Tuesday, September 12, 2006

And Now it Gets Scary

Hideki Matsui had a modest night - reaching base 5 times in 5 attempts - in his return. He appears to have not missed a step, and John Flaherty even suggests that he could come back stronger, due to the time spent working out his right arm and wrist.

This lineup looked nasty before Matsui came back. It looked like the best lineup since the 1999 Indians. Now? It's got to inspire some serious fear.

But where should Matsui bat? The question is really: "What Matsui will we be seeing?". Matsui has had some above average years and one excellent year. In 2004, Matsui was one of the best corner outfielders in the game, batting .298/.390/.522.

Matsui stayed focused that year. When Matsui is on, he hits big fly balls. Long doubles and home runs. He walks a lot. He does not hit the ball on the ground much. In 2004, Matsui's G/F ratio was .95. In 2003 and 2005, it was 1.86 and 1.20.

Matsui is up there with Arod, Abreu, Jeter, and Giambi if he is on. If he's hitting fly balls, may God help the American League. If he's not on, Matsui is probably not a better hitter than Posada or Cano. It will be up to Joe Torre to determine where to bat Matsui. If he is hitting a lot of groundballs, it could be very dangerous to put him directly behind Jason Giambi. Matsui grounded in to 25 double plays in 2003.

Gary Sheffield took batting practice today. Word is he could be game ready in less than a week. Now that will be fun to watch.