You know what's really fun when you're killing time, waiting for a team to start playing some actual games? Trying to figure out batting orders.
You know what manager Craig Counsell won't be doing for at least a few more weeks? Try to figure out batting orders.
Counsell told reporters Wednesday that he won't start thinking about his regular batting order until after the World Baseball Classic. The WBC doesn't start for another 11 days, with the Championship Round taking place March 20-22.
That means we have a month to argue about it amongst ourselves. Outside of Jonathan Villar likely leading off and Ryan Braun hitting third, almost nothing is written in stone (It'd be nice to see Counsell toy with moving Braun up to hitting second, but he hasn't hit there regularly since 2014, when he did it in 44 games).
Where do you slot Domingo Santana and his potential game-changing power? Where do you put Keon Broxton's combination of speed and power, keeping in mind his high strikeout rate? How do you arrange the new left-handed hitters in the order, Eric Thames and Travis Shaw?
Just for the sake of reference, here's who wound up with the most appearances at each spot in the order last year:
1 - Jonathan Villar (125 games)
2 - Scooter Gennett (91 games)
3 - Ryan Braun (129 games)
4 - Jonathan Lucroy (70 games)
5 - Chris Carter (94 games)
6 - Kirk Nieuwenhuis (45 games)
7 - Orlando Arcia (32 games)
8 - Martin Maldonado (44 games)
9 (non-pitcher division) - Villar / Keon Broxton (6 games)
However, as we know, Counsell likes to frequently change things up, especially in the bottom half of the order. He used 123 different batting orders last year, with no single lineup appearing more than 7 times.
No wonder Counsell is taking his time to think about it. How much of it actually matters? Probably not a lot, outside of making sure your best hitters get the most at-bats over the course of a season.
Still, the possibilities are fun to think about. How would you sort everything out?
Batting order statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference