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Ozzie Guillen Finds Worse Leadoff Option Than Wise

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Minnesota Twins
@ Chicago White Sox

Saturday, Apr 11, 2009, 3:10 PM CDT
U.S. Cellular Field

Francisco Liriano vs Bartolo Colon

Clear. Game time temperature around 50.

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In an effort to make his decision of Dewayne Wise as his opening day and presumably everyday leadoff hitter look better, Ozzie Guillen has turned to Brent Lillibridge, who makes Wise look like Rickey Henderson by comparison. Lillibridge is a rookie who saw some time at the majors with Atlanta last season, posting a .200/.238/.338 batting line and a 23/3 K/BB mark. Lest you think that was simply a slow start to a bright major league career, I'm duty-bound to inform you Lillibridge hit .220/.294/.344 in AAA with a 90/33 K/BB ratio.

And since guys like Rob Neyer assume that Ozzie was making his leadoff decisions based on silly things like spring training stats, Lillibridge challenged for the Cactus League strikeout crown but fell a few short at 24 in 79 at-bats, (.253/.263/.316) But he blew away the competition for worst spring training K/BB ratio at 24/1. That's takes skill, my friends. You can't just luck into such consistent suckitude. You've gotta work at it.

Worse, Lillibridge is replacing Chris Getz, who has never demonstrated any discernible platoon splits, on the first day the White Sox face a lefty. So when Lillibridge inevitably hits a bleeder, steals a base and manufactures a run in between a few strikeouts we're going to have to deal with a second base platoon for a while and listen to questions from beat writers asking whether Ozzie has found his new leadoff man.

There's absolutely zero upside to experimenting with Lillibridge as a top-of-the-order hitter. Either he sucks, as would be expected of a player who has sucked above AA, or has a good game, an outlier that gives him increased playing time in which to regress to his predictably poor plate presence. It's a no win situation.

* * * * *

And now I've seen Ozzie's full lineup. He's sitting every one of the Sox lefties today. So enter Corky Miller and Wilson Betemit as well. Betemit is at least a switch hitter, but he's pretty terrible from the right side (.232/.276/360). We're definitely channeling the '07 club right now. Liriano can just settle into an arm slot/release point and keep snapping off sliders down and in.


Minnesota Twins @ Chicago White Sox

04/11/09 3:10 PM CDT

Minnesota Twins Chicago White Sox
Denard Span - LF Brent Lillibridge - 2B
Alexi Casilla - 2B Josh Fields - 3B
Justin Morneau - 1B Carlos Quentin - LF
Jason Kubel - DH Jermaine Dye - RF
Michael Cuddyer - RF Paul Konerko - DH
Joe Crede - 3B Wilson Betemit - 1B
Carlos Gomez - CF Alexei Ramirez - SS
Mike Redmond - C Brian Anderson - CF
Nick Punto - SS Corky Miller - C