play ball.
Big Concern: How will he respond after the wrist surgery?
3. Eric Byrnes - Keep the speed coming. Byrnes proved he can get it out of the park with some regularity. Byrnes seemed to come up with big hits last year to keep drives going. He was quick on the basepaths when the D-backs needed to keep the pressure on.
Big Concern: Can he keep his emotion under control? The emotion is a good thing, but at the end of the year last year he stumbled a bit because he was overly excited.
4. Mark Reynolds - Should be more consistant than last year. This kid has some major power in his bat. His numbers on the road vs. at home only vary by 0.010, and against righties and lefties there is only a 0.001 vairance. He's a constant threat so long as he's not in one of his adjustment funks (which should have ended last season).
Big Concern: Can he learn he doesn't always need to hit it out?
5. Chris Snyder - He's a solid hitter than had more success when he wasn't batting 8 or 9. Had 13 HR's last season, and he doesn't strike out very frequently. Not the ideal hitter for the 5 spot, but its the best the Diamondbacks have.
Big Concern: Can he have big numbers like you want out of a 5 spot guy when he'll be splitting time behind the plate with Miguel Montero?
6. Stephen Drew - He gets on base constantly, and I expect he should have a break out year this year as he becomes more mature and understands the pitchers better. He's got decent pop to his bat, and does a great job of making the defense work. He should make some great progress this year.
Big Concern: Can he keep out of the double play?
7. Conor Jackson - Jackson has a great eye for the strike zone, but is frequently too patient at the plate and passes up on big pitches. He has the potential to have good HR numbers, but his clutch numbers are horrible. His RISP is barely over .200, and he's almost a guaranteed out after the 7th inning with the game within 1 run. Not the player make-up you want for your 4 or 5 guy.
Big Concern: His clutch numbers are horrendous, and he's not the swiftest of foot. If Upton is running behind him he better find another gear.
8. Justin Upton - Love his speed and his potential. Batting 8th will make him look at the pitches and in the long run will make him a better hitter. He's got decent power, but he will need some development. Overtime he should develop into a great hitter.
Big Concern: Batting 8th is a tough spot to hit. Don't usually get very good pitches to hit. Should be interesting to see what he can do with this spot being as it will be his first full year in the Bigs.
9. Micah Owings - With the exception of Owings (and Davis a slight bit) this spot is typically an automatic out. Owings proved last year he can handle a bat just as well as he can pitch. You never know, if his pitching goes south he might end up pulling a Rick Ankiel.
Big Concern: It's the pitcher's spot... what do you think? He's not going to pitch but every fifth game. This isn't the AL you know.