Instead of a morning round-up of links today I thought it would be fun to take a look at the projected Opening Day lineup for the 2013 Phillies.
A few things to keep in mind when putting this together:
Remember that catcher Carlos Ruiz will be serving a 25-game suspension. This makes Erik Kratz the most likely candidate to receive the opening day job behind the plate.
I believe Charlie Manuel is a creature of habit. As much as fans will discuss the idea of moving Jimmy Rollins out of the lead off spot, I cannot envision Manuel doing that, especially for opening day. Also there is little reason to expect Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to be removed from their normal spots in the lineup.
Darin Ruf may very well win a roster spot when the team comes north but for now I'm rolling with newly acquired outfielder Delmon Young to be named an opening day starter in left field. Right now I'll take a stab at Domonic Brown backing up his strong statements just enough to get the nod in right field for opening day.
I also buy in to the concept that would see Cole Hamels get the Opening Day assignment on the mound after being the top pitcher in the rotation last year, which lines up Roy Halladay for the home opener in Philadelphia. For the time being, that is why I will have Hamels penciled in at the bottom of my Opening Day lineup.
Without any further ado, here is my first guess at the Opening Day lineup. Feel free to critique and over-analyze away, and let me know why I'm right or wrong in the comment section below.
- SS Jimmy Rollins
- CF Ben Revere
- 2B Chase Utley
- 1B Ryan Howard
- LF Delmon Young
- 3B Michael Young
- RF Domonic Brown
- C Erik Kratz
- SP Cole Hamels
The staff over at RotoChamp have a similar looking starting lineup, but have Michael Young batting behind Howard instead of Young. I think that move makes sense, but for now I'll stick with Delmon Young batting fifth because I think Manuel will want to see if he can get a little more power out of Delmon behind Howard, similar to batting Pat Burrell or Jayson Werth in that position when they were on the roster. Both Youngs are right-handed bats so the order means nothing in terms of mixing up the lineup. This is one part of the lineup I could easily see flipped before opening day.
Once spring training games get started we will have a better idea of what Manuel may be looking to do with the lineup, and this projection will be changed along the way. Next week I'll also share a guess on the Opening Day 25-man roster.