Batting order discussions tend to bring two strong opinions about the discussion, itself: (1) batting order doesn’t matter, this is stupid; or (2) batting order is everything, and the Cubs keep losing games because of it.
And that’s before you even get into actually tussling about the batting order.
I reckon we’ll see these disputes play out over the next few weeks, because, when it comes to the Cubs’ batting order, there are a dozen reasonable permutations. Not because the Cubs have so many great options, you see.
Dale Sveum recently the discussed the issue, through the lens of where to bat Starlin Castro:
Sveum has plenty of options for Castro, including the leadoff spot, but doesn’t seem fixated on just one role for his young hitter.
“It’s an intriguing question, and a lot of lineups are going to be out by the way guys perform in spring training because right now going in we don’t have that bona fide leadoff, that bona fide third, fourth, fifth hitter, so we’ve got some guys that have had some success but not super at the big-league level,” Sveum said. …
“You can make numbers look any way you want but there’s always that decision to make with great hitters like [Castro],” Sveum said. “When do we put him in that three or four or five spot? It comes a time where you can’t just sit there all the time like he’s comfortable in the two spot and leave him there when we need him in other spots.”
For now, I don’t see how you can justify batting Castro anywhere other than one of the top three spots in the order, primarily because you want him getting the most at bats on your team. Eventually, Castro is going to develop into a middle of the order hitter, and so I can see the reason to bat him 3rd this year (his struggles there last season notwithstanding).