I had a quick post a few weeks back about Mike Aviles hitting leadoff during Spring Training. I had hoped Bobby V. was just trying to get Aviles some quick at-bats in that game, but I guess I was wrong. With Ellsbury out for a while Bobby V. has turned to Aviles to be the Red Sox leadoff hitter.
Aviles’ career .318 OBP is well below league average and far from the .366 the Red Sox got from their leadoff spot in 2011. Ryan Sweeney (.342 OBP) is a better option until Carl Crawford is ready to return. When Crawford’s back he should slide into the 2nd spot and Pedroia can hit leadoff until Ellsbury is ready.
Bobby V. putting Aviles at the top the order is another example of baseball’s misguided obsession with “speedy” players hitting leadoff. The leadoff man will get the most plate appearance on the team and putting fast players there that can’t get on base is giving away outs. Outs are the most valuable commodity in baseball and should not be wasted by giving the most plate appearances each game to players like Mike Aviles.