The San Francisco Giants have penciled Brandon Crawford into the leadoff spot more than once this spring. Will that continue during the regular season?
In spring training, Brandon Crawford has done a lot of batting leadoff. Could that be a harbinger of things to come in the regular season?
This could just be a case of wanting a guy to get more at-bats in spring training or mixing and matching because everyday starters are not playing on a regular basis. However, with how much Crawford has been used in the role, it could mean the Giants view him as an option to hit first.
Mike Krukow recently pointed out that Crawford does not have the kind of OBP that you would expect from a leadoff hitter. It was a dismal .304 last season. Plus, Crawford does not have the kind of speed you would typically expect from a leadoff guy either.
However, we are seeing teams get more creative with who bats leadoff. The Chicago Cubs have made it clear that Kris Bryant, a guy you would normally expect to see in the middle of the order, will bat leadoff this season.
Crawford batting leadoff may end up being a spring experiment more than anything else. The Giants have other leadoff options that make more sense like Mike Yastrzemski or Mauricio Dubon.
But with all of the options the Giants have, a revolving door at the leadoff spot still seems more likely than one set guy. Flexibility is the name of the game, so we will probably see a lineup that is in flux for most of the year unless one guy proves that he is the clear lead-off hitter.
It will be interesting to see what the lineup looks like the closer we get to Opening Day, as that could provide a glimpse into what manager Gabe Kapler and the front office are thinking. But we should still take whoever the Opening Day lead-off hitter is with a grain of salt.