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  1. Jerry Manuel is living proof that professional baseball teams don’t need a manager.

    Comment by Tom B — February 16, 2009 @ 10:21 am

  2. Jerry Manuel is onto something whether he realizes it or not. Batting Castillo ahead of Reyes makes better use of Castillo and Reyes’ respective skill sets. The solution is very simple. Bat Castillo 9th behind the pitcher. Keep Reyes in the leadoff spot.

    And a top 3 of Beltran, Reyes and Wright (in any order) is only a good idea in a vacuum. That would leave the next 4 spots to Delgado, Church, Murphy and Schneider. All LOOGYs welcome.

    Comment by Max — February 16, 2009 @ 10:45 am

  3. As a Phillies fan, I enjoyed reading that article yesterday.

    Comment by Doc — February 16, 2009 @ 11:15 am

  4. He’s saying that players should worry about team success over personal stats. He doesn’t mean wOBA, he means the context specific stats that players care about. He’s also saying Castillo will play better if he’s leading off.

    Going all Fire Joe Morgan over those two benign points that he articulated without time to think it over is really cringe-worthy. You can do better.

    Comment by JB H — February 16, 2009 @ 11:43 am

  5. JG H, come on. You know Jerry Manuel is an idiot. By the way, I really, really miss

    Comment by Richie Abernathy — February 16, 2009 @ 11:51 am

  6. JB H, i mean.

    Comment by Richie Abernathy — February 16, 2009 @ 11:51 am

  7. My Mets lineup:

    Church (interchangeable with Murphy/Tatis)

    Comment by James K. — February 16, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

  8. Manuel’s reasoning may be off, but it’s not an insane idea. If you switch Reyes and Castillo you make the most of their respective skills. Castillo has really no offensive abilities except for the ability to get on base at a decent clip – certainly comparable to Reyes. Reyes is much more likely to knock Castillo in than vice versa, so why not utilize the fact that Reyes is a better hitter by putting him in a position to drive in runs?

    That said, I wouldn’t mind James K’s lineup, though that’s a really weak 7-9. Then again, batting Castillo first makes for a weak 8-9-1, but at least in later innings you can break them up with pinch hitters.

    Comment by paul zummo — February 16, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

  9. If it came down to Castillo and Reyes, the guy with less power should bat leadoff. The issue is, Castillo is not one of the top four hitters on the Mets, so he shouldn’t hit in the top four.

    Comment by rwperu34 — February 16, 2009 @ 1:50 pm

  10. David Wright will never bat 2nd.

    He could always bat Murphy 2nd against righties while trying the Castillo, Beltran, Reyes, Wright combination against lefties.

    Career-wise, Castillo makes less outs (67%) per plate appearance than Reyes (69%). Last year, Reyes made outs 67% of the time to Castillo’s 69% from the 8th hole.

    I dare say it might just jump start Castillo’s year so that he at least looks like a professional baseball player when he’s swinging the bat.

    Comment by Matt F. — February 16, 2009 @ 2:45 pm

  11. Manuel wants Jose to give up leading off (at least during spring training) so he can “get Castillo going.” From Manuel’s perspective, Jose should take one for the team while Luis gets a chance to become more comfortable in a familiar role . Then if Luis is hitting again, he can move Reyes back up.

    Whether you agree with this method or not, Manuel thinks it’s a team first move because it sacrifices Jose’s personal preference to accommodate Castillo. The second quotation didn’t imply that Jose wasn’t a team first player nor did the third quotation imply Manuel wanted to pad Castillo’s stats. He simply thinks entrusting Castillo with more responsibility would help him put a bad season behind him.

    Comment by Sam — February 16, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

  12. I don’t see how when a guy fails you hand him more responsibility. Other than politics, what other business does that?

    Besides, havn’t we heard forever about moving players ‘down the order’ so there’s ‘less pressure’. I don’t see why you’d want to monkey with a good thing. The Mets are a really good team (especially offensively), September swoons or not.

    Comment by Jason T — February 16, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

  13. I agree with Sam – Manuel didn’t say anything to ridiculous here.

    While I don’t think Castillo should bat leadoff (or God forbid, 2nd), it wouldn’t be a problem to put him there during spring training games. The lineup a few comments above this one works for me. Although I think “The Book” said that batting a pitcher 8th might be a good strategy.

    Comment by doctaK — February 16, 2009 @ 5:24 pm

  14. There is an interesting article over at Brew Crew Ball (click on my name to see it) which details about proper lineup construction. The part about leadoff hitters says:

    “Of your best five hitters, your first batter should be the one with the least amount of power and the most walks. Preferably, the player here has a large split in batting average and on-base percentage because the value of a hit is similar to the value of a walk due to the fewer amount of runners on base in this spot.”

    Castillo isn’t one of the best 5 hitters on the club, however he is the guy who has the least amount of power and draws the highest percentage of walks on his club. Therefore, using that model he is a good candidate.

    Using this model of lineup construction, the Mets lineup should be:


    Comment by vivaelpujols — February 16, 2009 @ 11:16 pm

  15. How much the old guys in the media canonize Jerry Manuel if the Mets win the NL East for sticking it to those mother’s-basementing stat nerds?

    Comment by Joe — February 17, 2009 @ 3:34 am

  16. One of ‘s last pieces was tearing apart a set of Manuel quotes almost identical about this… this post makes me miss FJM all the more.

    Comment by Christian — February 17, 2009 @ 10:45 am

  17. I don’t think Manuel worded his argument very well, but batting Castillo at the top of the order and moving Reyes somewhere else isn’t necessarily a bad decision.

    There is plenty of merit to having your two best bats at 2 and 4, and a good OBP guy at the top. Reyes could fill in nicely at 3, 5, or 6 and still be plenty productive and good for the team.

    Comment by Jay — February 17, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

  18. Haven’t statistics proven that moving the lineup around does not have a large effect on wins over the course of the season? Regardless, Manuel seems to be talking about trying to get a hitter in a groove during spring training games… I think what he is trying to say is that right now what is best for the Mets is having Castillo play better rather than Reyes getting more at bats.

    Comment by Steve — February 17, 2009 @ 8:37 pm

  19. Not a large amount, maybe 10 runs (1 win) at most. For a playoff contending team though, that could be huge. Besides, what is the downside to optimizing the lineup, even if it only produces a couple more runs.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — February 17, 2009 @ 8:45 pm

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