Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Slightly Less But Still Quite Premature Look At The 2011 Lineup

Since my last post previewing the 2011 lineup, the Greinke trade bombshell was dropped. (You can read my recap of Greinke's time with the Royals here.) The upside to the frustrating trade is no more Yuniesky Betancourt in a Royals uniform. New Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar is at least young and by all accounts could be fantastic in the field. He should also get on base a little more than Yuni - Bill James projects a .318 OBP for Escobar next year compared to .293 for Yuni. Escobar's slug is projected by James to be less than Yuni's though: .364 to .397.

It's not a given, but I expect/hope Lorenzo Cain will see the bulk of the time in center. Swapping out Gregor Blanco from my previous post for Cain results in a lower projected OBP (.345 to .361) but improved slug (.379 to .337). According to the Baseball Musings lineup analyzer, the effect on scoring from these two changes is almost nil. The projection is still 4.9 runs/game. Escobar and Cain could be big upgrades on fielding runs saved though.

This is what the optimal lineup would supposedly look like after the two changes (once again, first number is James's projected OBP, second is SLG):

1. Kila 1B/DH (.375/.451)
2. Billy 1B/DH (.377/.476)
3. Pena C (.327/.400)
4. Alex LF (.356/.455)
5. Francoeur RF (.318/.425)
6. Escobar SS (.318/.364)
7. Cain CF (.345/.379)
8. Aviles 3B (.320/.414)
9. Getz 2B (.333/.339)

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