Guest Column

Monday, May 4, 2009

Note: The Marlins open a two-game series with the Reds today, and to make Reds manager Dusty Baker feel comfortable, we are letting Corey Patterson lead off the week with a guest post today.

The Evolution of the Leadoff Hitter
Corey Patterson

In the early days of baseball it was not uncommon for teams to employ their fastest player in the leadoff position. The reasoning behind this tactic was simple; by batting the fastest player leadoff, a team was able to put the person most likely to score on base ahead of its best hitters. Such a philosophy was necessarily complicated by the recent advent of Sabermetric analysis. Instead of merely getting on base and stealing bases, leadoff hitters are now asked to take lots of pitches in order to give their teammates a long look at the opposing pitcher and increase the pitcher's pitch count.

Of equal significance to this new emphasis on pitch counts is a concommittant de-emphasis on stolen bases. Sabermetric proponents, including Bill James, have argued that the risk of being caught stealing is not wort

Note: Corey Patterson just strained a pectoral muscle. He will not be able to complete this column. We have replaced him with a video of a Peanuts cartoon in Portuguese.

Images via Walkoff Walk and Wayward Oriole


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