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Long and Pickering

I received an interesting comment from a reader named Dave regarding yesterday’s post. Dave wrote, in part:
Love your lineup except I'd flop Long and Pickering.. Long has potential to hit 20 HR's and hit .280, and he's a lot faster.. If you look at your 3-6 as is, there is absolutely no speed, which equals run scoring hell.. They have to find a way to seperate the fat and slow and injury prone guys who cant run, it killed us last year.
In case you don’t have any idea what he’s talking about, I made an early winter lineup that had sloths Calvin Pickering, Mike Sweeney, Matt Stairs, and John Buck hitting consecutively. In a way, he has a good point; ideally, you don’t want four guys who can’t run all clumped together in the same part of the order. However, I wouldn’t say separating those guys is so vital that Terrence Long should hit third. On offense, speed is essentially without value unless it’s on base, and T-Long’s inability to avoid outs (career .319 on-base percentage) probably would kill the offense more than Pickering’s lack of speed would.

The concept of getting your best hitters the most at-bats possible is one that’s still lost on even the most intelligent baseball fans. Pickering does a good job of drawing walks and hitting the ball way out of the park, and to maximize a team’s run-scoring output, teams need to hit guys like that as high in the order as possible. Breaking up the monotony of slow dudes would be nice if one of the fast guys could get on base, but they don’t. There’s a good chance that Pickering and Long will be the best and worst hitters in the lineup respectively, and they need to be slotted accordingly regardless of speed.

Other stuff ...

  • Is there any question that Jamie Foxx is a freaky-awesome talent? He really burst onto the scene in 2004 by starring in Collateral and Ray (which should earn him the Oscar for Best Actor), and as a result of those movies, he's been given the opportunity to display his other abilities. You know, normal stuff like hilarious stand-up comedy, impersonations, piano playing, singing, and songwriting. The guy's on fire right now, and it looks as if nothing short of a complete disaster will keep him from superstardom.

  • In the rubble of all the horrible free agent signings (there was another one yesterday), leave it to Theo Epstein to make a sensible move. The Red Sox won the two-day long Wade Miller sweepstakes (the Royals were in on him too), signing him to a one-year deal that's laden with incentives. The beauty of the contract is its low base ($1.5 million), which reduces Boston's risk significantly. If he's healthy, Miller's one hell of a good pitcher, posting ERA+ numbers of 96, 134, 130, 107, and 129 in his first five full seasons. I like the odds of Miller and Matt Clement at least matching the contributions Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe give their new teams, and the Sox would be getting that production at significantly less cost. This was a good pickup, and Miller will be a nice sleeper pick for all you fantasy baseball-types out there.

  • Kevin's Royals Blog has a new team member. Be on the lookout for some articles by Dan, my partner-in-crime from Voices From The Basement.

  • As a 20th birthday present to myself, I'm going to take tomorrow off. Santa's going to leave Carlos Beltran in somebody's favorite team's stocking this Christmas. Sadly, the only one that's likely to be empty is the stocking of my beloved Royals. Oh well; Dennis Tankersley's a nice consolation gift, I suppose. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everybody! Drive safely.

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