Last year Jim Leyland tried out something new by using a platoon at the lead off spot. The player that was leadoff depended on the starting pitcher for the opposing team wherein Curtis Granderson hit first against RHP’s and Pudge Rodriguez hit first against LHP’s. This was due to Grandersons’ well documented inability to hit left handed pitching. Below are the pretty astounding splits showing this disparity during 2007:
This is obviously a major weakness for Curtis as even with Leyland actively working to limit his plate appearances against left-handed pitching, 20% of his PAs came against left-handers. To offset this Leyland put out Pudge, who didn’t fare a whole heck of a lot better at leadoff:
|Tigers Overall 1st||777||.292||.348||.525||.873|
That is certainly not getting the job done. Detroit simply needs more out of the position than Pudge is offering at all and that Curtis can provide alone. While I don’t believe that Curtis should be leadoff at all, mainly due to this weakness, Leyland has been clearly aiming to keep him in that role as much as possible. So with that in mind, what should the platoon look like?
I’d suggest Placido Polanco fill the role and that each spot just bump up a notch. Such as below:
|vs RHP||vs LHP|
The best projected lineup has Gary Sheffield batting leadoff, and I like that but it’s unlikely. Wherever the lineup ends up.. please Jim, no more Pudge at leadoff. Too many other options exist now.