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who-should-bat-clean-up | January | 2005 Articles

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Who should bat clean-up?

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There has been a lot of speculating among fans about what the batting order should be for the Braves this year, especially about who should bat clean-up. Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Raul Mondesi, Johnny Estrada, and even Brian Jordan have been mentioned as possibilities. I think that Andruw is, by far, the best choice for the cleanup spot. He looks deceptively bad at the plate sometimes, but look at his numbers since 2002: 2002: .264/.366/.513 35 hr 94 RBI 2003: .277/.338/.513 36 hr 116 RBI 2004: .261/.345/.488 29 hr 91 RBI Now, look at the numbers for the other candidates for the cleanup spot (with numbers since 2002): Raul Mondesi 2002: .232/.308/.432 26 hr 88 RBI 2003: .272/.343/.484 24 hr 71 RBI 2004: .241/.313/.376 3 hr 15 RBI Raul's best season since 2002 is not as good as Andruw's worst season since 2002. Johnny Estrada 2002: .118 /.211/ .176 0 hr 2 RBI 2003: .306/.359 /.306 0 hr 2 RBI 2004: .314/.378/.450 9 hr 76 RBI Johnny had a fine season last year in his first full MLB season, but his slugging percentage and power numbers are not what you want from a cleanup hitter at all. He's better suited to bat 5th or 6th. I don't feel like looking at his numbers against left-handers because I'm lazy, but I remember the numbers were not good. Because he gets on base so well, you would think he would be suited to bat at the top of the order, but he is way too slow to do that (playing catcher is tough on the body). Some say Chipper should bat clean-up. Ok, but if you move him there, the only logical choice to bat 3rd is Giles. Then there's no good choice for anyone to hit 2nd except for Julio (who won't play everyday). Julio's not fast, but he has average speed and is an excellent base runner. Estrada and LaRoche are slow and aren't known for their baserunning skills (you need their bats in the RBI positions anyway)...and I don't think you would want whoever is playing left field to get that many at-bats by batting 2nd.
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