David DeJesus has the tools to justify his move to the three-hole.
He’s arguably the Cubs most professional hitter. He works the count, has extra base power and understands the importance of being a situational hitter.
But that doesn’t mean DeJesus (or De-hay-zeus as Dick Stockton would say) benefits the club more from the third spot than his usual leadoff position.
If we’re judging strictly by wins and losses, the Cubs are no better off with DeJesus (3-5) batting third than Joe Mather (3-4).
The numbers for each slugger batting third suggest the same, although, DeJesus does have 6 RBI vs. a big fat zero for Mather.
The biggest sacrifice in moving DeJesus down in the order has been his 70-point drop in on base percentage, which I’d argue is the result of DeJesus focusing more on extra base power than actually reaching base.
Mather’s on base percentage batting third is even worse than DeJesus’, to the the tune of 66-points lower.
WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
You can’t blame Sveum for juggling the lineup. He’s desperate for a spark, any spark, from the three-hole that could help produce more offense.
DeJesus, however, appears a better option at the top of the order where he hit .287/.378/.386 with 21 walks and 14 extra base hits.
And no, Tony Campana (leadoff .244/.244/.244) is not the answer, either.
Moving Starlin Castro back to the three-hole makes the most sense. What Castro lacks in power he makes up for in hits (56), RBI (25) and runs scored (18)—all accounted for while batting third.
Granted Castro’s production from the two-hole outdoes his numbers batting third, but what better option does Sveum have?
DeJesus and Castro have been Sveum’s most reliable hitters all season long, even when flipped to different spots in the order.
I’d say it’s time Sveum put both guys back where they belong permanently—first & third in the order.