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Front Page: Offseason Blueprint: The Window Just Opened

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Cole Hamels is one of the best starting pitchers on the open market and teams are definitely looking into him. It is rumored that 13 team...
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What Should the Twins Postseason Batting Order Be?

The Twins lineup for Monday’s 5-3 win over the White Sox looked like a potential starting nine for the postseason, with the exception of Lamonte Wade Jr playing center field for a recuperating Max Kepler. But that substitution changes everything as far as batting order. Here was the lineup:
Facing a right-handed starter, which dominate both the Astros’ and Yankees’ rotations, Marwin Gonzalez and Jake Cave are better fits than CJ Cron (684 OPS vs RHP) and Jonathan Schoop (737 OPS vs RHP). Both started Monday night. Garver has also seen more time at catcher lately, even versus right-handers. The rest of the lineup are the everyday players

But if Kepler is in the lineup, he is likely to lead off. Kepler has been the leadoff hitter for the Twins 105 times this season, versus just eight times for Arraez. So what does the batting order look like if one adds Kepler?

Turns out, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has written that combination of nine names – last night’s 1-8 hitters plus Kepler - into the starting lineup just one time all year. Like last night, it was against the White Sox at Target Field. And like last night, it was against Reynoldo Lopez. Last month on Tuesday, August 20th, the Twins scored 14 runs and beat up the White Sox. (Here's the box score.) The starting lineup looked like this:

(L) Max Kepler-CF
(S) Jorge Polanco-SS
® Nelson Cruz-DH
(L) Eddie Rosario-LF
® Miguel Sano-3B
(L) Luis Arraez-2B
® Mitch Garver-C
(S) Marwin Gonzalez-1B
(L) Jake Cave-RF

Does Kepler’s health change things? Does Cave need to show he can hit like he did before the injury? If he does, does he switch places with Gonzalez? Do Sano’s back problems mean he switches places with Garver? These are additional questions for us to explore and the Twins to work out over the next two weeks. But you’re welcome to share your ideal postseason lineup in the comments.

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22 Comments

I would personally go
Arraez 2B
Polanco SS
Cruz DH
Kepler CF
Sano 3B
Garver C
Rosario LF
Cave RF
Gonzalez 1B

...... I’m no manager though. I pushed Eddie back because of OBP issues and depth of power ability.
    • ScrapTheNickname, JW24, dbminn and 3 others like this

 

I would personally go
Arraez 2B
Polanco SS
Cruz DH
Kepler CF
Sano 3B
Garver C
Rosario LF
Cave RF
Gonzalez 1B

...... I’m no manager though. I pushed Eddie back because of OBP issues and depth of power ability.

I have no issues with this lineup at all. It would be tough for an opposing manager to find a reliever with a same-side (righty vs righty, lefty vs lefty) advantage for more than one hitter at a time late in games.

 

Having Arraez lead off makes a ton of sense. After him, I think Rocco has some flexibility to shake things up. I wouldn't mind something like this:

 

Arraez

Sano

Cruz

Kepler

Polanco

Garver

Rosario

Gonzalez

Cave

 

If Sano is swinging a hot bat in the playoffs, I want him getting as many ABs as possible. I am also counting on Polanco to be a big run producer at 5 assuming Cruz and Kepler get on base at a high rate.

    • Mike Frasier Law, Diesel and jz7233 like this

Just like the OP wrote:

 

(L) Max Kepler-CF
(S) Jorge Polanco-SS
® Nelson Cruz-DH
(L) Eddie Rosario-LF
® Miguel Sano-3B
(L) Luis Arraez-2B
® Mitch Garver-C
(S) Marwin Gonzalez-1B
(L) Jake Cave-RF

 

To me, this is the best lineup the Twins can post (against a RH starter) and I hope to see this in Game 1 of the playoffs, if they make the playoffs (don't want to jinx).

