After so much talk surrounding Juan Pierre as a leadoff hitter, Charlie Manuel opted to go with Shane Victorino at the top spot in the order for the Phillies' Opening Day tilt against the Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
The move makes sense for a variety of reasons, some of which we details in our earlier post projecting some of the possible line-ups that Manuel is likely to use this season. While Pierre has led off for his entire career and has a solid career OBP and well-known speed, he has no power, which could come into play with Carlos Ruiz and his solid OBP hitting seventh. Victorino was a better base-stealer than Pierre last season, and also has very good power, particularly against left-handed starters, which the Phillies will face today in Erik Bedard. You should still expect to see Pierre at the top of the order on numerous occasions, but when all is said and done, Victorino was the Phillies best all-around offensive player last season, which means the Phillies need to get him as many plate appearances as possible, which means he should be batting in the top three spots in the order as often as possible.
The only minor surprise is that Ty Wigginton is in the line-up at first base.
As we've said throughout the spring, John Mayberry Jr. is the biggest wild card in the line-up. If he does what he did last season while playing every day, the order doesn't look so bad. If he does what he did in spring training, then it has the potential to fall off a cliff.