Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Of course this is a bit of a hypothetical because there's no guarantee that Guillen will be ready for the season to start, but if he is, it puts a bit of a wrench in the current expectation that the starting second baseman would slot in there. Without Scott Sizemore or Will Rhymes as the team's second hitter, I think the most likely option to hit second would be shortstop Jhonny Peralta. As a player that hits for a decent average and takes a fair amount of walks as well as being the consummate "veteran professional hitter," Peralta strikes me as most likely. The other option would likely be left fielder Ryan Raburn, but the pop that he possesses in his bat would seem to make more sense with him further down in the order. Plus, given Raburn's slow starts the past couple years, it's not unreasonable to want to leave him further down in the lineup to limit the pressure he'll feel early on to produce.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
I'll start by saying I'll be pretty surprised if Carlos Guillen is in the Opening Day lineup. But for the purposes of this hypothetical, that's neither here nor there. From an out of the box standpoint, I'd love to see someone like Ordonez or Martinez in that two-hole. Neither is a huge power source, but both can hit, consistently work good at-bats, and can get on base regularly. It's a little unconventional though, and I don't see any way that happens. Leyland has also stated that Guillen won't hit second if he's in the lineup, which eliminates another viable possibility. Adding onto that, if Guillen is in the lineup, that likely mean Sizemore and/or Rhymes are not, which eliminates another candidate. With all that, you're getting down to the likes of Ryan Raburn, Brandon Inge, Jhonny Peralta, and Alex Avila as your options, and of those, only Raburn stands out as a guy that can hit enough to merit the potential extra at-bats at the top of the order. Raburn has more pop than you'd traditionally expect for that spot in the lineup, and he's not the best situational hitter if that's what you're looking for, but I can think of worse alternatives; namely the other three I just mentioned as options. If Carlos Guillen is in the lineup on Opening Day, I think we're looking at Ryan Raburn in the two-hole.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I would probably guess Jhonny Peralta. In the 217 at-bats he got after coming over from Cleveland, Peralta struck out only 34 times while walking 21 times, so he certainly is capable of being able not only to move runners along by making contact, but he has power (eight home runs during the aforementioned stretch), so he's more than just a one-dimensional hitter at that spot.
Out of the other candidates, Brandon Inge strikes out too much, and I would guess Ryan Raburn would hit further down in the order to protect whover is batting sixth. Alex Avila would make an interesting choice due to his discerning eye at the plate, and with the heart of the order hitting behind him, pitchers would certainly challenge him, so we'll have to see what happens.
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