Desmond has a career .295 on base percentage against right handed pitching. WTF with him leading off on opening day!!! Ankiel is a career .323 vs righthanders. He is a BAD option but probably far better than Desmond. Morgan was .333 on base vs RHP last season. Desmond is a maybe, at best, for 20 steals and so is Ankiel. We have far and away the worst leadoff situation in baseball. It was bad with Morgan, it is downright ugly without him.
Werth: I expect him to lead this team in onbase percentage, extra base hits, outfield defense and steals. Of the extra base hits, around 25 should be homers (which means most wont be homers). In other words, I really like him batting second. I would not mind if he lead off either (on this team).
Zim: maybe he should bat 4th. According to Tango Tiger's "THE BOOK" of baseball and also, of course, Bill James, historically over a full season no spot in the lineup comes to bat with nobody on and two outs more than the third spot. With our awful leadoff situation, our third spot will do it more than most. I know it is considered an honor to be a third batter, but Zims at bats are being wasted there. I would rather have him bat with several people on base.
Larouch batting 4th? He has 20-25 homer power and a decent glove. He is a 5th batter not a 4th batter. He dramatically improves our infield defense, but he is not good enough to bat 4th. 3rd?
I like Morse in left field but he wont be much help with his glove. I expect 20-25 homers and room to improve.
Ankiel should lead off against right handed pitching and bench against lefthanders. I see no other role for him that helps the team. He is widely regarded as a butcher defensively among stat oriented people (other than his arm). His arm is first rate and, with his power, keeps him in the game. However, arms do not matter if you misplay the ball so badly you can't make a throw. Nonetheless, he will hit 20-25 home runs off right handers this season if healthy.
I see 20 homers from Espinosa as likely. Plus, he looks good defensively at second. We have decent power on this team. Could have five 20 or more homerun guys with good health.
IROD: Can't hit anymore. Sure he can still defend well, but the bat is gone. I hope he spends a great deal of time teaching Ramos. I would prefer Ramos (or Flores) to get most of the time behind the plate this season. ramos onbases really well so I would give him a shot at the leadoff spot personally . Sure zero speed, but at least he would be onbase when everyone else homers.
The pitching was as I expected today. Only 2 runs over 9 against a very good hitting club. With our improved defense I would not be surprised if we finish the season around average or maybe better in baseball for ERA this season. I am totally serious! I am calling a mid to low 4s team ERA. That is respectable. Half the problem the last few years with our pitching was downright dreadful defense. We have fixed the infield and right field. On paper our infield should be very good glovewise this season, and that should really help the pitching staff a ton.
I expect us to be darn near last in runs even with the power as we should be bad at getting on base.
One last thought, Norris onbased around 400 over a full season in the minors last season. We should change him off catcher and rush that bat to the majors!!! Seriously! we have Ramos and Flores, so we are easily set for years at catcher.