I’ve heard some people on twitter mention that they’d like to see Jon Jay bat lead-off and Matt Carpenter moved down to 2nd, and I thought I’d examine this.
1) Jon Jay: Jay’s been hot lately, with his average reaching .315 with a .384 OBP. Before this year, his career OBP was in the low .350’s, but has been boosted to .361. He hasn’t stolen many bases, just six on the year (Carpenter has stolen five). That OBP is fueled mostly by his high batting average, as he drawn only 26 walks in 352 AB’s, good for about 40 to 50 for a full season. I’m worried that if his average fades, he doesn’t have the plate discipline to maintain that OBP.
2) Matt Carpenter: Carpenter: Carpenter’s BA sites at .276, which would be his lowest over a full season. His OBP, however sits at .376, a good one hundred points higher than his BA. What’s more, his lowest OBP over a full season is .365 (Jay’s is .344) So the man gets on base at a better clip. Plus his plate discipline is getting better. The hundred point differential between his average and his OBP is the highest of his career. That means he’s less tied to his batting average than Jay is, making him more consistent at getting on base, a key attribute for a lead-off hitter.
Conclusion: Given that there’s little difference in speed (Jay has one more stolen base and one more triple, Carpenter has twice as many doubles in admittedly quite a few more AB’s) I favor the guy who gets on base more consistently and is less tied to his batting average. However, this season there isn’t a wrong choice here, and I admittedly tend to favor guys with better plate discipline. I’ll take a guy who hits .250 but gets on base at a .350 clip as opposed to the .300 hitter who gets on base at that same .350 clip because the guy with better plate discipline is more likely to repeat that OBP the following year.
I’m sure this’ll spark a debate or three. As always feel free to comment or curse me out on twitter. 😉
As always, thanks for reading.