I'm going to try to put out two diaries in the near future exploring unconventional ideas for us to debate while we wait for news. The first of these unconventional ideas is to bat Jones 2nd. Normally, it would be a bad idea to bat a guy with only a .319 OBP second in the lineup. However, i think the Cubs should do two things with Jones: first, sign a platoon partner to play against southpaws; and second, bat the platoon second. If you look at Jones's splits against righties, he actually has the numbers of a serviceable 2-hitter.
Here are Jones's 2005 stats, giving AVG-OBP-SLG-P/PA-BB/PA-GP/FB
vs. RHP: .268-.348-.466-3.55-.101-2.17
There are two main differences in the stats above - against righties, Jones hits for a higher average, and walks more often. Both of these lead to a higher OBP for Jones. I also think that Jones's high GB/FB ratio will be good for a no. 2 hitter, as it will help him advance Pierre into scoring position, and will allow more freedom with to execute the hit-and-run. When he does hit the ball in the air, he's about as likely to hit a HR as Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira, and David Ortiz. Finally, he has the speed to score from first on a double, from 2nd on a single, or 3rd on a sacrifice. This all means he would be a serviceable 2nd batter in the lineup.
This would leave the Cubs with a hole in the 2 slot when they're facing left-handed pitchers. The solution to this would be to sign someone who is Jones's twin - a guy who has decent speed and can get on base at a decent clip when facing southpaws. I think this player is Eric Byrnes. He has similar batting stats to Jones over his career (he did have an off-year last year, so we'd be taking a slight risk with him). Most importantly he's posted a .352 OBP against southpaws over his MLB career. Here are his numbers from last season against southpaws (keep in mind this was an off-year):
The main difference between the two would be going from an extreme ground ball hitter against RHPs to an extreme fly ball hitter against LHPs, meaning less aggressiveness every 5th day when we start Byrnes. Byrnes is as good of a baserunner as Jones is, and would have the same speed advantages. Overall, we'd have a decent 2-hitter that gets on base at about a .350 clip, can run the bases well, and on most days will be able to advance the runner and execute a hit-and-run.
Go ahead, tell me i'm crazy (i haven't even convinced myself of this yet, to be honest). At least we'll have a short respite from the Prior for Tejada talk for a while...
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