Sept. 19, 2011; Miami, FL, USA; Florida Marlins right fielder Mike Stanton (left) greets left fielder Logan Morrison (right) at home plate after Morrison drove in Stanton on a two run homer during the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Miami Marlins 2012 Season Preview: Who Should Lead-Off?

Who should hit lead off for the 2012 Miami Marlins? This is a question that has already been posed on FishStripes in the past. Overwhelmingly, the readers on FishStripes believed that Jose Reyes should be the lead off hitter for the Marlins in the upcoming season.

Dec 7, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; (l-r) Miami Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest , president David Samson , Jose Reyes and owner Jeffrey Loria during a press conference at the MLB winter meetings at Hilton Anatole. Mandatory Credit: US PRESSWIRE

However, recently on Clubhouse Confidential on MLBNetwork, the suggestion was made that Gaby Sanchez should be the Marlins lead off hitter. This idea sounds atrocious to most fans. Gaby does not fit the prototypical lead off hitter type. Or does he?

Feb 22, 2012; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez (15) a lead off hitter? Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

According to the sabermetrics Book, the qualities of a  lead off hitter are as follows:

The Book says OBP is king.  The lead-off hitter comes to bat only 36% of the time with a runner on base, versus 44% of the time for the next lowest spot in the lineup, so why waste home runs?  The lead-off hitter also comes to the plate the most times per game, so why give away outs?  As for speed, stealing bases is most valuable in front of singles hitters, and since the top of the order is going to be full of power hitters, they’re not as important.  The lead-off hitter is one of the best three hitters on the team, the guy without home run power.  Speed is nice, as this batter will have plenty of chances to run the bases with good hitters behind him.

In 2011, Jose Reyes did not smash out a lot of home runs. Reyes however did post a slugging percentage of .493. Reyes is not going to hit for a ton of power, but at the same time, he is not going to take a lot of walks. Last season, Reyes’ did post an OBP of .384, which is well above his career average of .341. I would expect a regression back towards his career numbers.

Reyes when healthy, has the ability to drive the ball for doubles and triples. He is also a great candidate to steal bases in front of the Marlins big hitters.

Clubhouse Confidential suggested Gaby Sanchez as a candidate to lead off for the Miami Marlins due to his high OBP, which lead the team in 2011. Sanchez’s OBP is actually very similar to Reyes’ thus far in their respective careers. So having Sanchez over Reyes adds a tiny advantage over Reyes, but Reyes’ speed more then makes up for it.

The Marlins signed Jose Reyes to lead off and be the table setter for the Marlins big bats. Hanley Ramirez, Giancarlo Stanton, and Logan Morrison will appreciate having Reyes running the bases in front of them. I am going to have to disagree with Clubhouse Confidential on this.

The show is a fantastic watch for all you people that have never seen it. I would highly recommend it.

Now remember, how a lineup is set is not going to make or break your season, but it does offer a chance to maximize what your team does have.

On opening day, this is what I would like to see the Marlins lineup look like:

  1. Jose Reyes SS
  2. Emilio Bonifacio CF
  3. Hanley Ramirez 3B
  4. Mike Stanton RF
  5. Logan Morrison LF
  6. Gaby Sanchez 1B
  7. Omar Infante 2B
  8. John Buck C
  9. Josh Johnson P

What are your guys thoughts? Reyes as lead off?

Tags: Emilio Bonifacio Gaby Sanchez Giancarlo Stanton Hanley Ramirez John Buck Jose Reyes Josh Johnson Logan Morrison Miami Marlins Omar Infante

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