SARASOTA, Fla. -- In today’s Baltimore Sun, I gave a projected Orioles Opening Day lineup now that the club has added designated hitter/outfielder Nelson Cruz as a middle-of-the order bat.
Here was my batting order, as it ran in the paper today:
Nick Markakis RF: The favorite to assume leadoff position after hitting .335 in that spot in 2012
Manny Machado 3B: Lineup shifts if Machado has not recovered from knee surgery by Opening Day
Chris Davis 1B: AL MVP finalist led the majors with 53 homers and 138 RBIs
Adam Jones CF: Hits .294/.338/.517 in his career from the cleanup spot
Nelson Cruz DH: Has played most games in his career (268) batting fifth.
Matt Wieters C: Switch-hitting likely to be placed here to split up right-handed middle-of-the order bats.
J.J. Hardy SS: Hardy has a .270 career batting average from the seven spot, his best average in any spot.
Ryan Flaherty 2B: Could switch with Hardy on occasion to avoid hitting three straight left-handed hitters
David Lough LF: Will start at bottom of order, but could eventually move to leadoff spot.
A couple items to note. If Machado isn’t fully recovered from offseason knee surgery, it will dramatically alter the batting order. The club will need to find an on-base guy at the No. 2 spot to replace him. If Markakis remains in the leadoff spot, J.J. Hardy could move up to that spot to give the Orioles a left-right combo at top of the order. But Orioles manager Buck Showalter would be more comfortable having Hardy lower in the order,
Lough’s spot in the lineup is an interesting one as well. Since he’s new and doesn’t have very many games under his belt, I think he starts the season off at the bottom of the order, but he could move up to the top eventually.
That would depend on how Nick Markakis does early on. If he becomes more suitable for the middle of the order, it’s possible he moves to third, Davis could move to fifth and Lough becomes the leadoff many. That batting order would go left-right from top to bottom.
Nolan Reimold will also receive at bats in left field and at DH, so his bat would add a different component to the lineup. And Showalter likes to play matchups often, so there won't necessarily be an every day batting order.
Now it’s your turn. What would be your Orioles batting order?
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