Other than Joey Votto, the Reds have one player that consistently gets on base...and he always hits 8th. I guess there is some value to "turning over" the lineup, but I can't help but feel that Ryan Hanigan and his career OBP of .373 could be better utilized.
This guy gets on base
Ryan Hanigan's OBP this year is .392. Ignoring Votto, the next best OBP among Reds' regulars is Brandon Phillips at .316. Despite Hanigan's gaudy OBP, hitting 8th has netted him a grand total of 9 runs and 5 RBI this year. This is partially due to his lack of extra base hits, but his .402 SLG is better than every Reds starter other than Votto, Jay Bruce, and Zack Cozart. I hate to step on the toes of Dusty Baker and the "baseball purists", but would it be blasphemy to try a slow-footed catcher in the 1 or 2 hole?
In Hanigan's entire career, he has logged a grand total of 17 ABs batting higher than 6th in the lineup. Now, in all likelihood, Hanigan's walk rate would drop if he no longer had the pitcher's weak bat hitting behind him. However, hitting ahead of the Reds' big bats would undoubtedly give him better pitches to hit and in turn increase his already stellar AVG and SLG.
It is common knowledge how much better Votto hits when there are runners on base. This year his OPS is .847 with the bases empty and an incredible 1.197 when there is at least one runner on base. Doesn't it make sense to put runners on base in front of him as much as possible regardless of how slow they are?
These guys do not
Drew Stubbs and Cozart have both hit well out of the 2 hole, but have combined for a putrid .215 OBP out of the leadoff position. I would love to see Dusty give Hanigan a chance to leadoff. I would prefer Cozart hitting 2nd, and then move Stubbs down in the lineup a little more so that he can utilize his speed. He seems afraid of running his way into an out with Votto at the plate anyway. Cozart only has one SB, so it's not like Hanigan would be putting the brakes on him.
Will any of this ever happen as long as Dusty is the manager? Nope. Especially now that the Reds have been winning, even though it hasn't really been due to our offense. Maybe someday the Reds will get a progressive manager like Joe Madden who isn't afraid to try something new. Until then, the Reds will keep hoping that the guy that they have playing center field or shortstop suddenly starts getting on base out of the leadoff spot. Don't hold your breath.