There hasn't been a new fan post in days now, and what we've got haven't received a lot of responses.
A couple curveballs came to mind that I thought might stir it up, so let's see what yall think...
1) The discussion of Mclouth at the top of the order is missing a key point: If he is on base, the heart of our lineup will see a lot more fastballs. So though his OBP may only be something like 350 compared to 400 for Heyward, this discrepancy may be made up for by the other players that benefit. I know we want to think Heyward is fast, but he isn't considered a base stealing threat like Mclouth is--I doubt he would have the same impact on the pitches the guys following him see. On the other hand, with Heyward batting behind McCann, batting behind Uggla, batting behind Chipper, the heart of the order might see more pitches to hit for this reason as well.
Last year our team took a lot of walks, the most in the league. And that was good because it took advantage of the way pitchers threw to us. This year however, with one strong hitter behind the next, we might see substantially more pitches to hit as a team. For this reason (among others) I hope to see HR and RBI spikes across the board.
So to recap point 1 - Mclouth batting at the top and Heyward batting 6th is going to result in our 3,4,5 hitters seeing a lot more pitches to hit than if Mclouth was batting 6th and Heyward batting second.
Lingering question - Mclouth will undoubtedly see more fastballs batting in front of chipper than he would batting in front of Agonz. If he is a substantially better fastball hitter than a breaking ball hitter, it might be brilliant to bat him there to get the most out of a guy we're concerned about.
2) another reason I expect RBI and HR spikes: With out the soft outs in the middle of the lineup, all our guys are going to see more pitches to hit. Gonzalez is trying to construct a lineup bottom to top that doesn't give pitchers a break. Heyward might have a 420 OBP hitting ahead of Agonz though.
This isn't about the predictions, but if Mclouth starts looking like a 20 HR guy, if Heyward starts looking like a 30 HR guy, if McCann starts looking like a 30 HR guy, and we have Uggla hitting 30 homers, the numbers are only going to go up. It will be exponential, the better they do, the better they will do--both because of their presences in the lineup and the way they will influence each other.
3) (I am excited for the responses on this one) McCann swipes 9 bags this year. He is a sneaky devil on the base paths (5 SBs last year). I expect a higher average and OBP this year, and he has really slimmed down. With less weight on his knees he will be quicker and fresher all year. Not only will he prob be a little faster (or a little less slow), but he might not feel worn down as often standing on first base. 4 extra stolen bases won't be a huge deal to the offense, but it will be fun to watch. Who knows though, maybe a mccann steal is the difference in one game this year and one game is the difference in the season.