The San Francisco Giants seemingly had an ever-changing lineup in 2016. As we’ve touched on some lineup changes in past articles, we wanted to look at one of the most intriguing lineup moves that the Giants made last year, the pitcher in the eight spot.
The San Francisco Giants played 27 games last year with the pitcher in the eighth spot, which is more than many teams have in recent years. Every now and then, guys like Tony LaRussa would do something like that while managing the Cardinals. But the Giants were one of the first teams to utilize that batting order in a few years.
2017 is likely going to see an end to that. What made it so effective was the presence of multiple players who had lead-off hitter type qualities. A list of those who made starts in the ninth spot that weren’t pitchers, but the pitchers were in the lineup (excluding DH situations):
Key Ingredients? Speed, and contact are the key ingredients here. Providing that secondary leadoff type hitter really gave the opponents no respite. The Giants record when they did this lineup was 13-14. So it wasn’t widely successful, and the only guy who was in the lineup there when they won was Pagan.
It did bring in some big wins when it worked, including opening day against the Brewers. However, 14 losses on top of it just doesn’t help. A gimmick on occasion? Sure. But it’s really not worth it in the long run. Thus, answering the question of whether or not we’ll see it again in 2017.
That lineup, with the pitcher in the eight spot, should be dead and buried after last year. There isn’t another Angel Pagan type on the roster, which made it feasible. Now, for Madison Bumgarner batting instead of a DH? That’s quite possible. Hopefully we do see that again this season.
Stay Tuned To Around the Foghorn as Spring Training games begin this week!