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Pinch Hit For the First Batter of the Game?

A team has a two polar opposite players. One is a really good hitter that can't play a lick of defense (Jack Cust clone) The other is a good defending short stop, but can't hit worth a lick (Nick Punto clone). The team plays in the AL and has a better batter for the DH and 1B positions. Here are the projected stats for the two players:

Good Hitter (Cust's projection): .242/.377/.428 wOBA=0.359

Bad Hitter:(Punto's Projection) .242/.329/.309 wOBA=0.292


Would it be smart for the team to pencil in the good hitter for one of the first three spots if the team is the away team and then bring in the good defender for the rest of the game. The batting order would basically just move down one spot and the bad defender would be the ninth person to bat, even though he becomes the first to hit. This strategy would ensure that the good hitter got at least one plate appearance instead of hoping they would get into the game later.

The strategy was used by Earl Weaver in 1975 when he led off a few games with Royle Stillman and then sat him for Mark Belanger who then played shortstop. I could also see it used in the same way if your top hitter is getting a day of rest, they could be the first batter of the game and then take his break.


I don't think it would be useful in the NL where about every starting pitcher will need to be eventually pinch hit for in every game. Also, it would not work with home games because the good hitter would have to take the field in the top of the first.


Managers and teams love to bring in pinch hitters for the bottom of the order players with the game on the line. Would it be better to start every road game off with this pinch hitter and try to get an early lead. Thoughts? Suggestions? Just want to comment to say I am nuts (about this issue)?