So listening to the game tonight (we’re in the middle of the second game), I have to wonder, how long until McLouth moves into the 4 hole and Dufek drops to the 5? Dufek’s batting average has been pretty bad for a clean up hitter, peaking at .300 and currently sitting around .200. There just is no consistency to his hitting right now.
The one bright spot is the number of of walks Mike has accumulated so far this season, 7, which is good for 3rd highest on the team. This is the one area where McLouth is “struggling.” Jake has yet to register a walk or hit-by-pitch this season, hence me not putting his OB% in the graph below (it directly matches his batting average). You would think this would be another reason to promote him. Pitchers will eventually figure out that he can be pitched around. Get him up a spot in the lineup, you get your most consistent hitter more strikes as they won’t want to risk it with Dufek and Urban behind him.
As you can see, McLouth is much more consistent at getting on base, and slugging (bases per at bat) very well. It seems to me I’d rather have McLouth protecting LaMarre at this point. If I were a coach and there are two outs and a runner on second, LaMarre at the plate, you better believe I’d be walking him to face Dufek. Dufek is a much higher chance of striking out (he’s already got a hat trick and a golden sombrero this season), and on nights when he’s cold… he’s ice cold.
McLouth, on the other hand, doesn’t strike out that much. Dufek is striking out once in every 4.75 at-bats. McLouth, he strikes out one in every seven. When you look at just batting average, Dufek is at .200, McLouth, .382; slugging, .433 and .647 respectively. With those discrepancies, you can’t keep McLouth out for too long.
One problem I see with this switch is the left on base totals. McLouth has left a few more runners on base, most of which came against Cincinnati. However, I still get the feeling that I’d rather have the better hitter at cleanup. Move the big guy who strikes out a bit more to the 5 or 6 hole until he either proves he can pull his average up, or the guy being promoted up the ladder shows he can’t take the pressure.
Something else I’m wrapping my head around right now is can we train McLouth to play first base? Dufek has been sloppy there (not horrible, but he’s been getting away with a lot) and I’d be interested to see if McLouth, as a catcher, would be any good at taking ground balls and picking short hops.
Even better, can we get McLouth or Dufek to play third base and get Lorenz off the field? The kid is hitting .143 in the 8-spot in the lineup, and that’s just because he connected for 2 hits in the first game of the Jacksonville game. That’s horrible. Once Oaks gets healthy, lets let him have a shot at third. At least we know he can hit.