Blue Jays: Who will bat leadoff in 2019?
The Toronto Blue Jays are attempting to plug and patch holes in various parts of their lineup as this rebuild comes full circle, however, who will bat leadoff for the new skipper in 2019?
Last season manager John Gibbons used a plethora of players atop the order with Curtis Granderson garnering the most time in the leadoff spot. With Grandy long gone, it appears the leadoff debate is really a two horse race between Lourdes Gurrile Jr. and Billy McKinney.
Devon Travis was once thought to be a suitable candidate for the job however his disastrous 2018 campaign would seem to take him out of the running heading into 2019.
The likes of Randal Grichuk, Kendrys Morales, Justin Smoak, Kevin Pillar, and Russell Martin do not fit the offensive mold to hit leadoff, so that leaves two.
Mckinney actually hit leadoff 25 times last season and is tabbed to bat leadoff by Roster Resource in their mock Blue Jays lineup for 2019. I actually really like McKinney and think he is poised for a breakout campaign and could see him sticking atop the order.
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Last season, McKinney hit .252/.318/.462 with six homers and a 0.33 walk to strikeout ratio in 38 games with the big club. Steamer Projections has McKinney hitting .242/.310/.462 with 15 round trippers in 97 games in 2019.
McKinney is also still battling Teoscar Hernandez for playing time and the duo jockeys for the starting left field job.
Gurriel may be better suited for the number two hole if he puts up numbers like he did last season. The infielder set a rookie record with 11 consecutive multi-hit games, the streak may have even gone longer had the 24-year old not gotten injured.
In 2018, Gurriel hit leadoff eight times for Gibby and appears to be a lock for the starting shortstop job out of spring training. The Jays shipped off Aledmys Diaz and voted Troy Tulowitzki off the island to ensure Gurriel was the guy going forward.
In 2018, Gurriel hit .281/.309/.446 with 11 homers and a 0.15 walk to strikeout ratio in 65 games with the Jays. Steamer Projections forecasts Gurriel to hit .266/.301/.428 with 20 home runs in 143 games this season.
It will be interesting to see who the new skipper leans toward when crafting his lineup for the 2019 campaign.
Who do you see hitting leadoff in 2019?