Parents, teachers, and coaches will all claim the same thing: I don’t have any favorites.
They’re all lying.
Major League managers play favorites, despite the fact that they will (most likely) never admit as much.
When it comes to Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss, we can make reasonable guesses as to his favorite players on the roster and how it will impact the Rockies projected lineup for Opening Day and beyond.
The obvious favorite – DJ LeMahieu
DJ is Walt’s guy.
Frankly, it might be because DJ reminds Walt of a much taller, lankier version of himself. Good defense, solid fundamentals, plays the game right, and doesn’t offer much upside offensively.
Whatever the reason, Weiss is pretty open about his love for LeMahieu’s game. The supposed “competition” between DJ and Josh Rutledge for the second base job was over before it started.
That said, having LeMahieu as the everyday second baseman is not the worst thing, namely because of his plus defense and the overall quality of the infield with him out there.
The because Tulo said so favorite – Drew Stubbs
Major League Baseball is not the NBA; far less of a premium is placed on keeping star players happy. That said, Stubbs got a nice little nudge in the center field competition way back before Spring Training started when Troy Tulowitzki said, in no uncertain terms, that he thought Stubbs needed to be the guy.
The upside Stubbs offers is undeniable, but it might be unrealistic to think that he will actually hit right-handed pitching enough to get anywhere near his high ceiling. The Rockies are probably better off using him in a platoon, but here’s betting that he keeps climbing up the list of Weiss’s favorites and gets a shot to play everyday.
The veteran leadership favorite – Justin Morneau
And it certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s buds with Michael Cuddyer, who is everybody’s favorite.
I realize that Morneau and Stubbs were already penciled into most lineup projections as two halves of two platoons. What I am saying here is that I think Weiss is going to try them as everyday players, probably for longer than he should while citing the need for “lineup stability” and having “guys know their role each and every day.”
I also believe that Morneau will bat 5th, though perhaps there is a reasonable argument to be made for that because he breaks up the right-handed bats in the order.
I believe that Morneau will have a longer leash to always be in the starting lineup because of his leadership, his experience, the stability he brings to first base, etc.
To recap, here is the lineup if we play favorites with Walt Weiss…in this case, we mean that this will be the lineup against right-handed and left-handed pitchers:
To be fair, that is a pretty nice lineup. The problem is, the Rockies might be getting in their own way if they do not deploy useful players like Corey Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon, and even Rutledge when situations call for it.
What do you think? How does the lineup look to you when we play favorites with Walt Weiss? Is this how things will go or will Weiss utilize more platoons and lineup combinations than I am thinking?