One of the truths of baseball analysis is that lineup construction doesn’t really matter all that much. One of the other truths of baseball analysis is that it always feels like it matters and that means there’s always something to talk about. Is this guy who you think sucks playing instead of another guy? Are guys who are good being buried in the lineup behind guys who aren’t? The fodder is endless.
If the recent past is any indication, this is not an exact lineup that we will see regularly throughout the season. According to Baseball Reference, the 2022 Orioles used 142 different batting orders and never used the same lineup in more than three games. There will be tinkering with who is playing at all. There will be tinkering with the order. There will be injuries and ineffectiveness that necessitate changes to the roster that inherently affect starting lineups.
Hopefully it’s enough of a decent lineup to begin with that the Orioles don’t put themselves in too much of a hole early in the season, like they did last year. Hopefully whatever changes are eventually made are also enough to keep the team in the playoff race as the season goes along.
Here’s the Opening Day bunch:
- Cedric Mullins - CF
- Adley Rutschman - C
- Anthony Santander - LF
- Ryan Mountcastle - 1B
- Gunnar Henderson - DH
- Ramón Urías - 3B
- Austin Hays - RF
- Adam Frazier - 2B
- Jorge Mateo - SS
And of course, Kyle Gibson is the starting pitcher for this first game.
Last year’s Opening Day catcher was Robinson Chirinos and the Opening Day third baseman was Kelvin Gutiérrez. Having those guys replaced by Rutschman and Henderson is a nice boost. Not that Henderson is the third baseman today, but still.
In all, six of the players from last year’s Opening Day lineup have carried over to this one. Trey Mancini, last year’s designated hitter, is now with the Cubs. Seven of the nine guys have potential to at least be decent batters, and even Frazier was decent two years ago and Mateo has speed for the rare occasions he gets on base. Will it mean good things against Corey Kluber today? Let’s hope!