Breathe easy, Mr. Hooper, this isn’t a criticism of the job you’re doing.
No, I’m playing the role of Marty Scott, the Lincoln manager who will also be skippering the North Division in Tuesday’s All-Star game at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
Speaking of the All-Star game, you know what’s really kind of silly? They’re doing the home run derby and skills competition the day of the game. Before the game. I’m going to need an explanation on that one. I guess it’s how they’ve always done it, but it really doesn’t make much sense to me. I don’t even know who’s in the home run derby, but I’m going with hometown favorite Mario Delgado to win it.
I’m going to come up with what I think the best batting order would be for the North Division to win just this one game. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re not trying to win the pennant or sweep a series, we’re trying to win one game. That’s why Albenis Machado, who replaced injured Wingnuts shortstop Josh Horn on the roster, won’t be starting.
Machado will likely be the starting shortstop on Tuesday, but he isn’t playing if I’m manager. Without even looking at the numbers, I can tell you Sioux Falls shortstop Tim Hutting is more deserving of the spot, but he doesn’t play for Scott in Lincoln. Machado does. If Hutting started at shortstop, the entire infield would be Sioux Falls Canaries. That would be awesome, I think, but I bet Scott and perhaps the league wanted to avoid that. So here’s my batting order:
SS Joe Anthonsen, Sioux Falls — A usual second baseman, I’m asking Anthonsen to slide over to the left side of the infield…you know, so Machado doesn’t play. I’m giving Machado a hard time, but he actually is pretty solid defensively. But I think Anthonsen can hold his own, so he’s getting the nod instead. He’s a natural for the leadoff spot with a .415 on-base percentage and 59 runs.
DH Beau Torbert, Sioux Falls — Doesn’t walk a lot, but handles the bat well and is batting .379 after being over .400 for much of the season. Has 42 extra-base hits and, with Anthonsen, will give the middle-of-the-order hitters in the North lineup plenty of RBI opportunities. Of course, Torbert could just drive them in himself — he leads the league in ribbies.
1B Brandon Sing, Sioux Falls — Though he has about 30 games remaining, Sing has already broken his own American Association home run record with 23, besting by one his 2006 mark. He’s the most difficult out in this lineup and in his dangerous lineup in Sioux Falls, as he’s supplemented his 41 extra-base hits with 51 walks and a .484 OBP.
LF Jason Cooper, St. Paul — With the recent addition of Edgard Clemente (you may have heard of his uncle, Roberto), Cooper might no longer be the best outfielder on his own team. But he’s a worthy All-Star and belongs in the cleanup spot thanks to his .545 slugging percentage and 36 extra-base hits, including 27 doubles. And we all know I’m partial to former Indians guys.
RF Reggie Abercrombie, Sioux Falls — He usually plays center field, but I’m putting Reg in right because of his superior arm. The ex-big leaguer has done what ex-big leaguers are supposed to do at this level, which is crush. He has a .353 average, 17 homers and is chasing Torbert for the league lead in RBIs (Torbert leads 69-67).
3B Brent Krause, St. Paul — Another Lutz tweak, as I’m inserting a player who likely won’t be starting Tuesday. Krause was voted as the utility player, but with Horn out I’m making him a starter. With Anthonsen at shortstop and Krause, who mostly plays the outfield, at third, I’m surrendering defense in favor of putting together a more dangerous lineup. That’s just the kind of manager I am.
2B Trevor Lawhorn, Sioux Falls — Yep, I’m going off the board once again. Lawhorn was elected as the starting third baseman, but with my infield shift he’s going to second. We’re just trying to win ONE game, remember? He can handle it. It’s not like he’s gonna be Dan Uggla in the 2008 MLB All-Star game out there or something. With so much offensive firepower around him, Lawhorn has been somewhat overlooked. But he’s batting .325 with 13 homers and 49 RBIs.
C Eddy Rodriguez, Sioux City — Yes, he’s a catcher, and traditionally in this league backstops haven’t been threats with the bat. But Rodriguez is, batting .348 with 20 doubles. Hey, and he even has eight walks! YEAH! I’ll, of course, always remember him for the epic meltdown at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on June 30. Same day as the Eagles concert for the win!
CF Gavin Dickey, Lincoln — He’s just the last guy left, really, but there’s some strategy to putting Dickey in this slot. He’s fast, so having him on base will help when the lineup turns over, giving Torbert and the others another potential RBI. I think Dickey has a slow bat and not great pitch recognition (from what I’ve seen), but the numbers don’t lie, and he’s put up some good ones, with 12 homers and 40 RBIs.
SP Nick Singleton, Wichita — No-brainer, obviously. Hometown guy, best pitcher in the league, will be pitching Tuesday on almost normal (three days as opposed to four) rest. I’ll be shocked if Singleton isn’t named the starting pitcher for Tuesday’s game. Just got to have a Wingnuts player starting somewhere, right?