With the acquisitions of Luke Scott and Carlos Pena, many baseball analysts have ranked the Rays second, just behind the Yankees, in their power rankings for the upcoming season.
As can be expected, the Rays will consider numerous batting orders this year, predicated on the righty vs. lefty pitching match-ups. TBT Rays beat writer, Marc Topkin, put together a possible lineup (below) alternating right-handed and left-handed hitters:
1. LF Desmond Jennings (R)
2. DH Luke Scott (L)
3. 3B Evan Longoria (R)
4. 1B Carlos Peña (L)
5. 2B Ben Zobrist (S)
6. CF B.J. Upton (R)
7. RF Matt Joyce (L)
8. C Jose Molina (R)
9. SS Sean Rodriguez (R) or Reid Brignac (L)
At first, I thought this batting order was a bit off-putting. To be honest, I’d prefer to see Rodriguez bumped up in the batting order. He’s a smart and aggressive base runner, and we all saw what he could add offensively toward the end of last season. Then again, bumping SeanRod up in the order, based solely on his improved numbers at the plate in the last third of 2011, may not necessarily be the wisest decision. Keep in mind too, that the ninth spot is effectively the first in many instances over the span of nine innings.
You’d better believe that JoeMa, and the rest of his saber minded wizards, will obviously change things up based off of righty vs. lefty match ups. Just by looking at the first five hitters in this hypothetical batting order, my word, the Rays are going to be a beast this year!
With all of this in mind, we ask you this, dear reader: What would be your ideal batting order? Feel free to leave your comments below.