    • SF Twins Fan likes this

I think Rosario needs to be dropped in the order, and I'd rather see Arraez hitting leadoff. 

    • Dakota Diver and jz7233 like this

Rule of thumb: High-OBP guys bat just before the Big Knockers.

 

The OBP guys are Arraez, Kepler, Polanco, maybe Gonzo .

The Knockers are Cruz, Garver, Sano, Rosie, and Cron when healthy. 

 

Rocco's lineups almost always follow this rule of thumb, in various shuffles. In a playoff scenario, I can see Arraez bat 1, with Cruz or Garver behind him. I would say Sano, but he strikes out too much to bat top of the order. 

 

I see Rocco also likes to bat L, R, L, R... Good idea, with switch hitters Polanco and Gonzo making it even harder for opponents to find an advantage. 

    • brvama and DocBauer like this

 

I would personally go
Arraez 2B
Polanco SS
Cruz DH
Kepler CF
Sano 3B
Garver C
Rosario LF
Cave RF
Gonzalez 1B

...... I’m no manager though. I pushed Eddie back because of OBP issues and depth of power ability.

I agree with this, except insert Cron for Cave and move Gonzalez to RF. If staying with this 9, I'd swap Rosario and Garver to avoid having back-to-back lefies.

    • NotTorii and Diesel like this
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MMMordabito
Sep 17 2019 11:01 AM

I like the LRLR pattern and OBP, so ...

 

Arraez

Cruz

Polanco

Garver

Kepler

Sano

Cave

Gonzalez

Rosario

 

I fear that Eddie wouldn't like this

    • ScrapTheNickname, bighat and Bomba2026 like this
I would have the same lineup as the author of this article. But I think Cruz should bat behing Arreaz all of the time. What you had in the Spring go with that because it got you here today!

1 Luis Arraez 2b
2 Jorge Polanco ss
3 Max Kepler rf
4 Nelson Cruz dh
5 Eddie Rosario lf
6 Miguel Sano 3b
7 Mitch Garver c
8 C.J. Cron 1b
9 Jake Cave cf

    • LA VIkes Fan and Dakota Diver like this
Photo
yarnivek1972
Sep 17 2019 12:30 PM
I don’t think Cave makes the playoff roster. He’s terrible defensively. I think Buxton being out necessitates adding Ian Miller as a pinch runner and late inning replacement. I expect Marwin to start in the outfield and Cron to get the nod at first. That’s what I expect will happen.


As for what I would do, my vs RHP lineup would be:

2b Arraez
ss Polanco
dh Cruz
cf Kepler
3b Sano
rf Rosario
1b Garver
lf Gonzalez
c Castro

But, of course, the Twins have not used Garver at first base all year, so asking him to do so in the playoffs isn’t going to happen.

Then vs LHP:

c Garver
cf Kepler
dh Cruz
3b Sano
1b Cron
rf Rosario
ss Polanco
lf Arraez
2b Schoop

When you have a player with a .410 OBP, the leadoff hitter is obvious.NOt only that, Arraez lefty-righty OBP split consistent.He is obviously a natural left handed hitter and has a .918 OPS vs. right handers vs. a .707 OPS vs. left handers. BUT, his OBP is .418 vs. righties and .407 vs. LHP. HE SHOULD LEAD OFF EVERY GAME.

 

The key to getting runs is to get your lead off hitter on base every inning.

 

Polanco should be the #2 hitter.Good power, decent OBP.

 

 

Cruz should hit cleanup, not 3rd.Your slugger with the best OBP should be the cleanup hitter.The 4th spot in the lineup has one of the highest percentages of leading off an inning than any other spot (1-2-3 first innings), and if they are NOT leading off, there are runners on base.

 

The 3rd spot should be a slugger with high strikeouts and lower OBP.That should be Sano. 

 

Kepler should hit 5th.Garver 6th. Rosario 7th.Cron 8th.And Schoop/Gonzales 9th.

