The Braves must bump up Heyward in the order, right?

Hitting seventh seems to have agreed with him so far. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Hitting seventh seems to have agreed with him so far. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

I asked someone who wears a Braves’ uniform, “How much longer can you go with Jason Heyward batting seventh?” And I figured this person, who has always been candid with me, would say, “Not much longer.” But he surprised me.

Stop and think for a minute, he said. Heyward has 15 RBIs batting in the seventh spot. That’s really good. (No other Brave has more than eight, and the one who does — sixth-place hitter Yunel Escobar — drove in five runs on Opening Day.) Say you move Heyward up to sixth or even fifth: He might have a few more ribbies, but at what overall cost?

Say you move Troy Glaus to the seventh spot. That would mean the bottom of your lineup is now Glaus, who’s hitting .195 with one extra-base hit; either Melky Cabrera (.119, one extra-base hit) or Nate McLouth (.148, no extra-base hits) in the eighth spot, and then the pitcher. And then the leadoff spot, which hadn’t been producing until Matt Diaz got three hits his first three times up Sunday.

Having Heyward batting No. 6 (or No. 5) might make for a more imposing upper chunk of the order — Martin Prado, Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and either Heyward or Escobar — but it would also leave a chasm at the lineup’s bottom. “We’d be awfully top-heavy,” my informant said, and they would be.

Where should Heyward hit?

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Glaus hasn’t done much at No. 5, and Escobar hasn’t done much lately at No. 6, but so long as Heyward is behind them they’re going to get pitches to hit. If you put Heyward at No. 6 with Glaus behind him, Heyward’s going to get walked. (As we know, he’s not apt to swing at bad pitches.) And it also leaves the opposing pitchers with the prospect of ridiculously easy innings one time in three.

The ideal lineup has no holes, but there are no ideal lineups. (At least not in the National League.) On the days Diaz doesn’t play, the Braves’ lineup has three holes: McLouth, Glaus and Cabrera. It’s better not to bunch them. It’s better to give Heyward a chance to clean up after Glaus or Escobar makes an out than to give the other team an excuse not to pitch to the rookie.

I know, I know. This isn’t what you want to hear, and it wasn’t exactly what I expected to hear from my informant. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. And I pass it along to you at no charge.

239 comments Add your comment

Davidovitch

April 19th, 2010
6:20 am

What is not broken, do not fix.

Aaron

April 19th, 2010
6:21 am

I think I agree. It seems like I could pitch a 1-2-3 inning against Glaus, McLouth and Cabrera.

goldwreck

April 19th, 2010
6:22 am

The 7th spot keeps the pressure of of Heyward as well.

Caelus

April 19th, 2010
6:26 am

Keep J-Hey at the #7 spot. The kid is a 20 year old rookie and doesn’t need to hit out of the 4 or 5 spot as the savior of the team. That time will come.

And we need to start platooning Glaus and Hinske.

Dwayne

April 19th, 2010
6:32 am

Right now Brian has no Protection from Gloss so they walk him to get to Gloss. Look at the numbers with runners in scoring position. Gloss Vs Jason. The numbers speak. 16 walks in two games and up to Jason hit in the 9th only two runs on 16 walks and one run was Jasons walk with the bases loaded. Why pitch to Brian with Gloss behind him and why pitch to Jason with Melky Or Nate the Great behind him. Pitchers will have to pitch to Brian with Jason behind him.

Dwayne

April 19th, 2010
6:36 am

It makes no since to keep our best player batting seventh. Bobby dont want to hurt Gloss feelings because he is a washed up vet. My question is do other teams keep their best player hitting seventh because three or four guys suck. I dont think so.

BravesFan79

April 19th, 2010
6:40 am

Heyward seems to come up in important spots in the game now, but i wouldn’t mind seeing him moved up a spot. I was dissapointed Glaus swung at the first pitch yesterday, i have confidence this guy can get it together, but part of his strength (and value) is drawing walks.
And whats up with Escobar? Hes been one of our top clutch hitters for the past few years, he will come around sooner than later.

Heath

April 19th, 2010
6:41 am

I think the lack of pressure hitting at #7 will be good for him this year. Next year as a #5 would make more sense.

Why is there no talk of bringing up Barbaro Canizares from Gwinett to play first base, Mark? The guy has hit 300 ever since he got to AAA.

