Mike Bianco announced his lineup this afternoon, and it wasn’t exactly what I expected. You can listen to me walk through the lineup I expected here, but let’s talk about what really happened.
Here's how the REBS will lineup on Opening Day! pic.twitter.com/W8aurrYbsu— Coach Mike Bianco (@CoachMikeBianco) February 18, 2022
Here are a few things that jump out at me.
- Peyton Chatagnier, who was 7th on the team in on-base percentage a season ago, leads off again. Mike Bianco is who he is.
- The unconventional strategy of having Tim Elko bat cleanup. /s
- I’m encouraged by Kemp Alderman beating out Ben Van Cleve for the DH spot. As I mentioned in the pod, Van Cleve is a fine player and all, but his ceiling is pretty limited. Based on the summer Alderman had, I thought he might compete here as balls he hits have potential to leave the park.
- Reagan Burford starting at third base pushes Justin Bench to centerfield, which pushes TJ McCants to right. Burford also pushed Hayden Leatherwood out of the lineup. To be clear, this lineup is so good that a player who started 58 games a year ago and hit .285, isn’t even in it anymore.
It’s going to be fascinating to see how these moves work out. There wasn’t much unsettled in the lineup, but a few shifts make a big difference in what they are capable of. We’ll see how things shift throughout non-conference play, as the Rebels have plenty of opportunities to get anyone and everyone at-bats.