Who should be the Marlin's lead-off hitter?

Being a good lead-off hitter means knowing how to get to first base.

Last week 161 readers voted and most of them (54%) said they usually watch Rich and Tommy to follow the Marlins. That was followed by MLB.tv at 16% and attending games at 4%. So when the Miami Marlins come up to bat for the first time ever, and with all eyes on them, who should be that number one hitter?

Lead-off hitters typically possess certain traits that make them an asset. Some of those traits include:

  • High OBP (On-base percentage)
  • Good speed
  • Good base-running skills

Lead-off hitters must be able to draw walks by being patient at the plate and generate hits as well. Getting on base is vital for the number one hitter. Once he reaches, if he has the skill-set to steal bases, he creates more scoring opportunities for his club.

Candidates


Emilio Bonifacio: If the roster stays the way it is now, Emilio Bonifacio will likely be the starting center fielder. Last year Bonifacio led the team with a .360 OBP (albeit Badenhop's 7 at-bats). He is the fastest man on the team and led them with 40 stolen bases last year. The entire rest of the team combined for 55. He also led the team with a .296 batting average. It is important to note that he was second on the team in strikeouts with 129, and that is one quality you don't want in a lead-off hitter.

Hanley Ramirez: Hanley has played stints as the lead-off hitter and he has expressed his displeasure of it. He has stated before that he wants to bat third. Can he be an effective lead-off hitter though? Absolutely. He has the speed, and was second on the team last year in stolen bases with 20. Hanley's batting average and OBP were down last year, but everyone is expecting a big rebound.

Jose Reyes: Many critics have questioned Reyes' durability. However, Reyes led his team last year in games played at 126. He also led his team in stolen bases at 39, AVG at .337, and was second on his club in OBP at .384 with only 41 strikeouts. Personally, my vote goes to Reyes because of his consistency and Bonifacio's speed. I believe placing the speedster behind Reyes would create more runs because Boni has shown the ability to score on a hit from first base. Also while Reyes doesn't hit many home runs, it's nice to have a guy who can do that every once in awhile. Not only can it give your team a spark to start the game, but it can also prevent a pitcher from having to run the bases should make it on. Based off career numbers, Reyes is 455 times more likely to hit a home run than Bonifacio.

2011 Stats and Individual Team Rankings (min 50 ABs)
Player OBP AVG SB BB % KO % HR
Emilio Bonifacio .360 (1st) .296 (1st) 40 (1st) 10.44% 22.83% 5 (T-10th)
Hanley Ramirez .333 (5th) .243 (8th) 20 (2nd) 13.02% 19.53% 10 (5th)
Jose Reyes .384 (2nd) .337 (1st) 39 (1st) 8.01% 7.64% 7 (T-5th)
Career Stats
Player OBP AVG SB/g BB % KO % HR %
Emilio Bonifacio .328 .269 .194 9.16% 22.53% .004%
Hanley Ramirez .380 .306 .254 11.11% 18.28% 4.04%
Jose Reyes .341 .292 .352 7.48% 11.43% 1.82%
Key
Best Stat of Candidates Second Best Worst Stat
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