Dwayne

April 19th, 2010
6:51 am

Maybe The Cards should Albert to the seven hole or Howard should be moves to the seven for the phillies. Stop making excuses for not moving Jason up in the Lineup not moving him has almost cost us some games and it has cost us some runs already. He would have 20 + rbi right now if he had been hitting behind Brian. Its not about Jason getting alot of rbi it;s about giving us the best chance to win. The numbers speak. Look at the numbers with runners in scoring position Jason kills Gloss.

FS Sikes

April 19th, 2010
6:54 am

Still need someone on base to drive in!

Got It

April 19th, 2010
7:02 am

We could always move the pitcher to lead-off. Really wouldn’t be much of an issue

Willy

April 19th, 2010
7:09 am

Since he’s the best boy let’s just let him decide where to hit.

GTHorsie

April 19th, 2010
7:09 am

Totally disagree. Better to let him clean up after someone makes an out than give the other team an excuse not to pitch to him??

1) Lots of times, when that person in front of him makes an out, he won’t have anything left to clean up. Why not let him clean up BEFORE they make the out? In theory, he will get more opportunities to clean up.

2) Than to give the other team an excuse not to pitch to him? They don’t have to pitch to him either way. But would you rather walk him and pitch to #7, or walk him and pitch to #8?

I think he should move up to 6th for this season, 5th next season.

Chris Chambless

April 19th, 2010
7:14 am

Why do you even try to speak when you dont enen know how to spell Glaus! It’s not gloss, that just makes your point that much more ignorant! I think Bobby Cox knows more than you people, at least he watches the game. If you’d just watch a game or two, you would see how to spell the players names!

chris

April 19th, 2010
7:15 am

Why does Bobby stick with 3 “holes in the lineup”. Whatever happened to going with the guy with the hot bat. We stuck with several “holes” last year (Johnson, Francouer, First Base) for way too long. If Bobby sticks with these guys too long, they are going to have to shorten the team name from the “Atlanta Braves with several lineup holes” to simply the “A-holes”

braveshoo

April 19th, 2010
7:25 am

Glaus almost killed us yesterday. If the DP is called, JH doesnt get to bat. I also agree with the poster above that Mac is not getting good pitches to hit with Glaus hitting behind h

Glaus is killing rallys, and has got to go. Against left handers, the batting order should be Diaz; Prado; Chipper; Mac; Escobar; JH; Infante; Melky. Against right handers, The batting order should be Diaz; Prado; Chipper; Mac; Hinske; JH; Escobar; McClouth. Mac has to have protection behind him and so does Heyward. If the DP had been callesd against Glaus yesterday, JH would have never gotten to hit. Until we trade for A.Gonzales, or bring up Freeman, we have got to play Hinske and Infante, and bench Glaus.

GT71

April 19th, 2010
7:33 am

‘three holes: McLouth, Glaus and Cabrera’. And these guys have been with us how long? And signed when? And by whom?
It’s early yet and all three are proven guys, but right now, none of these deals look good. We’ll know by August, that’s sure.
But I’m still in the camp that says Bobby knows more baseball than all commenters added together and the young phenom needs more at bats, no matter where he hits before it’s settled where he’ll spend what looks to be a very nice career.

F-105 Thunderchief

April 19th, 2010
7:35 am

There were sure outs in the lineup this time last year. What do you think, Mark, should be done to fix them?

DP

April 19th, 2010
7:37 am

Heyward will get pitched around more hitting behind Glaus than hitting in front of him, because if there are no outs or one out in the inning with men on base and the pitcher gets Glaus out, he’s closer to getting out of the inning and will pitch around Heyward with McLouth/Cabrera and the pitcher’s spot behind them. If he’s pitching to Glaus with 2 outs and men on base pitchers will go after Glaus and it will probably cost Heyward an RBI opportunity.

If Heyward maintains or improves his high OBP for a few weeks I think they should consider moving him up to 3rd and dropping everybody starting with Chipper down a spot in the lineup. But prior to that, I’d move Escobar up to 5 and Heyward to 6 when McCann is catching and up to 4 and 5 when Ross is catching. I don’t think you want McCann and Heyward back to back where opposing managers can bring in a lefty to pitch to them both without facing any right handed hitters.

The worst hitters should bunched up at the end of the order where they get the fewest at bats. If they stay bad the Braves will have to look for alternatives.

