Well we signed Ryan Ludwick today to a 1 year, $5.45 million deal...avoiding arbitration. Did we overpay for him? Probably...Ludwick hit .265 with 22 homers and 97 RBI. It's a lot of money for a guy with those statistics, but arbitration is an ugly process and I'm sure the Cards' Brass and Ryan Ludwick were both happy to avoid it. Plus, he's only a year removed from a near .300 season.
Well, I am long overdue to project my Cardinals lineup for the 2010 season. For starters, a lot of you have asked if I think the pitcher will hit in the 8-spot this year. I don't foresee that happening. When Tony used the pitcher in the 8-hole, it was to have a second leadoff hitter in the 9-spot, virtually making Albert a clean-up hitter after the first time through the order. Will Holliday in that 4-spot, I no longer see this to be necessary. Each spot lower in the order gets, on average, 30-40 less at bats per season than the spot above it (the 8 hitter hits 30-40 more times per year than the 9 hitter). Because of this, it natrually makes sense to have your weakest hitter hit 9th, which is why most teams bat their pitcher 9th...now onto the lineup.
1. S. Schumaker 2B
2. C. Rasmus CF
3. A. Pujols 1B
4. M. Holliday LF
5. R. Ludwick RF
6. Y. Molina C
7. D. Freese 3B
8. B. Ryan SS
1. For starters, I see this lineup being the same regardless of whether we are facing a RHP or LHP. Some people have talked about inserting Lugo in at 2nd and in the leadoff spot against LHP because Skip only hit .220 against left handed pitchers last year, but I don't see this happening...at least in the beginning of the season. Skip is a definite defensive upgrade at second and I think La Russa will give him the opportunity to hit left handed pitchers.
2. Ideally, you'd like to break up Schumaker and Rasmus because they are the only two left handed bats in the order, but I don't see this being possible. I toyed around with the idea switching Rasmus and Ryan...but Tony likes to have some power in the two spot and Brendan has 7 career home runs.
3. Pujols is and will be in the 3-spot as long as he is a Cardinal.
4. Holliday is the ideal clean-up hitter, protecting Albert and hitting with power.
5. Ludwick may get some at-bats in the two spot, but the majority of its AB's will come in the 5-hole.
6. Molina hits well enough to warrant being in the 6-spot...and there really isn't another candidate. Freese will be best in the 7-hole until he can prove he can hit major league pitching.
7. The 7-hole is a safer spot to hit Freese in than the 8-spot because, in the National League, there is a lot of pressure for the 8-hitter to get on base when there are two outs so the pitcher does not lead off the next inning.
8. Ryan is a perfect 8-hitter - little power, but a consistent hitter. Like Yadier, he rarely strikes out.
Only 28 more days until pitchers and catchers report! Our first spring-training game is only a little over a month away! The song for the evening is "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac. That's all for now guys.
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