Twins need to re-think their leadoff spot

July 15, 2008 at 8:46 am 2 comments

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

What is the job of a leadoff hitter? What qualities are needed for a player to be a leadoff hitter? If you ask 10 scouts you might get 10 different answers but I guarantee that you will here two things on each ballot: patience and plate discipline. Neither one of those two things are part of Carlos Gomez’s game.

In fact, he seems opposed to plate discipline and patience. He rarely takes a walk. He has 14 on the season against 96 strikeouts, the second most in the AL. His BB/K rate of 0.15 is the lowest in the majors. He sees a whopping 3.38 pitches per plate appearance, good for the 5th lowest total among AL qualifiers and 8th lowest in the majors. His BB/PA is 6th lowest in the majors and 4th lowest in the AL.

On the season he is hitting .253/.287/.351 with 14 doubles, 4 triples, 5 homers, 50 runs, 31 RBI, 21 steals, and 9 caught stealing (tied for 2nd most in the AL and 3rd most in the majors) in 379 at-bats. Gomez has amazing speed. He grades an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale for speed. But speed does not make a leadoff hitter.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really not trying to bash Gomez. He is only a rookie but he does not belong in the leadoff spot. Ron Gardenhire needs to realize this right away. If I ran a team that had a manager that allowed a player with the above numbers to bat leadoff for me then someone would lose their job very quickly. They need guys who actually get on base in front of the big hitters. The Twins are only 1.5 games behind the White Sox in the Central and 2.5 games behind the Rays for the Wild Card. If the Twins are serious about being contenders and making a push for the playoffs they need to reconsider having Carlos Gomez at the top of their lineup. He should be dropped to the bottom of the order (7-9 spots) and someone who actually gets on base (Joe Mauer?) should be moved up to the leadoff spot to maximize the lineup potential.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rachel  |  July 20, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Joe Mauer leading off? No.
    How about Denard Span? Or even Alexi Casilla. But not Joe Mauer. I totally agree that Gomez SHOULD NOT be leading off.

  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  July 21, 2008 at 7:42 am

    If Span can keep up his high OBP then he should get a chance to lead off. To me, the whole point of a lineup is to have the most people on base in front of the best power hitters to maximize the run potential. If that means putting Mauer, Span, or even Kubel in the leadoff spot then I have no problem with it. I was never a fan of a “fast” player having to lead off. Casilla doesn’t get on base enough to lead off for me but Span might. Last year’s 1st round reach Ben Revere looks like he can be a legit leadoff guy that can get on base 40% of the time and steal bases but he’s a year or two away.


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