Poorbrave

April 19th, 2010
7:43 am

Lets not rush things. I believe the kid could hit where ever he is in the line up but he can’t do it all. Others need to step up or out.

Ron H

April 19th, 2010
7:56 am

It would be a mistake to move Heyward up at this point, IMO. Remember, he’s a ROOKIE. He has very limited experience playing ball at a high level. While I’m enjoying his play, other teams will find his weaknesses and exploit them…

Give him some time to develop further. We also need someone in the back of the lineup that can hit. Yunel, baby, come on! Heat up! Same to Chipper!

#1 Cox fan

April 19th, 2010
7:57 am

Ok I know I will be in the minority here but, I have always been a great fan of the same qualities you look for in 1-4 being repeated in 5-8 respectively. So I love a high average guy at both 1 and 5, and a power guy at 4 and 8. So in this scenario the perfect lineup would be Diaz, Prado, Chipper, McCann, Escobar, McClouth, Heyward, Glaus, Pitcher. Diaz has earned a spot at the top of the order and think Bobby should alter McClouth and Cabrera in Center. I BELIEVE Glaus will wake up and if not Hinske has earned his spot as an every day First baseman.

As I think more about this while typing I think the every day lineup SHOULD be at this time Diaz, Prado, Chipper, McCann, Escobar, Hinske, Heyward, McClouth, Pitcher. With this lineup you only have the 8, 9 as your “holes” in the lineup.

Diaz and Hinske DESERVE this. Can you imagine bringing in Glaus and Cabrera OFF the bench last night??? WOW!

Bret

April 19th, 2010
7:58 am

Just very happy to have this wonderful young man in the line up.

Matt in Athens

April 19th, 2010
7:59 am

I thought of this the other day and here’s what I came up with:

1. Prado
2. Chipper (if the old man takes the ‘demotion,’ of sorts)
3. Heyward
4. McCann
5. Glaus
6. Escobar
7. McLouth
8. Diaz/Cabrera

I understand that this may put too much pressure on Heyward, so I don’t expect it to be done anytime soon, but I think that’s a tremendous lineup and provides more power out of the 3 hole than Chipper’s providing now.

curtis jones

April 19th, 2010
8:03 am

The real problem is not where Heyward bats in the lineup. The real problem is we have 3 huge holes in the lineup, with better bats sitting on the bench. Too early in the season? Bull! That kind of thinking doomed the Braves last year.

We’ve seen what Glaus can(not) do. He’s got a slow bat with a big hole in it, and he’s slower afoot than Kotchman (if that’s humanly possible). As everyone knows, he had some good years in the HGH era, like a lot of FORMER stars. He will never be a 40 HR, 120 RBI guy again, or anything close to it.

We’ve seen enough of Melky. Another huge Wren fail. How in the heck did this guy ever play for the Yankees? No speed, an occasional single, average arm in the OF. He is not an everyday player.

As for McLouth, file that one under “it seemed like a good idea at the time.” Yes, he has good range in the OF (with a scattershot arm), and is a solid pinch-runner. But that’s it. It’s obvious his confidence is shot, and he has no business swinging for the fences.

Glaus should have been called out in the 9th on Sunday, although his protruding gut made it close. If the ump makes the right call, all the Cox boosters here would be awfully quiet today…because Heyward would never have gotten a chance to win that game, buried in the 7-hole.

BB's

April 19th, 2010
8:04 am

I like this team a lot. There is potential. But a couple of these “holes” have to be filled. Don’t blame Bobby. What should he do? Start Hudson in the outfield when he’s not pitching? We have to go get another hitter. Bettre to do it now than later. The price tag goes up at the trade deadline, and why go two months with the holes. Why not sign Jermaine Dye? Could get him cheap. If he doesn’t work out, then let him go. Diaz may be getting hot. That will be good while it lasts, but he is always streaky. I still believe Glaus will be fine. I really do. But McClouth and Cabrera are utility outfielders (really Diaz is, too). You have to try to fill those holes. Please!!! Ptiching is too good to waste this year, especially when it’s Bobby’s last one. Do something soon.

Magnum

April 19th, 2010
8:07 am

Wow, what some flawed logic. I’m surpried you didn’t point out those errors, Mark. First of all, you have to get your best hitters the best possible chance to get the most at bats each game. If the DP is caled, Heyward doesn’t even bat.

