The Toronto Blue Jays are debuting a new-look lineup in Minnesota on Thursday, with Jose Bautista‘s name appearing at the very top of the order.
Pushing Bautista into the leadoff spot is jolting to the eye, but there’s certainly logic behind it. While ideally he’d be comfortable in the two hole with the offence performing around him, Bautista’s excellent on-base tool should fill the bags ahead Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion.
Through the first 42 games, Bautista has countered his low .222 batting average with an OBP of .374.
This idea has been floated throughout the offseason, but never given much weight in conversations. Much like the forever-resurfacing discussion of moving Bautista to first base, few assumed he would be open change. As assumptions often go, though…
Another very important factor is the position of Jimmy Paredes, who is starting at second base.
The recent waiver claim saw just 51.2 innings at second in 2015 with the Baltimore Orioles, and has 105.2 innings there for his career. With the pending return of Devon Travis, Paredes’ ability to look competent at second could push Ryan Goins further down the depth chart, given the similar defensive capabilities of Darwin Barney.