Batting Order Options

While running through my fantasy draft preparation, I noticed how low Michael Bourn rated in my wOBA/FIP league.  That got me to thinking: Is Bourn the best option for the leadoff spot?  Here is a quick list of the Fangraphs fan projections in the expected traditional lineup.  Pastornicky does not have a projection since he hasn’t played in the majors, but it’s safe to say he will, and should, hit eighth.

Bourn- .283/.340/.364
Prado- .296/.346/.441
Jones- .276/.366/.430
McCann- .279/.362/.455
Uggla- .257/.337/.469
Freeman- .285/.345/.463
Heyward- .278/.377/.463
Pastornicky

As you can see, Bourn has the worst projection.  If Heyward hits at the level of his projection, he won’t be hitting 7th long, but who would be moved?  I have two ideas for a more interesting, and probably more efficient, lineup.  First, the one I could see happening.

Prado
Heyward
Chipper
McCann
Uggla
Freeman
Bourn
Pastornicky

This order puts the two worst hitters in the last two spots.  It does limit Bourn’s base stealing early in games with two outs, since Pastornicky could be intentionally walked, bringing up the pitcher.  I don’t think this situation would come up enough to deter a good manager from this idea, but remember who we’re dealing with.  This second lineup has a one-in-a-million chance of happening, but it definitely would optimize the plate appearances.

Heyward
Chipper
McCann
Uggla
Freeman
Prado
Bourn
Pastornicky

This would be quite the stirring of the pot, but there are more advantages than drawbacks to this idea.  First, Prado is the next-worst projected hitter, so he gets moved down, meaning less PA for him.  Next, Heyward is the best hitter, so he should get the most PA.  Also, Chipper and Heyward have the highest percentage of their value from walks, so they should be at the top.  McCann and especially Uggla get their production from power, so they get the most shots to drive in the top two.  This lineup also avoids any back-to-back same-handed hitters, not a huge deal but something positive.

As I said before, I can’t imagine the last lineup happening, but it’s something to ponder.  It is just as unlikely that everyone will hit near those projected slashlines, which makes this exercise somewhat unnecessary.  If you had a choice and everyone hit as projected above, which lineup would you choose?

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