Saturday, January 24, 2009

Grady Sizemore: Best Lead-Off Hitter In Baseball?

Tribe Hitting Coach Derek Shelton thinks so. Shelton said that Sizemore was the "best lead-off hitter in baseball," while discussing the should Grady bat 1st or 3rd question with WKNR's Michael Reghi on Wednesday. Let Shaver Sports be the first to disagree with Derek.

Grady Sizemore is not the best 'lead-off hitter in baseball.' He is the best 'overall hitter batting lead-off'' in baseball, but he is not the best 'lead-off hitter.'

Kenny Lofton was the best 'lead-off hitter' in baseball when he played. Sizemore is not Lofton. In a lot of ways he is better, some not as good, but he is certainly not what Lofton was offensively. Sizemore hits HRs, and Lofton couldn't. Sizemore drives in RBI and Lofton didn't. Sizemore steals bases, but not as many as Kenny. And Sizemore strikes out with a much higher frequency than Kenny ever did. But this debate is actually simpler than the Lofton comparisons. If Albert Pujols batted 1st for the Cardnials he would be the best overall hitter batting lead-off in the National League. If Alex Rodriguez batted 1st for the Yankees he would be the best overall hitter batting lead-off in the American League. But neither of these guys are 'lead-off hitters.'

The fact is Grady Sizemore is the best hitter on the Indians. He is an All Star thru and thru, and can do it all. As the best hitter on the team, he can bat 1st, 3rd, 7th or 9th and be productive. The Indians, based on the pieces they have, choose to bat their best hitter 1st. Thats fine, but that still doesn't make him a lead-off hitter.

Just the same as if you chose to bat Lofton 4th, that wouldn't make him a clean-up hitter either.

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