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Forget Opening Day Lineups, Give Me the CLOSING Day Lineup

Cedric Mullins at bat
Craig Landefeld/GulfBird Sports
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With Opening Day a week away, there’s no shortage of lineup predictions hitting the internet. No seriously, even Chris Davis couldn’t swing a bat without barreling a mock lineup around here. Lineup predictions can be fun for sure. But honestly, they’re not really all that interesting.

Ceddy or Hays leading off in center?

Don’t really care…I’m here for it.

Will 2021 ROY Ryan Mountcastle open in left field or at first base?

Doesn’t matter…I wanna see it.

Right field? Third base? DH? 3/4/5 guys?

Any combo is probably gonna get me going honestly.

Look it’s not that I’m uninterested in Brandon Hyde’s strategies (or in how accurate all you lineup gurus are), it’s just that I understand he has infinitely more context to make those decisions than I do, and I’m much more interested in seeing the adjustments made throughout the season than on day one.

What is interesting to me though, is how the lineup might look on the LAST game of the season. As Comeback Player of the Year Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander are both off preparing for playoff runs (hypothetically, calm down) the Orioles’ lineup on October 3rd may not overwhelm you on paper, but it could potentially tell you an ounce more about the direction of the team, and could look something like this:

(yeah, yeah…Adley, not Aldey, you know what I meant)

The late season presence of players such as Rutschman, Diaz and even Jahmai Jones could really help fans more easily triangulate the pins on the re-build road map. By the end of the year we could really have more context on how overall player development is coming along within the new regime. We could know if Ryan Mountcastle’s future with the club is in the outfield or infield. We could know who our long-term centerfielder is. We could possibly even know how many beers can be shotgunned before the end of “Thank God I’m A Country Boy.”

Ok so that last one’s a personal thing, but you get it.

So yeah I’m juiced up about Opening Day for sure. Honestly haven’t seen too many proposed lineups that wouldn’t be fun to watch. But for me this season is going to act more like the first book in a long series, and I’m expecting tons of foreshadowing throughout the final chapter.  

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