I think the whole “getting pitched too” is over done in this league. It only matters marginally as to who bats behind a hitter. Besides, who in here thinks that hitting in front of Melky and the pitcher will allow Heyward to see good pitches? It’s still going to be an easy inning when they decide they can pitch around Heyward and then count on easy outs from those following him.

Pressure? How’s he done with pressure so far? First at bat? 470+ ft homer. Game on the line with 2 out? Game winning single. Cox didn’t worry about where to bat Chipper when he came up in ‘95…why not do the same and move an immensely talented Heyward to the middle of the order.

We’ve seen the kid can make adjustments. Struggle over a few games…immediately becomes more selective, sees more pitches, and takes the ball the other way. There won’t be much of a learning curve for this kid…he’s ready for anything you can throw at him.

Batting him 7th for a struggling offense is beyond dumb.

wawel78

April 19th, 2010
8:21 am

I think he’s getting a lot of walks because pitchers can pitch around him in the 7 hole. Here is the part that is confusing to me though – you want your best players to get as many opportunities as possible. Batting him 7th does not do that. It’s similar logic to pitching Lowe on opening day. Why would you want your arguable worst starting pitcher (4th at best) to get the most starts during the year?

Tea Party Protest Sign Spell Chequer

April 19th, 2010
8:22 am

HEYWOOD IS A BUST U WILL SEE BY JUNE HE WILL BE MOVED DOWN TO GWINETT CUZ HE IS WROTHLESS

Jesse Stone

April 19th, 2010
8:24 am

I watched the Glaus play many times yesterday and came away with the same conclusion each time. Glaus arrived at first the same time the ball did. nosourceinsider.com is reporting that the Braves have put in a call to Mike Jacobs’s agent.

siskel_god

April 19th, 2010
8:26 am

I agree with Matt that Prado should probably be given a shot in the leadoff spot. Dude has been raking and gets alot of extra base hits. I would try this

1 Prado
2 Heyward
3 Escobar
4 McCann
5 Chipper
6 Glaus
7 McLouth
8 Melky/Diaz

That lineup keeps with Bobby’s preference for not having lefties b2b and gives our two hottest hitters a chance to stake us to some early leads. The way Hanson and Huddy have been going they wont need much to work with. I agree 100% with whoever said Glaus and Hinske need to start platooning at 1b. I can’t help but think everytime I watch Glaus “run” to first that this is the guy we got to replace our best hitter in the second half of last season?

Jesse Stone

April 19th, 2010
8:28 am

Glaus is the “big stick” the Frankie Wren said many times that we would acquire this past offseason.

Ryan

April 19th, 2010
8:29 am

That doesn’t make any sense.

How is Glaus hitting behind Heyward any worse than McLouth hitting behind Heyward?

As for not fixing what’s not broken, um, didn’t we just get no-hit?!??!

Nope

April 19th, 2010
8:30 am

Don’t think you move him up yet. He is still in the development phase. I have seen a many great hitters get moved up in the lineup too early, and nothing good came of it. I say leave him in the 6 or 7 slot for another month, then gradually bump him up.

robdawg08

April 19th, 2010
8:32 am

Heyward should hit 3rd,Chipper 4th,McCann 5th. All this “let him hit 7th because he’s a rookie” is crap. If Heyward hit 3rd he would get a lot more at-bats over the course of a year to do damage. Who cares what the bottom of the order does IF the top is scoring 5 to 6 runs every game ? Braves are only punishing themselves batting their best hitter 7th. I agree with wawel78 totally.

Aziz

April 19th, 2010
8:35 am

I Agree with the Logic. However, Your cleanup guy has to be the best man on the team and we all know Glauss is nowhere close. Move Heyward up 1 spot and shuffle the lineup

SimpleDawg

April 19th, 2010
8:37 am

Glaus has a pretty swing…..he just doesn’t make contact with the ball. At first base? Looks both good and bad.

Melky looks like a train wreck at the plate….with weak results. Decent range in the field, erratic arm.

McLouth…..pretty swing, but swings at the wrong pitches. Great range in the field, but no arm.

Five tool players? Nope….there’s not 5 tools between all 3.

Play Hinske at first and Diaz in the outfield with McLouth in center…..at least use McL’s defense.

Hirsutedawg

April 19th, 2010
8:38 am

Time to bring up Freddie Freeman, the youth movement (minus Chipper) should begin with the Philly series. Our pitching is good enough to win right now.

