5) What Good Is Moving Alcides Escobar To No. 2?
One benefit of the losing streak is that Ned Yost broke down and decided to remove Alcides Escobar from the leadoff position. Instead, Escobar batted from the two-hole with Whit Merrifield taking over at leadoff.
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Merrifield hitting no. 1 makes almost too much sense. He has speed (16 stolen bases in Omaha without a caught stealing), he’s getting on base (.338 OBP) and he’s reached base safely for 18 straight games. So, Yost made a good decision to insert the 27-year-old rookie at the top of the KC Royals order.
But Yost then sucks most of the benefit from this good decision by hitting Escobar at no. 2. Oh great, let’s have our shortstop with a .273 OBP take the second most at bats on the team instead of the most. That’s like giving up Russian Roulette in favor of bashing yourself in the head with a hammer.
I suppose it’s an improvement. At least Yost is now open to shaking things up. Maybe we’ll see Escobar in the no. 9 position since hitting him no. 2 didn’t bust the losing streak.
I’m not holding my breath. I’m sure Yost will come up with some excuse why thumbing his nose at data analysis and game theory makes sense.
Perhaps the move was due to Chicago starter Chris Sale being a lefty. Of course that doesn’t explain why Yost moved left-handed-hitting Eric Hosmer to no. 3 in place of Lorenzo Cain, who moved to clean-up on Friday.
I know, maybe Yost should REALLY make the sabermetrics guys squirm by batting Kendrys Morales at leadoff. Just because he can. I can just see Yost talking about managing with his gut as he starts off games with a .592 OPS Morales followed by an even worse .566 OPS Escobar.
Next: Ian Kennedy