Projecting the optimal Pittsburgh Pirates batting order

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Mar 3, 2015; Dunedin, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez (24) hits a three-run home run in the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

We put the call out to our readers on our twitter feed for their lineups, and as usual, they delivered.  Here’s a few we particularly liked:

@mrhammar tells us:  

"My two fundamental (not-research-based) lineup beliefs are: The team’s highest OBP players should occupy the first 3 spots in the lineup.  This provides them the most at-bats, which leads to more baserunners, and thus, the team’s best opportunity to score runs. A stable batting order will be more successful than one that is constantly shuffled.  People tend to be creatures of habit, and usually perform best when their role and expectations are consistent and clearly defined. If Pedro batting fourth doesn’t seem to be working after 100 ABs or so, I’d bat Walker fourth, Pedro sixth and see what Mercer/Kang can do in the two-hole.   If J-Hay struggles, I’d drop him to seventh (perhaps splitting time with the loser of the Mercer/Kang battle) and give Polanco another shot to develop into an effective leadoff hitter."

The wonderfully-named GungHoForJungHo explains:

"I went with this lineup for a few reasons. I like seeing all the speed stacked 1-4, this would get Cutch an extra 40 or so ABs through the season, and insulate Polanco(against LOOGYs especially).  Walker will drive in a ton of runs even if he sees a decline in HRs, Pedro is a number six hitter, and Cervelli & Mercer balance out the lineup nicely. Hurdle is challenged with finding time for Kang, but that will happen no matter what. I’d love to see the outfield shifted defensively (Marte CF, Polanco LF, Cutch RF), but that will never happen."

Let’s wrap things up with one last lineup from our readers.

J.P. tells it thusly:

"Harrison at the top brings energy, on base percentage and frenzy on the base paths.Walker follows and provides power in the number 2 spot.  Cutch won an MVP in the 3 hole so why change it.  If Pedro heats up again he is the ideal cleanup hitter. His struggles there are well documented but I believe are just a coincidence. Marte provides pop and speed at 5 and he seems to flourish in the middle of the lineup.  Polanco will feel less pressure at 6 but will be the 5th straight hitter with 20+ HR potential. I don’t like a slow footed catcher hitting in front of a slow footed pitcher so I put Jordy 8 and Cerivelli 7. This lineup can hurt you in a myriad of ways. (I can’t believe I’m typing that about the Pirates!)"

Believe it, J.P.   This offense is ready to break out in a big way.  It will be very interesting to see the configuration that Clint decides to start the season with.

Thank you to all of our readers that sent in their thoughts.  This was a fun exercise that shows us just how versatile this Pittsburgh Pirates lineup can be.

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