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Pierre, Polanco, Stanton expected to top Marlins order

Feb 9, 2013, 6:24 PM EDT

Giancarlo Stanton Getty Images

That’s the way new Marlins manager Mike Redmond is looking to kick off his lineup; Juan Pierre, Placido Polanco and Giancarlo Stanton are likely to occupy the top three spots.

Sadly, Pierre and Polanco seemed like givens to bat first and second from the moment they were plucked from the bargain bin this winter. The alternatives there the middle infield duo of Donovan Solano and Adeiny Hechavarria.

On the other hand, Stanton batting third is a bit of a surprise and quite seemingly a mistake, particularly given the lack of proven hitters behind him. Justin Ruggiano and Logan Morrison will be the  fourth and fifth hitters in some order.

Let’s face it, most of the Marlins innings that begin with the leadoff man are going to unfold in a couple of ways:

- Pierre and Polanco both make outs, putting Stanton up with none on and two out.

- Pierre singles, attempts to steal second or gets moved up by Polanco. Stanton comes up with a man on second and one out and immediately gets pitched around or intentionally walked to set up the double play.

My thought is that it makes a lot more sense to hit Stanton fourth. For one thing, if he’s going to come up with no one on, it’s much better that he does it at the start of the inning, giving him a chance to start a rally, than with two outs. And hitting him fourth should open up more situations in which he’s up with multiple men on, making the intentional walk less likely.

Cleanup hitters simply get more RBI chances than No. 3 hitters, even without accounting for the fact that they get fewer at-bats. Last year, NL No. 4 hitters drove in 1,658 runs while hitting .272/.343/.470. No. 3 hitters, despite hitting slightly better at .283/.356/.469, drove in 1,509 runs.

Not that it really matters in the grand scheme of things. The Marlins would have to figure out how to hit Stanton second, third and fourth to have much of a chance of avoiding the NL East basement this year.

  1. Old Gator - Feb 9, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    I think the upside here is that the Iron Giant will only become stronger, having to hit every ball far enough to give Pierre and Polanco enough time to get to the next base.

    This team is going to be horrifying to watch, and it’s going to be painful to see the look on the Iron Giant’s face when he finds himself leading the league in walks – and knowing that any growth in his batting discipline has next to nothing to do with it. He’s going to have to get used to being merely inconvenient – unless he can find some way to talk himself off this awful team and out from under this execrable ownership.

    • Old Gator - Feb 9, 2013 at 6:50 PM

      Oh, and there’s simply no chance of them avoiding the basement this year. I’ve already seen it – it’s been furnished and decorated just for them. Only a string of injuries to the Mutts pitching staff can save them.

    • kindasporty - Feb 9, 2013 at 8:06 PM

      I think you bring up a great point and I wonder what that does to his development as a player. Because the roster was gutted, the Marlins might have also stunted the growth of their superstar since it will be very tempting for him to not work on things like his plate discipline since it might not change the results. If anything, if he doesn’t swing at bad pitches once in a while, his power numbers could go the opposite direction. It will be interesting.

      • Old Gator - Feb 10, 2013 at 8:58 AM

        Here’s what else could be interesting – in an inverse way, I mean. There will be little enough to draw fans into a nearly empty stadium anyway. The Iron Giant’s moonshots will be pretty much the whole show. No one is paying good money to watch Palcido Polanco puffing around the bases, to see Steve Chisek preserve a three run deficit in the top of the ninth, or to see Tweeter pop out to second with the tying run on third. If they know their chances of seeing the Giant launch one are so minimal, that just means even fewer warm bodies activating the thermal registers up at the drone bays at Langley.

        Oh, it is gonna be ugly in that building this season.

  2. vprkilr - Feb 9, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    I guess another option would be to just have Stanton bat lead off and hope for the best.

    It must really suck to be a Fish fan..

    • Old Gator - Feb 9, 2013 at 6:55 PM

      Well, yes and no. I start out with no hope whatsoever that they’re going to be anything but the coccyx of their division – I performed Kolinhar just after the Toronto trade.

      On the brighter side, I expect that they’ll provide unlimited opportunities for parody and snark.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 9, 2013 at 10:34 PM

      Only the Yankees have won more World Series than the Marlins since 1997 so I don’t feel too sorry for fish fans.

      • Old Gator - Feb 10, 2013 at 8:13 AM

        We don’t want your pity. We’re masochists anyway.

  3. voteforno6 - Feb 9, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    Maybe the Nats will finally be able to beat them this year.

  4. whmiv21 - Feb 9, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Loria is trying to keep his value down. Batting 3rd means fewer RBI opportunities. Fewer RBI opportunities likely mean fewer RBIs. Fewer RBIs means he gets paid less in arbitration. And that means more money for Loria. I’d bet he has a team of guys just to think of ways that he can collect more profit from this team.

    • Old Gator - Feb 10, 2013 at 8:41 AM

      There’s one flaw in your…er…ah…logic. Namely, this would also greatly reduce the Iron Giant’s trade value when it comes time to dump him for another brace of soft pink prospects.

  5. tmohr - Feb 9, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    I guess we’ll see if it’s possible to hit 40 HR and drive in less than 80 runs.

