Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nine Questions: #4 The Infield Shuffle

 

 

 

I touched on it briefly last time but the Auburn infield faces an almost radical reloading for 2011. It's been a weekend, but I still think Scenario Orange is Auburn's best bet (Alvord at 3B, CMac at SS, Hargett at 2B). That leaves the infield like this:

  • Alvord 3B
  • McElroy SS
  • Hargett 2B
  • Patterson 1B
  • Gamache DH
  • Caldwell C

 

At least one national writer is already disagreeing (albeit slightly):

Projected starting lineup

C Tony Caldwell*
1B Kevin Patterson*
2B Justin Hargett*
SS Casey McElroy*
3B Dan Gamache*
DH Brooks Beisner

 

Maybe Kendall Rogers knows something I don't, but I just can't see a scenario where Zach Alvord is NOT in the starting lineup on opening day. Alvord fills a bit of the power void (most scouting reports praise his power, calling it almost unnatural due to his size) and Alvord is the future of the Auburn infield. Why not let him start day one.

The two wild cards in Rogers's lineup are Brooke Beisner and Dan Gamache. Look, I'm in the Gamache camp. However, I have huge doubts of him playing in the field on a full time basis. Gamache's errors were extremely detrimental at times to Auburn. This year he won't have an All-American at 1B to help correct some of those mistakes. I'll have more on Gamache later (and his role), but for now, the biggest question for Auburn's infield will be just how much it is shuffled throughout the season.

Position battles will abound in 2011:

 

FIRST BASE/DH

  • Dan Gamache
  • Pat Savage
  • Kevin Patterson
  • Brooks Beisner

Honestly, these positions are interchangeable. Savage is probably the 1B on track for a 2012 staring job. KP will be playing the field (so get used to it). Beisner is probably the best off-the-bench power threat that Auburn has. Finally, Gamache is Gamache and we'll touch on him Wednesday.

INFIELD

  • Zach Alvord
  • Justin Hargett
  • Casey McElroy
  • Wes Gilmer
  • Mitchell Self
  • Tyler Dial

Here's where these midweek games will become key. Gilmer, Self, and Dial all need to be groomed as a fill-in roles. Gilmer and Self already filled that role a bit last year. Tyler Dial is the wildcard here. I'm interested to see him in action because I really think he was a steal this upcoming signing class. Dial could become the next SS or 2B (depending on what happens with Alvord).

CATCHER

  • Tony Caldwell
  • Caleb Bowen

It's really a two horse race. Caldwell (after his great Cape Cod experience) is the front runner, with Bowen (hopefully) getting more and more reps. It wouldn't surprise me if Caleb Bowen becomes the 9th inning catcher and starts a shuffle where Justin Bryant closes, Caldwell replaces Bryany in the OF, and Bowen replaces Caldwell behind the plate.

3 comments:

John Clifton January 26, 2011 at 12:33 AM  

I agree with "Scenario Orange." The only problem I see is KP at first base. I mean, I KNOW he is gonna play first base, but if he starts killing us out there, we gotta put Gamache over there and let KP DH. We need both of their bats in the lineup one way or another. Any way you slice it, we will be at least an average fielding team, but a well above average hitting team. Looking at our potential lineup, it's just scary good even with Fletch and Hunter leaving.

Here's my idea:
1. Fradejas (RF)
2. Simpson (CF)
3. Gamache (DH)
4. Patterson (1B)
5. Caldwell (C)
6. Alvord (3B)
7. McElroy (SS)
8. Bryant (LF)
9. Hargett (2B)

Of course Alvord is the wild card here. Nobody knows exactly just how good he is gonna be.

The Baseball Baby January 26, 2011 at 7:16 AM  

Okay, I predict KP killing us at 1B. He's an amazing player, but he's too slow. Here's the lineup that I want to see.

1 Justin Fradejas - CF
2 Justin Hargett - 2B
3 Creede Simpson - RF
4 Kevin Patterson/Dan Gamache - DH
5 Casey McElroy - SS
6 Zach Alvord - 3B
7 Tony Caldwell - C
8 Brooks Beisner - LF
9 Patrick Savage - 1B

I hate that I'm splitting Kevin Patterson & Dan Gamache because both of their bats are vital, but I can't fit them in to my ideal setting any other way.

John Clifton January 26, 2011 at 12:29 PM  

I could see Beisner starting in LF over Bryant, but there is no way CJP is gonna keep KP or Gamache's bat out of the day to day lineup.

  © Free Blogger Templates Spain by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP