FanPost

BATTING FOURTH... RIGHTFIELDER... NELSON CRUZ?

                                                                              Nelsoncruz_medium 

So, it's becoming more clear now that Nelson 'AAAA' Cruz will be our Opening Day clean-up hitter. 

While this does little for my ding-a-ling, here's a comparitive look at how he has hit in the heart of the line-up the last two years...

Let's please keep in mind he only had 115 at-bats last year...

Batting 5th

2007

2008

PA

52

19

AB

47

15

H

8

5

AVG.

.170

.333

OBP.

.250

.473

HR

2

0

BB

4

3

K

14

1

 

Batting 6th

2007

2008

PA

87

13

AB

77

11

H

19

3

AVG.

.246

.272

OBP.

.317

.384

HR

1

1

BB

8

2

K

24

3

 

Batting 7th

2007

2008

PA

101

96

AB

94

85

H

31

27

AVG.

.329

.317

OBP.

.366

.395

HR

3

4

BB

5

11

K

23

22

Looking at these tables, it's pretty obvious that Cruz has had much more opportunities to be productive at the bottom of the order.   While the strikeout rates have gone down considerably in the 5 and 6 spots, Cruz only amassed a total of 26 at-bats (32 plate appearances) in that span. 

The concern, for my part, is that while Nellie has become a more selective hitter, he doesn't have much of a track-record in the heart of the line-up, and will now have to up the ante hitting behind Hamilton.  Pitching to a clean-up hitter is not the same as pitching to the No. 7 hitter in the order.  The difference might not be that great, but for an enigma like Cruz, it's enough to be concerned about.

How many plate appearances does Cruz have as a clean-up hitter, you ask?  The answer, dear reader, is zero.

What we do know however, is that Nelson will be a leading candidate for 'best beard in baseball'...

Nelsoncruz2_medium 

Best of luck to you, Nelson.  Best of frickin'-luck.
 

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