    • icanspeel - Feb 9, 2013 at 8:54 PM

      Considering he hit 37 last year with 86 RBI’s with Jose Reyes in front of him.. I think this year he will have a great shot at 40 HR with less than 80 RBI’s

      • Old Gator - Feb 10, 2013 at 8:51 AM

        The Iron Giant batted .265 with RISP last season, and .316 with the bases empty. It’s a mediocre RISP but with only 86 ribbies, I think it probably also indicates that Reyes wasn’t in front of him – on the bases, anyway – all that much, and neither was anyone else. He bats ten points higher and that only ramifies to about 92 or 93 ribbies at around 41 home runs.

        We know the Giant is young and learning, but the Feesh weren’t on base all that much for him either. And this season, he’s going to be trying to push a couple of duffers along ahead of him. Aside from all the times when they’ll be wheezing into the next base when anyone else could have taken the extra one, maybe we can amuse ourselves with the over/under on how many times they get nailed at the plate by about five steps and feed his latent ribbies to the compactor.

  6. datdangdrewdundunituhgin - Feb 9, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    its really, really sad what is happening to baseball fans down there. sure, OG can make snark and have a laugh because he’s already a baseball fan. but what about now-apathetic parents? or kids at the age of 9 who start playing soccer instead? jeff loria is so bad for the game of baseball, and even though i couldn’t care less about the marlins, our fellow baseball fans are getting hosed down there. just really sad to watch.

    that said i had to laugh at the earlier picture of 4 fans waiting for tickets. jeff loria is the worst person in sports right now.

    • Old Gator - Feb 9, 2013 at 10:26 PM

      You’re absolutely right. Scrooge McLoria is bad for baseball in general, and he’s horrific for baseball in Macondo. I think there’s a lot of truth in your observation that his butchering of this team and market will have a repressive impact on the number of kids who might otherwise have grown up as baseball fans.

      The same weird calculus that led the Feesh to think that all they had to do was open their gates and Cubans would pour through them applies to soccer, which is very much a part of the Latin American sports tradition too – moreso than baseball. Those would-be young baseball fans will just default to it.

      If the Dolfeens become competitive and respectable again – which I expect them to do, despite a comparatively inept ownership of their own – they’ll draw off another sizable chunk of young potential baseball fans.

      Scrooge McLoria’s ownership of the Feesh can’t even be compared to that idiot McCourt’s stewardship of the Bums. If you had seen the no-interest zone out front of Macondo Banana Massacre Field today, you’d think McLoria’s ownership has been more like Chernobyl or Bophal.

  7. 13arod - Feb 9, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    If they had another hitter like Stanton maybe he would bat 4th makes sense to bat him third

  8. Walk - Feb 9, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    If stanton stays third all year long there is a positive here. Stanton hitting third is going to have a positive influence in years to come, biggest effect will likely be on a future california team and not the marlins, but it should help him develop patience and take even more walks. I hope he looks at this year and takes it in stride and sees it as a developmental year. He is going to have the opportunity to lead the league in either strikeouts or walks. I am hoping he puts up some bonds numbers though in the walk column. He has the chance to be a hof player imo and learning now when to expand the zone and when to take a walk will be critical in the future especially in playoff games.

  9. tuberippin - Feb 10, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    Polanco was once an outstanding hitter from the two or seven spot in the lineup…but these days he’s a train wreck at the plate.

    • Old Gator - Feb 10, 2013 at 8:15 AM

      And Pierre is a great little scrapper who’ll turn his guts inside out to win. But that’s attitude. Let’s talk about physical skills. It’s going to kill me to watch him trying even to cast a shadow this season.

  10. bizzmoneyb - Feb 10, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    sweet! the top 2 in the order have a combined age of nearly 80 years old! f-ck this team, f-ck this owner and everyone else in this giant fraud of an organization. if you still root for this team or give it any $$ at all you are a SUCKER.

  11. genericcommenter - Feb 10, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    When the top 2 batters in your order aren’t even major league caliber players let alone starters ( OK Palanco might be a decent utility guy and Pierre a 4th OFer/PRer somewhere), that’s not a good sign.

    I was going to say something about Pierre being a terrible baserunner (because he has been most of his career) and that the scenario of Stantion coming up with Pierre on 2nd with one out after a steal attempt might happen less than 2/3 of the time Juan manages to get on first and attempt a steal. However, I see the guy who has made a career of getting caught stealing over half as many times as he is successful many seasons managed to put together some type of career year in 2012, around 4 years after managers realized he was not an every day player. It was at least his best season since around 2004 and probably his best stolen base year ever. Interesting.

  12. Tim OShenko - Feb 10, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    I feel a little bad for Mike Redmond, really. I can imagine him gritting his teeth while filling out the lineup card every day, telling himself he simply has to pay his dues before they’ll let him manage a major league team.

    What’s doubly sad is that he’ll probably be booted out of Miami around the same time the Twins are looking for a new manager…

  13. jimmymarlinsfan - Feb 11, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    We finished last with “all stars”. The knuckleheads that think this years team will be worse are delusional

    • turbowtc - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:05 PM

      Knuckleheads?? Shut up Charles Barkley.

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