Okay I was preparing this post and it came up in the thread yesterday also. So this will be the...
Official 2009 post for moving Sori out of the leadoff spot. For new posters and for old posters that haven't grown so tired of the debate as to dismiss opinions. But if you are tired of the debate, then just click back out of here and leave the newbies here to talk. Think of it like therapy you've gone through and it's made you feel better, now let the new kids get some therapy for themselves. I do welcome alternative views, just not pictures of dead horses and snide comments.
And I did do my research and the only in season thing on this topic was a fanshot. But that wasn't really a discussion, more of a pile on of posters that didn't want to see the subject raised at all.
Also before you say it has been tried before with no success. 2009 2 games batting third, 2008 2 games batting 2nd, 2007 9 games out of the leadoff spot. Hardly a large sample size,eh?
We all know that Soriano is a unique talent and during the course of a season can literally carry the team for periods of time. But with those streaks of greatness, come streaks of futility. Some great hitters have been streaky in the careers and that comes with their nature. But when you put that hitter on the top of your lineup, you are at the mercy of that hitter to be hot when it is most needed. (playoffs)
And are we just crossing our fingers that he is hot when the playoffs happen? I think we all know now that Lou's lefty obsession is not the cure for a team wide slump as evidenced by last weeks swoon.
The Cubs are at the mercy of their sparkplug, during victories this year Sori has a tremendous 1.075 OPS. But during their losses Sori has a .527 OPS. So a star hitter doesn't do well and the team suffers, newsflash. But the rub comes that from the top of the lineup in front of the RBI men, it can hurt the team's run production. And his OBP during losses is .218. How can you even manufacture a run when your leadoff guy can't get on base?
In victories this year Sori in #1 in OPS for leadoff hitters. He is even 6th in OBP in our victories. But in losses he is 11th in OPS and 13th in OBP for leadoff hitters. So as Fonzie goes, so goes the team. And the difference in his OPS between wins and losses is the 2nd greatest in the league. (.511OPS diff)-coincidentally that is Miles's OPS. And he has the third greatest difference in OBP (.180) Those are huge drops off in production.
And I know as the sun will rise tomorrow that he will get hot during the year and the team will put together some victories with him at leadoff. But again are we just crossing our fingers that he will get hot when (and I mean when) we make the playoffs.
I will try to anticipate the opposing views. Well, we won 97 games last year with him at leadoff. And yes, you would be right the disparity was there last year as well, his OPS in victories was 1.031 and .582 in losses. My answer to that would be last years Cubs had the perfect storm of production from hitters 1-8, the lowest OPS in our order was .688 from the 2 hole and .781 from the 8 spot. All other positions were above .800. You could've picked the lineup out of a hat and had good production last year. This year's Cubs are not last year's Cubs with that respect and besides that regular season is not my point. We need to go farther in the playoffs. And the lesser hitters will be overcome during the playoffs by better pitching and we need the better hitters to come through, especially with runners on base. And his disparity in OPS between wins and losses is the largest in the last 4 years of playoffs teams. (I didn't even check farther than that). When he is cold it is hard for a playoff team to make up the short fall when your leadoff guy doesn't get on base.
He only bats leadoff in the first inning. Right now he is leading the team in PA for leadoff of inning with 85. The next closest person in PA is Riot with 37. Not strange considering that Riot follows Sori in the lineup. But if you take off the 45 games played, then they're about even in leadoff of innings not being the first. But then from a different perspective, you will guarantee him that he bats with no one on base for 150 at bats in a year in addition to the innings which come up naturally as the lineup turns. Don't you want a big bat to come up with chances to drive in runners on base instead of just himself?
But he doesn't feel comfortable in any other spot. I think he also didn't want to be switched to the OF a few years ago, probably perceived decrease in free agent value, and he has adapted to that in time. If you try something, I hope we can agree to try something for more than 2 games. I get the feeling that most here would like to switch him, but are worried about his feelings and thus drop off in production. I wouldn't mind if his OPS in wins went down a little if that meant his OPS went up in losses.
Our window is closing on these players, I am more than worried that if we don't make it with this team, it might take years to do get there again. I've said my peace, I hope beyond hope that the Cubs win a world series. I just wanted to put this out there for us newbies so we can discuss a relevant if not much discussed issue.