With the signing of outfielder Milton Bradley appearing imminent next week, the prognosticators are out in full force, analyzing the enigmatic switch hitter, and trying to project what he’ll do in 2009. One such analysis concludes that signing Milton Bradley would be great for the Cubs.
Assuming he doesn’t go crazy.
In coming to this conclusion, the MLB Examiner looked at (examined, if you will) several statistical groupings – and I think they’re pretty darn interesting.
- Bradley hits .327 when playing as a DH, and a combined .274 at the three outfield positions (there’s not much leeway here)
- Hitting second in the lineup, Bradley only hits .248.
- Hitting third in the lineup, Bradley hits .266.
- Hitting cleanup, Bradley takes off with a .331 batting average and .443 on base percentage
- Bradley hits over .300 when coming up in the second and sixth innings (typically when your middle of the order is hitting).
And using those numbers, it’s clear how the Cubs should use Bradley to maximize success.
His left handed bat fits nicely in the number four spot in the lineup between right handed sluggers Derrek Lee (3rd) and Aramis Ramirez (5th). Placing Ramirez behind Bradley works well because of Bradley’s ability to take walks – taking a walk in the number five slot might lead to being stranded on base. Taking a walk in front of Ramirez however, is a whole different story.
I’m inclined to agree, though I hate the thought of not having your best OBP guy hitting somewhere in the top two. Given the Cubs’ seeming obsession with finding a left-handed bat to break up Lee and Ramirez, and their unflinching – if unfounded – loyalty to Derrek Lee in the three-hole, I think this is probably exactly where Bradley gets used.