HHP: Top Ten Leadoff Options

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by Larry Hodges (alias larrytt)

10) You generally want a fast player at leadoff. A good indicator of this is how many triples they hit. The Orioles as a team hit a total of 6 triples last year, the all-time record for fewest by a team. Thirty-four individual players hit 6 or more triples last year. On Sept. 3, 1894, the Baltimore Orioles hit 9 triples in one game. Maybe we should just give up.

9) Eddie Gaedel was the best leadoff hitter the St. Louis Browns ever had, with a 1.000 on base percentage, and the Browns became the Orioles. Bring him back. I’m not the only one who believes this – from 1977-1988, and again in 1996, Orioles fans regularly chanted “Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!” Sadly, the O’s didn’t listen, and Gaedel now plays for the Angels.

8) Who needs a leadoff hitter when you’ve got King Kong, Godzilla, Superman, and The Hulk coming up? Let’s just spot the rest of the division the leadoff spot and stop worrying about it.

7) We could put Hyun Soo Kim in the leadoff position, but let’s face it, he’s just a Noisy Hokum, which is his name with the letters rearranged. (So sneaky!) In fact, when asked if he could lead off, Kim anagrammed his distress, saying, “I mushy, no OK.”

6) We could put Joey Rickard in the leadoff position, but that’s even worse. He carries around a Racy Joker ID, every night he goes for a Joky Car Ride, and when he orders dinner, he asks for Acid Or Jerky. (Yes, we manage the Orioles by anagrams. Which is why we should just feed a baby horse and bat it leadoff, since Fed Foal is just an anagram for Leadoff.)

5) Before we can anoint Kim as the leadoff hitter, he has to pass one test – he must beat Showalter in a race to first base. So far it’s Showalter five, Kim zero. (Simple solution – sign a free agent who is faster than Kim as a pinch runner. Dave Ortiz is available.)

4) Adam Jones became our main leadoff hitter last year. Adam Jones had a .310 on base percentage. If you are thinking of Adam Jones as our leadoff hitter, please repeat that ten times. Two Oriole PITCHERS had higher on base percentages. The next person who suggests Adam Jones leads off gets shot with a .310.

3) The only Oriole who really gets a lot of walks is Chris Davis, who had 88 last year. Why does he get so many walks? Because pitchers are afraid that he’ll hit a home run, and so they walk him. So why hasn’t anyone told Joey Rickard this? All he has to do is hit lots of home runs, and the walks will come, and he’ll be a great leadoff hitter! Duh!!! (I sometimes think I’m the only one who understands baseball.)

2) Anyone with basic math ability knows that we should bat JJ Hardy leadoff. He had an on base percentage of .253 in 2015, .309 in 2016, leading to the obvious conclusion that he’ll have an on base percentage of .365 in 2017. And just wait for 2018 (.421), and 2019 (.477), and 2020 (.533) and . . . .

1) What do we need a leadoff hitter for? Just send “Bad” Ubaldo to the mound on opening day (it’s a home game), and we’ll never have to worry about something that’ll never happen. (Is there a mercy rule in MLB?)