Recently, I polled the writers of RtB about who they thought should lead off against right-handed pitchers for the Brewers. Carlos Gomez has spent the most time in that position this season, though Scooter Gennett has also performed well in that spot, allowing Gomez to hit elsewhere. Below are the writer’s opinions on the matter.
I don’t buy into the idea that a player needs to play in the same spot in the lineup every day to feel “comfortable.”
Due to that, I would have no problem batting Gennett in the lead-off spot against right-handed pitching, and then moving Gomez back into that spot against left-handed pitchers (because Weeks can’t hit lead off).
Gomez was better in April and May, but for June and July, Gennett has been better at getting on base. Gomez is flailing wildly at every pitch in the same zip-code as home plate.
Ultimately though, this late in the season, the order of the two players is symbolic. Their on-base numbers are similar enough that with Braun, Ramirez and Lucroy trailing them (in whatever order RRR wants to use) it probably wouldn’t matter.
I see the benefits of both, Gomez has more speed and more power (if you like lead-off dingers like I do), but I’d go with 1. Gennett, 2. Gomez. Ultimately the power of Gomez behind he lighter hitting Gennett potentially creates more base runners for three, four, five guys.
I’d have Gomez lead off and have Scooter bat 2nd. Scooter has a very respectable on base % and with Gomez’s speed it’s a great 1 2 punch.
Quite frankly, I don’t have an issue with either player in the leadoff spot, so I feel like I’d be nitpicking a bit here. But if I was under the gun, I’d pick Gennett to bat leadoff.
While Gomez may offer a more intimidating presence when it comes to power and on-base percentage overall, Gennett has a .362 average when batting first in the order compared to Gomez’s .303 average.
Gomez also has more success when runners are on base and in scoring position, so it would appear to benefit the Brewers if the two would flip-flop their current order.
I’d definitely put Carlos Gomez in the lead off spot. Although he still strikes out too often his speed on the bases will frighten any starting pitcher having to work out of the stretch.
I think we could see a lot of Gomez moving 1st to 3rd on a Gennett single, while Gomez tends to cause defensive mistakes and would be more likely break up double plays.
The reason I thought to poll the writers (and readers) is the most recent lineups have all included Gomez hitting first, followed by Scooter, and I thought I would prefer it the other way around. Hitting second leads to many more at-bats with runners on base, and I think Gomez would be preferable in those situations.
Both players have excelled in the lead-off spot, with Gomez posting a .378 OBP to Gennett’s .389, but I believe that leading off with Gomez is wasting some of his talents as a run producer.
There is no doubt that Gomez has the type of speed that managers would love to see in the lead-off spot, and Gennett has the lower strikeout rate, while both post similarly high OBP from that spot. While it seems that the writers could go either way, who would you prefer to see lead off?