Sizemore or Brantley....Brantley or Sizemore.....Both?
The purpose of a batting order is to produce runs by getting your best players the most plate appearances and protect the big bats in the lineups. The Indians have a decision to make soon on whether to bat Grady Sizemore in the leadoff position or drop him in the order and keep Micheal Brantley in the leadoff spot. Brantley has done an adequate job through the early part of the 2011 season many fans feel it would be a mistake to disrupt the lineup by inserting Grady into the leadoff while dropping Brantley.
I believe that Manny Acta will insert Grady Sizemore into the leadoff spot in the lineup against right handed pitching when he returns but Grady will either receive a day off or drop to 6th or 7th in the lineup against lefties. For his career Sizemore has a slash line against RHP of .292/.382/.521 while only a .230/.320/.380 against LHP. Brantley in his young career is much more evenly split. Against RHP Brantley has a slash line of .269/.323/.335 and .278/.322/.361 against LHP. Additionally, a player loses approximately 18 PA for every position in the lineup that he drops and I believe Manny Acta would rather give the extra at-bats to Grady Sizemore than to Micheal Brantley. Finally, Brantley and Orlando Cabrera could form a nice wrap around at the bottom of the lineup providing plenty of opportunities for Sizemore to show off his power and drive the runners in.
Brantley's 2011 slash line when leading off a game (12 G/12 PA) is .333/.333/.417. He has not drawn a walk and has struck out twice. When leading off an inning in 2011 (12G/13PA) Brantley has a slash line of .308/.308/.385. Overall, Brantley has 2 stolen bases while being caught once. He has struck out twice and has yet to draw a walk in both the leading off a game and leading off an inning categories..
For Brantley's career, he has led off a game a total of 95 times. His slash line is .217/.242/.326 and has 13K in 92 AB (14.1%) and drawn 3BB in 95 PA (3.2%). When leading off an inning in his career he has a slash line of .213/.261/.272 with 29K in 169 AB (17.2%) while drawing 11 BB in 180 PA (6.1%). He has 26 SB and been caught 17 times (60.4%) . Below is Micheal Brantley's baserunning metrics as presented by http://www.billjamesonline.net/
Can't really blame fans for being down on Sizemore as a leadoff hitter as fans by nature have a what have you done for me lately attitued. Currently, Brantley is the flavor of the month and Sizemore's 2009 season is the most recent memory of what Grady will be this year The last Sizemore was the Indians leadoff hitter was 2009 and he failed miserably in the role. When leading off a game, Sizemore put up a slash line of .206/.299/.382 and struck out 15 times in 68 AB (22%) while walking 8 times in 77 PA (10.4%). When leading off an inning he put up a slash line of .225/.341/.387 and had 27K in 142 AB (19%) and 22 BB in 167 PA (13.2%). Sizemore wasn't a particularly good baserunner, with a baserunning net gain of +1 and only 13 SB while getting caught 8 times (61.9%). We can certainly see that Grady was bothered by his groin and elbow injuries in 2009 and was a shell of the player that had shined the previous seasons.
For his career, Sizemore has put up a slash line of .274/.360/.485 with 21 career home runs. He has struck out 142 times in 594AB (23.9%) and has walked 70 times in 673 PA (10.4%). When leading off an inning in his career, he has a slash line of .266/.357/.473 with 45 home runs. He has struck out 277 times in 1183 AB (23.4%) while walking 143 times in 1350 PA (10.6%). Grady has 134 career stolen bases while being caught only 41 times (76.6%). Below is Grady Sizemore's baserunning metrics as presented by http://www.billjamesonline.net/