Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 7, 2005

Willie Randolph laced into Victor Diaz with a profanity-laden stream of insults today... well, actually he didn't, but he's batting him eighth, behind career .215 hitter Ramon Castro, which amounts to the same thing. This, after Randolph batted David Wright 8th during the spring. This has no logical basis - you bat your weakest hitter 8th in the NL, not a blossoming slugger like Wright or even a guy like Diaz who's only playing, in an outfield corner, because of his bat.

Unless Randolph somehow got the idea that starting at the bottom of the order is a necessary learning experience for a young hitter. Where would he get that idea? Well, in Randolph's major league debut with the Pirates in 1975, he batted leadoff. He was still hitting leadoff two weeks later and batting .115. For the season, Randolph batted .130 in the leadoff spot, but .250 elswhere. He finally started hitting in a doubleheader where he batted 8th and went 3-for-6. In 1976, as an everyday player with the Yankees, Randolph spent 103 games in the 8 hole, and only in 1977 did he begin to bat leadoff regularly.

So, perhaps Randolph is generalizing from his own experience.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:57 PM | Baseball 2005 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

That's interesting -- I remember Randolph as a number 8 hitter right in front of Dent.

I don't know how "regular" it is that he batted lead-off considering that accounted for just 68 games.

Posted by: The Monk at April 7, 2005 2:00 PM

Torre also did this with Jeter, Soriano & Johnson. Though in those cases he may well have had other reasons for doing it. I think part of the thought process, flawed though it may be, is to take some pressure off of high profile rookies. Not sure Diaz qualifies on that count though.

Posted by: guy incognito at April 7, 2005 5:39 PM

What's strange about batting Wright low in the order is that he barely has less major league time than Reyes, who's leading off.

Posted by: The Crank at April 7, 2005 5:50 PM

Y'know, I've never understood the rationale behind front loading the batting order. Me, I'd think distributing your hit for average guys up and down the line up would complicate things for the opposing manager. Yeah they'd complicate things for the owning manager as well, but isn't that why they get the big bucks?

Posted by: JSAllison at April 8, 2005 3:26 PM
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