Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Batting Order, 3rd & 4th, Prince or Braun?

I'm a fan of Adam McCalvy who is the beat writer for the Brewers for, but I think he missed a potential topic from some of the comments/questions on one of his previous mailbags

One of the questions he responded to there were comments that Prince would be batting 3rd this year and Braun would be batting 4th. Another comment said the lack of left handed hitting would cause Prince Fielder to lead the league in walks and Braun to struggle as pitchers learn to work around him. The way the comments were written so nonchalantly and the fact that McCalvy didn't pick the topic up made me think he thought the same thing.

Let me first respond to the comment about the assumption that Prince is going to be batting third this year. Am I missing something here? When did this happen? I subscribe to the old adage of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality. Why the F would you mess up a 3-4 combo of Braun-Fielder? Both had BREAKOUT seasons offensively this year. If you want to talk about maximizing the offense...lets talk about the 12 games last year in which Braun did bat 4th (note:small sample size alert):
-12 games
-.227 BA
-.276 OBP
-3 HR
-16 strikeouts!
-3 walks

My analysis of the numbers are crude, but you can get a sense of the way pitchers attacked Braun if he batted 4th with no protection from Prince. Yeah he hit 3 bombs, but 16 strikeouts? Egad!

Prince's tendancy to be more patient (as evident by his much higher walk total, even factoring in the more games played) makes him a natural fit for the 4th spot in my opinion.

This leads into the second comment. Braun's numbers WILL NOT decline (in relative terms) if he remains in the 3 hole. Pitchers WILL NOT pitch around him if the mammoth patient beast power hitter that is Prince Fielder is looming behind him. And is the guy stating indirectly with his comment that Prince's walk numbers going "way up" are a bad thing? ARE YOU JOKING ME? For christ sake, the more men on base the better.

Rickie leads off with a single up the middle. JJ or Gwynn pops up. Braun rips a base hit to left. Prince walks. Bases loaded 1 out. Hart is up. I like that.

Braun leads off the inning with a double to right-center. They intentionally walk Fielder. Runners on 1st & 2nd, no out. Hart is up. I REALLY LIKE THAT.

Ryan Braun is going to be a better hitter in the 3 hole. Prince IS going to walk alot, and he also is going to hit bombs. I don't know how any person can put a negative twist on our 3-4 punch. If anyone wants to prove me wrong with some other analysis, lets hear it.


highplaya said...

Braun in the four hole gives the Brewers more flexibility offensively. With Prince four its Rickie, JJ, Braun get on base and hope for the bomb. Now with Braun four when he gets on, possibly to lead off the second, it allows Hart and also possibly Cameron and Hall to utilize the steal, hit and run, run and hit, or drag bunt. With Fielder on base this will not happen. Hart has a wide skill set offensively which is not useable batting behind Prince. Braun is also a potential 20 steal guy who should never steal when Prince is behind him. I can't agrue your stats but I think this is why the Brewers would like Braun 4.

Goldy said...

During that Winter Warm Up thing on FSN,it was stated by Yost that Braun will be batting 4th this season to give him a chance to steal some bags,

brad said...

Braun-Prince, 3-4. That's the way I see it. Christ, do you imagine we could have a 3-4 combo with combine 90 homers and 250 RBIs???

Anonymous said...

When is the preseason prediction for the CREW being held? My comment on this is that you definitely hit your best hitter in the 3 hole (which is Fielder). BTW Ben has spring training tix to every game at Maryvale..he's deep. I say we make it next weekend or the weekend after so we can get a jump on spring training. Down in AZ right now, enjoy the snow fellas.


highplaya said...

Nate. When we going to AZ?

AP said...

If we are already kicking around different lineups in the beginning of February, you can bet that Ned will still be trying out "different" lineups well into July......

Anonymous said...

Already deep twice, not sure if I will be able to make it back for spring training, but let me know if you are going


Anonymous said...

Ned's idea for steals. Part of the greater effort to find a way to somehow screw up Braun. Change batting order, move to LF with lots of challenges despite the yakking stat-heads, and Nedly has even talked about how Braun should improve his plate discipline.

- pete

Anonymous said...

Ned will Yost up the situation somehow...