 

 

    • jz7233 likes this

RH Starter:

Arraez 2B
Polanco SS
Cruz DH
Kepler CF

Garver C

Rosario LF
Sano 3B
Cave RF
Gonzalez 1B

 

LH Starter:

Arraez LF
Polanco SS
Cruz DH
Garver C

Sano 3B

Kepler CF

Cron 1B

Rosario RF

Schoop 2B

 

Generally speaking, I like the lineup in the original OP with caveat of moving Cron in at 1B, Marwin to RF and Cave to the bench simply depending on individual matchups/history and who is hot.

I like Arraez in the #1 spot and I think he ends up there eventually. I think there are 2 reasons he hasn't been there much this year:

1] Kepler has done excellent and had his breakout season so why mess with a good thing at this point?

2] Arraez does such a great job knocking guys in, moving runners and setting the table in a.mid to lower spot that he's almost a second lead off hitter.

At this point, I stick with what's worked, save the possible Cron-Marwin-Cave swap mentioned.
    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this
Photo
nicksaviking
Sep 17 2019 02:58 PM

If the Twins play the Yankees, in the games that Paxton isn't starting I hope the Twins keep the lineup pretty balanced. The Yankees rotation is terrible and their pen is really solid; I'd be worried they might try Milwaukee's trick from last year where the Brewers ran Wade Miley out for one batter to ensure a righty heavy lineup for the Dodgers (who still won the game).

 

I like the LRLR pattern and OBP, so ...

 

Arraez

Cruz

Polanco

Garver

Kepler

Sano

Cave

Gonzalez

Rosario

 

I fear that Eddie wouldn't like this

Rosario is going to hit 7th. Cave 9th.

I'd consider subbing Astudillo for Cave. A guy that could get on base more and he isn't any more a defensive step down than Cave. No offense to him.

Cron may not be ready to play if his bat is as weak as it has been because of his thumb. Then perhaps you put the turtle in at 1B.

Photo
yarnivek1972
Sep 17 2019 05:10 PM

I'd consider subbing Astudillo for Cave. A guy that could get on base more and he isn't any more a defensive step down than Cave. No offense to him.
Cron may not be ready to play if his bat is as weak as it has been because of his thumb. Then perhaps you put the turtle in at 1B.


No. You want a taller first baseman that might have a chance to catch an errant throw. Astudillo is 5’9”.

Why is Rocco so stubborn, when we've got what amounts to a prototypical leadoff man already on our roster?

 

I swear, every time I see Garver or Kep in the 1 spot, with their 30 homers, and the guy with the OBP 50-60 points higher, a guy who sees pitches, and makes the pitcher work, hitting in the 7 hole.... Why not get a guy on in front of your top HR guys?

 

Yeh, yeh, 'they only lead off once a game," but it's way more than that- they're in front of guys who produce big flies. And unlike Buxton, he's not even hitting 9th, so he could be in front of them a time or two during the game.

 

Just ridiculous.

 

*Edit time- today, for example- your highest on-base guy is not hitting in front of Polanco and Cruz, he's hitting in front of Schoop and LaMarre... SMH

    • TheRealCupOfJoe likes this
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Channing1964
Sep 17 2019 06:28 PM
all good sugvestions...i trust Rocco. If everyone is healthy i would like to know if Cave is better in center or right. Definitely wanting to keep Rosario in left. I dont know if Id change a whole lot but it would be something like cf/rf 26 ss 11 dh 23 lf 20 c 18 2b 2 1b 9 3b 22 cf/rf 60 I would try to get the best balance possible without worrying whether the other team's pitcher was rh or lh.

I'd consider subbing Astudillo for Cave. A guy that could get on base more

Willians is literally last on the Twins in on-base percentage at .296. Cave's around the middle.

    • jud6312 likes this
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Pius Jefferson
Sep 18 2019 03:55 AM

I wonder how many spots are TBD. (assuming no injuries)

 

 


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