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Projecting the 2017 Starting Lineup

Making a projection of the Diamondbacks potential starting lineup in 2017.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In an interview with Fangraphs (H/T azbaseball), then Red Sox Bench Coach and now Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo went over lineup construction. The overall consensus with most managers is the best hitters bat first to get more ABs over the course of the season. Lineups are now constructed with the idea to maximize run production instead of old-school where teams are playing for 1-run in the first inning. One of the big takeaways is he likes to have a more consistent lineup and the big bats in the lineup hitting the same spot in the order every day.

In order to maximize run potential, the best five bats on the team bat 1-5. The order isn’t as important because some teams their best hitter bats leadoff or their best hitter bats third. The Diamondbacks best five hitters against right-handed pitchers are Paul Goldschmidt, Jean Segura, AJ Pollock, David Peralta, and Jake Lamb. Against left-handed pitchers, Brandon Drury and Yasmany Tomás replace Peralta and Lamb in the top 5. Lovullo is very much interested in consistency in the lineup on a day to day basis because baseball players are very OCD about routines.

Now for constructing the actual line-up. Jean Segura will bat leadoff when he plays, because Segura’s ability to get on base and create havoc on the basepaths. Even though I expect his OBP to drop into the .335-.345 range, that should translate to 100 runs scored. The #2 hitter has to be able to hit a fastball, and the best fastball hitter on the team is Peralta. Against lefties you would see Drury take the #2 spot. Pollock and Goldschmidt would bat 3rd and 4th respectively every game they’re in. Lamb and Tomás would split the #5 spot in the order.

Taking those factors into account, this would be the Diamondbacks lineup vs. RHP:

  1. 2B Jean Segura
  2. RF David Peralta
  3. CF AJ Pollock
  4. 1B Paul Goldschmidt
  5. 3B Jake Lamb
  6. LF Yasmany Tomás
  7. C Welington Castillo
  8. Pitcher’s Spot
  9. SS Nick Ahmed

vs. LHP:

  1. 2B Jean Segura
  2. RF Brandon Drury
  3. CF AJ Pollock
  4. 1B Paul Goldschmidt
  5. LF Yasmany Tomás
  6. C Welington Castillo
  7. 3B Jake Lamb
  8. SS Nick Ahmed
  9. Pitcher’s Spot

That might not necessarily be the lineup going into 2017, but that’s a basic outline of what I’d expect in the order. Offseason trades are going impact who’s on the roster and there are certainly some that don’t fit from a long term perspective. If Segura is hold high, then Pollock would assume the leadoff role and everyone moves up a spot. If Tomás is traded, then Castillo moves up a spot and Haniger assumes the gap left behind by Tomás, although Haniger projects to RF and Peralta/Drury would move across the diamond to LF. The team is definitely going to have to make some moves so we don’t have a situation where a younger player is blocked by a fat contract that’s weighing down the rest of the team.