March 4, 1998
Lineupectomy: AL Central
This week's patient: the AL CentralLineupectomies attempt to construct the best possible usage of players within an organization. They will occasionally recommend that a player who is a regular be benched, or that a bit player be given a starting job. Please note that the articles deal with what we believe should happen, not what will happen.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Offensively, not much different from the team that stumbled home after the
"white flag" trades. Some B hitting prospects should get playing time, but the
offensive scars at shortstop and catcher, even in the post-Offisa and Ozzie
era, continue to hamper the offense. Chris Snopek, listed as the starting
shortstop, should play ahead of Benji Gil, but behind Mike Caruso.
vs. RHP vs. LHP Durham 2B Cameron CF Cameron CF Snopek SS Thomas DH Thomas 1B Belle LF Belle DH Ventura 3B Ventura 3B Abbott RF Abbott LF Valdez 1B Ordonez RF Kreuter C O'Brien C Snopek SS Durham 2BCLEVELAND INDIANS
Lots of weapons, and all too willing to shoot themselves in the foot with the ones that jam and misfire. Brian Giles is likely to be underutilized, but that's unlikely to cost the Indians more than 3-4 games of what should be a 10-12 game romp over this division.
It's completely unrealistic to expect Jim Thome to play some third
base to effectively create a Casey/Fryman platoon, so we've ignored the
vs. RHP vs. LHP Lofton CF Lofton CF Giles LF Wilson 2B Ramirez Rf Ramirez RF Thome 1B Berroa DH Justice DH Justice LF Alomar C Alomar C Fryman 3B Thome 1B Vizquel SS Fryman 3B Wilson 2B Vizquel 2B
Their inability to find real hitters for the left field and DH slots, and the
lack of good offense up the middle, will weigh down the Tigers. Please note
that right now, Frank Catalanatto's health is a question mark. If he
can't play, Joe Randa should be the everyday 3B, and the lineup would
change somewhat. Deivi Cruz is out until May, but whoever plays
shortstop should bat ninth. We split the playing time at catcher between
Joe Oliver and Papo Casanova 50-50, as opposed to platooning
either of them.
vs. RHP vs. LHP Gonzalez DH Roberts DH Catalanatto 3B Easley 2B Higginson LF Higginson LF Clark 1B Clark 1B Encarnacion RF Encarnacion RF Easley 2B Randa 3B Casanova Casanova /Oliver C /Oliver C Hunter CF Hunter CF Cruz Cruz /B. Ripken SS /B. Ripken SS
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
There's a table-game strategy that you'll occasionally see when a team is
slumping. A manager will pick his starters, then toss them on the floor to
determine a lineup. In light of the personnel in Kansas City this year, Tony
Muser might want to consider this early and often.
vs. RHP vs. LHP Offerman 2B Offerman 2B Myers RF Damon CF Damon CF Conine DH Sutton 1B Sutton 1B Sweeney C Sweeney C Je. Giambi LF Dye RF Conine DH King 3B King 3B Je. Giambi LF Biancalana SS Jazayerli SS
Having abandoned the practice of playing young players with potential, the
Twins will now play older players with the same expected value and no upside.
In all fairness, this team could score enough runs to stay around .500, but
it's unlikely that will happen with Otis Nixon, Paul Molitor
and Terry Steinbach consuming 1300 outs.
vs. RHP vs. LHP Latham CF Latham CF Walker 2B Walker 2B Cordova LF Cordova LF Lawton DH Coomer 3B Ortiz 1B Steinbach C Koskie 3B Ochoa RF Merced RF Molitor DH Steinbach C Ortiz 1B Meares SS Meares SS