Herschel Talker

April 19th, 2010
8:39 am

How ’bout we stop signing and trading for a bunch of clowns like Melky and Glaus, and then we won’t have such problems. I thought Wren assured us that Melky was worthy of being traded for? Another lie, Franky? Wren is garbage.

Jesse Stone

April 19th, 2010
8:42 am

Ryan,
It didn’t matter what order the Braves battin in on Saturday. They got NO HITS. If we’d batted the pitcher cleanup and Heyward 9th, we would’ve had the same results.

In Pollack We Trust

April 19th, 2010
8:44 am

David Pollack just tweeted that the Braves were given permission by the Tigers to talk to Rafael Belliard about being an assistant hitting coach. He said that Belliard accepting the position was a “done deal”.

Captain Reality

April 19th, 2010
8:45 am

Why can’t the Braves see the light and get some of these guys on board. If they have time to rant at 0800 they obviously have time to lend their talents to the Braves. Right, Bobby has to go because he can’t see in 16+ hours per day of personal observation what you guys can see in a 2+ hour telecast. The only place Bobby will go is the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Brad in KY

April 19th, 2010
8:45 am

That is a stupid line of reasoning. You want to give your best players as many at-bats as possible and that’s not happening with Heyward hitting seventh. Also, so long as Heyward is hitting behind Glaus, he’ll be lucky to have more than a handful of opportunities to win a game late the rest of the season. I wonder how many times a game will have to end with Heyward on deck or in the hole before your insider will get a clue…In the meantime, we’re wasting at-bats on Cabrera and Glaus just like we did with Anderson and Franceour last season…

Arthur

April 19th, 2010
8:46 am

Leave Jason Heyward where he is. Batting behind Escobar helps him. He is great, and will remain great, I hope. However he is a rookie.

Arthur

robdawg08

April 19th, 2010
8:46 am

Well-said Magnum !

McClouth,Melky,& Glaus are looking like busts so far. Braves need to trade McClouth & Melky for a fast,leadoff CF that can hit. Let Diaz play LF. Maybe M.Bourn CF Houston ?

j

April 19th, 2010
8:54 am

Tea Party Protest Sign Spell Chequer,

PEASE GO WALK INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC. THERE IS NO HEYWOOD ON THE BRAVES. SHOULD’T YOU BE SOMEWHERE SPENDING OUR TAX DOLLARS YOU DEGENERATE?

robdawg08

April 19th, 2010
8:57 am

I don’t care how great Bobby Cox supposedly is. Fact is he won one World Series with teams (Maddux,Glavine,Smoltz,McGriff,Chipper,Justice) he should have won 5 with. I guess everyone forgot the bad managerial moves like pitching to Puckett & J.Carter,Lonnie’s base-running,Wohlers imploding,etc. over the years. It’s funny that Bobby gets credit when they win but no blame when they lose. It goes both ways.

Grandad

April 19th, 2010
8:57 am

Eventually, I would like to see him hit 2nd, in front of Chipper
& behind a platooning lead-off duo [Matty & Melky].
Right now, I’m with Davidovitch [1st] poster,
“What is not broken, do not fix.”

T.O

April 19th, 2010
8:58 am

The Yanks laughed at us for weeks after they dumped Melky on us. And they got our best pitcher for him. Great trade! I know we were trying to free up some $$ but we never made another big move other than the 2 mill for Glaus who is also useless. So we ended up with another 3-4 million left and we couldn’t have been that far off signing Vasquez. Look at the signs by Wren and company. 15 mill for D. Lowe who is a 4th starter at best. That 15 million has handcuffed our roster for the next 3 years. We were trying to get someone to pay a quarter of that in the offseason and no takers. Melky the other sign is complete garbage. Nate wasn’t too bad off a sign b/c at least he’s proved he can put a full season together and he’s young and we didn’t over pay for him. Glaus is a joke and is killing the lineup. Kawakami is maybe worth 2 mill a year. Not 9 million!! You can actually make the argument that this managment is sabatoging the Braves. Either that or they just have no clue how to run a MLB team. They need to sell!!

Magnum

April 19th, 2010
9:03 am

Come on Grandad….it is broke. We are struggling to provide consistent offense and Heyward has shown that he has better at bats with better results than Glaus and Glaus is getting the most RBI chances on the team. I mean 2 + 2 might = jello for some of you on here, but it ain’t that hard in my book.