Let's see what we have this year. The only two guys that have really been given a chance are Theriot and Fukudome. Ryan is .277/,314/.303/.617 in 2010. But since he was moved to 2B he has plunged to .221/.264/.229/.492 for 34 games and his sOPS+39. Worse yet, these are his numbers leading off the game. .174/.191/.217/.409 and sOPS+21. Add to that his zero SB and 1BB in 47 games. So while Lou apparently doesn't know what he can do. he might ask someone in the stats department if those are decent numbers.
Fukudome's numbers aren't much better batting #1. .206/.313/.294/.607 with 2BB and again zero SB. So how does this impact the team? We've been outscored 50-28 in the 1st inning. That's a 22 run deficit in the beginning. For the season we've been outscored by 26 runs, almost all of them accumulated by inning 2. When we trail going into the 2nd inning, we have a 2-16 record. Incidentally, we're outscored in the 7th inning 56-33, but that's another matter.
Bruce Miles suggests we move Soriano back to leadoff. Lou tried Colvin the other day. Some suggest Soto and others Fontenot. My opinion leans to getting someone at the top with good speed. But I also want someone who plays every day and isn't a power hitter because we've had our share of problems in the middle of the lineup. Those parameters suggest that Castro should be given an extended trial leading off. His numbers are .272/.327/.360/.687 with 12BB/19K. He's only been sent to steal twice but that's a reflection of his usual position ahead of either the pitcher or Lee. His speed is being wasted in those spots.
The biggest problem many claim is that he's a rookie and we don't want to put too much pressure on him. Ok. Let's look at some of the rookies who were put at #1 and succeeded in the past. Rickey Henderson and Suzuki both began their careers at the top. How about recent players? Pierre. Furcal, Nyjer Morgan, Dexter Fowler, Ellsbury, Hanley Ramirez and Denard Span. Unless there is credible evidence elsewhere, I can't imagine Starlin can't handle the job. The reality is that unless we find someone on the roster capable of leading off in 2011, we'll have to buy or trade a valuable player to win games. And anyone with a memory can tell you how successful we were getting Roberts or Furcal.