One of the dumbest bits of old-fashioned baseball wisdom is that you want speed at the top of the lineup. This is simply not true, and when you think about it, the reasons are obvious.
At the top of the lineup you want guys who get on base regardless of their speed. Speed is less important because the middle of your lineup tends to hit for power, and when your #3 hitter hits a bomb, it doesn’t matter how fast your leadoff hitter is. In fact, the risk of an attempted steal by a leadoff hitter is exacerbated by the fact that the guys hitting behind him are more likely to hit HRs or doubles.
If you have a base-stealer, better to keep him in front of singles hitters. He can get into a position to score on a single, and he will help to keep you out of double plays. Think about it, do you want Corey Hart and his speed in front of Ryan Braun, or in front of Jason Kendall? Kendall is clearly the correct answer.
You should not ding a guy from the top of the lineup if he also has a high OBP, but if you have a guy who’s fast but not great at getting on, the best use of that speed is at the back of the lineup, not the front.
4 hours ago