Ned Yost treats his batting lineups similar to how every team in the majors runs their starting rotation - you can bet you'll see something different every single game.
It is obvious that Yost's offensive strategy is highly based on which arm the opposing pitcher throws at the Royals. For the most part we have seen the consistent everyday starters such as Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer in the lineup. On the other hand, seemingly every time the Royals face a right-handed pitcher, Mike Moustakas is in the lineup and then you would see Danny Valencia inserted on days they face lefthanders.
I for one can say I was typically never a fan of the platooning idea. I believe in the idea of putting your best hitters in the lineup regardless of facing a righty or lefty. That was before I took a look at the splits of the Kansas City hitters. What I found was very surprising and led me to believe in Yost's platooning strategy.
Although the numbers support Yost's platooning strategy, I still believe he needs to be more confident in his lineups. I just want to see two consistent lineups that rarely change. One lineup to match-up against a righthander and one lineup to face off with a southpaw. Here is how my lineups would look based on the match-up situation:
1. Jarrod Dyson/CF- A good lead-off hitter is someone who can consistently get on base and give your team the opportunity to score. With a team best .363 on base percentage against right handed pitching, Dyson is a great choice to set the table for the rest of the lineup. Being the fastest player on the team also creates great scoring opportunities through stolen bases.
2. Lorenzo Cain/RF- Lo-Cain has been the Royals most consistent hitter throughout the season. He hasn't seemed to hit any major cold streaks over the course of this season. Cain is hitting over .300 from both sides of the plate, which is something no other hitter on the team can say. I believe the best hitter on the team typically should hit second in the lineup. He certainly deserves to receive a lot of at bats in the two spot.
3. Alex Gordon/LF- Gordo is consistent against righties with a .356 OBP. I believe he is a perfect three hole hitter in games against right handed pitching.
4. Salvador Perez/C- Perez has a team leading 10 home runs, eight of which coming against right handed pitching. Perez is also hitting .311 in the same split. With his combination of contact and power against righties, Perez should certainly be in the cleanup role.
5. Billy Butler/DH- I've noticed Butler has been consistently hitting either third or fourth in the lineup of the course of this season. With his power numbers down, I think a role in the fifth slot would be a good spot for Country Breakfast.
6. Eric Hosmer/1B- As a die hard Royals fan, I have been very high on Hosmer since the day the Royals drafted him. Over the past two seasons I have always felt his offensive ceiling is higher than any player on the team. I was hoping for All-Star numbers, but the reality is he hasn't produced like I thought he would. I still believe Hosmer will one day become the .300, 25 home run hitter I thought he would be, but for now his production calls for him to be moved down to the six hole.
7. Omar Infante/2B- Infante is currently only hitting .252 on the year. Therefore I think hitting down in the lineup would be a good spot for him. With that being said, he has arguably been the most clutch hitter on the team this year. In fact, he has the team's only walk-off winner and grand slam on the season. I believe he is a dangerous hitter regardless of the low offensive numbers. In a way I actually think it's a compliment to Infante to bat him seventh because he can provide solid protection to some of the weaker hitters in the bottom of the lineup.
8. Mike Moustakas/3B- Moose obviously hasn't been hitting the the way all Royals fans have hoped for. In fact, not even close to what they have hoped for. With that being said, Danny Valencia hasn't hit right-handed pitching very well this year with a .206 split. Moustakas has shown some life with six home runs against righties and his defense is also superior to Valencia. I think Moose is the right guy against the right side.
9. Alcides Escobar/SS- Esky is basically another lead-off hitter in the nine spot. His .295 batting average is second best on the team. Escobar also has a team leading 20 stolen bases. His combination of contact and speed can get Esky in scoring position for hitters at the top of the lineup to drive him in.
1. Norichika Aoki/RF- Nori Aoki is hitting at a team best .358 against lefties, which is considerably better than Dyson who is only hitting .238 against southpaws.
2. Lorenzo Cain/CF
3. Danny Valencia/3B- Call me crazy, but Valencia has earned a high spot in the order against left handed pitching. Against southpaws Valencia is hitting at a spectacular mark of .347, while Moustakas is hitting .152. When a lefty is in the game, the choice for third baseman is easy.
4. Billy Butler/DH- No one in this lineup is hitting with a great deal of power against left handers. Therefore Butler sort of wins the cleanup role by default.
5. Alex Gordon/RF- Gordo is hitting a rough .236 against lefties this season. He needs to move down in the lineup when facing southpaws.
6. Eric Hosmer/1B
7. Salvador Perez/C- Perez is hitting .311 this season against righties, but against southpaws, it's a completely different story. He is batting a miserable .188 with only two homeruns and two RBI in 64 at bats. Therefore he needs to be down in the lineup when a southpaw is on the mound.
8. Omar Infante/2B
9. Alcides Escobar/SS
Obviously, a number of different scenarios could change over the course of the season. Players could go on hot streaks, cold streaks, get hurt, or get moved to another team, but with the way the current roster sits, I believe these lineups give the Royals the best shot at winning ball games. I think Raul Ibanez should also get inserted in the right field or designated hitter role on occasion, depending on how much he produces with the opportunities he is given.