Joe Maddon May Bat the Pitcher Eighth and Other Bullets

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Joe Maddon May Bat the Pitcher Eighth and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

joe maddon speaksYesterday was a big day, and I’ll have much more on the Dexter Fowler trade today. Setting that aside for the moment, here are your other Bullets …

  • In Bruce Miles’ write-up of Joe Maddon’s coaching panel at the Convention this weekend (great read, give it a look), there’s a little bit that I’d like to discuss. Maddon told Miles that he was “tinkering with the idea” of batting the pitcher 8th. You probably noticed that, when the Rays came to Wrigley last year, Maddon batted his pitcher 8th, so there’s a good chance he’ll play around with the idea when the season rolls around. Maddon wouldn’t get into the specific situations in which he’d consider doing it (it’s still very early), but he did say he’s been researching the appropriate situations. The general theory is that, as you come through the order the second time, if the 9th hitter is an actual quality hitter, he’s got a better chance at getting on base than the pitcher, which would then mean a runner on base for the best hitters in the lineup (who tend to be in the top half of the order). The counter-argument is that you’re giving more plate appearances, over the course of the season, to pitchers (and the counter to that is that it’s a very small difference as compared to the 8-hole, and by the third/fourth time through the order, you very well might be using a pinch hitter anyway).
  • Because pitcher-eighth has caught on so sparingly, it’s not something I’ve researched extensively (and in my less thoughtful days, I probably made fun of Tony La Russa for doing it). But I will say that there is some attractiveness to it. I hope Maddon does play around with it so that we can have an opportunity to discuss it in real games this year.
  • I know folks love to play the lineup game, so let’s play around with pitcher-bats-eighth lineups. What about this to start the year?
  1. Fowler, CF
  2. Castro, SS
  3. Rizzo, 1B
  4. Soler, RF
  5. Coghlan, LF
  6. Baez, 2B
  7. Montero, C
  8. Pitcher
  9. Alcantara, 3B (or 2B, with Baez at 3B; or La Stella at 3B)
  • Each of Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha say they are perfectly healthy at this point, which may well be true, and may well carry on through the 2015 season. As I would say about any Cubs pitcher, the biggest predictor of future pitching injuries is a past history of injuries, so even if they feel good now, Cardinals fans would still be justifiably nervous entering the year.
  • If ZiPS is right, the Diamondbacks can happily collect another top overall pick in 2016.
  • What happens when minor league affiliates become self-aware and start interacting with each other as anthropomorphized entities? Twitter exchanges like this. Cubs fans, be advised: you’ve got some fun-loving folks running the minor league Twitter accounts, and you’re going to want to follow them all.
  • Semi-speaking-of-which, I did a radio spot last night with the good folks in South Bend, and you can check it out here.
  • Go ahead and click the “like” button on the BN Facebook page thing right below this sentence if you do, in fact, like BN. This is the Internet equivalent of passing you a note in study hall:


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.