The Nationals frequently scrawled Jayson Werth’s name first on their lineup card last year. The Orioles turned to Nick Markakis with plenty of success. The Yankees relied on Derek Jeter, while the Tigers gave the job to Austin Jackson. All of those teams made the playoffs. All of their leadoff men profiled as solid contact hitters with good—but not great—basestealing ability.
It is a model the Mets hope to copy this year, more out of necessity than anything else. The team leader in stolen bases last season was No. 3 hitter David Wright, who swiped 15. There’s a decent chance no Mets player will steal that many in 2013. So the Mets are no longer concerned with speed from their leadoff men, looking for Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Ruben Tejada, Mike Baxter and/or Collin Cowgill to claim the job.
Those folks all seem to agree with the more modern definition of a leadoff man.
“Typically, it’s a guy who can get on base,” Cowgill said.
“You always remember the goal is to get on base,” Baxter agreed.
“On-base,” Nieuwenhuis added, “is everything.”
Posted: March 01, 2013 at 06:02 AM | 19 comment(s)
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