Based on what I saw and was told by some observers today, I think the opening day lineup might look like this:

C - Casey Opitz
1B - Matt Goodheart
2B - Jacob Nesbit
3B - Jack Kenley
SS - Casey Martin
LF - Christian Franklin
CF - Dominic Fletcher
RF - Heston Kjerstad
DH - Trevor Ezell

It should be noted that Fletcher has a little bit of a leg injury that has kept him out of the field the past two weekends. He was a DH today but wasn’t allowed to run on contact and was pinch ran for when he made it on base. If he can’t play in center, expect Christian Franklin to move into that role and Dillon Lifrieri to possibly play left.

I’m not sure Ezell is still 100 percent as a fielder, which is why I think Nesbit could start in his place at second when the season begins.

This team has a lot of depth and a lot of interchangeable parts. It isn’t as talented as last year’s team in some areas, but I think there are more pieces to mix and match a roster.

how are we hitting the ball? I think we will pitch well enough but we are going to have some guys hit that aren’t known for it to go where we want to.

It’s hard to say because I haven’t been at every scrimmage. In the ones I’ve watched, the pitching seems to be ahead of the hitting.

With the exception of Casey Martin, who is hitting just about everything, the hitting has been better against the relievers. There were a lot of walks today, some because of command issues by the pitcher and some because of taking pitches. Trevor Ezell seems to do a nice job of digging in.

Hitting always seems to improve as the weather gets warmer.

Cold weather just isn’t good baseball weather. The hogs will go to hitting.
I just hope our K’s by our offense isn’t too high.
The pitching especially Friday, Saturday and Sunday needs to be spot on.

totally agree about Cold weather affecting hitting for sure…I just hope we have enough offense to compete this yr and I think we may have “if” our big 3 have as good or better yrs than last (especially fletcher) but they are going to have to be patient B/c teams are going to try to pitch around them until we make them pay for it(hope we will)I expect Ezell to be avery good hitter but not as good as he was in the other league,I think Goodheart is going to be good and provide some power.I think Opitz will be better than people think I see him hitting for Ave as good as Koch just not as much power. I don’t know what to think about Franklin who can fly just not sure what kind of hitter he is…Kinley will do OK,great fielder and battles at the plate and may surprise us.
I think this team will bunt a good bit more to move runners up,I know DVH says we are going to run more but that is tough to do in this league with all the great arms behind the plate so I see us sacrificing more.

we are deep on the mound so I think we can very good but may have win games different than last yr which is fine as long as we win…can’t wait to see us play and get a real idea of what we have.

Hitters can take all the batting practice against machines you want, but live pitching is a big change. That takes time to get the timing back for hitters when they see good breaking pitches at this level.

Matt, do you think Opitz and Plunkett platoon based on the opposing pitcher (RHP or LHP) or will Opitz be the main guy?

I think the competition is still up in the air, so I assume both will play quite a bit, especially early in the year. Both have thrown really well and been hard to run on in the preseason. I give Opitz a little bit of a leg up because I think he has a little more upside and probably can hit for a better average, but I don’t know what the coaches are thinking in terms of dividing playing time.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Opitz play at first base some if he isn’t behind the plate.

So I’m guessing the light still hasn’t turned on with McFarland? I know DVH had told him in the fall to pick it up and start putting it together or they’ll move on without him in the lineup.

He has struggled this preseason.

That’s a bummer. He has all the tools to be a good hitter for power and average.

Thanks for the update. Sounds like a lot of moving parts. I’ve had the chance to catch several scrimmages last fall and a few this spring, and agree they could be really good this year, it may just take some time to figure out the winning combination.

As for Dom, I expect he will play, just taking precaution in practice, may see some substitutions if/when the game is in-hand. I agree, it appears that Franklin is the likely replacement next year for Dom - and stands to reason that he’ll see some time there this spring, but as for LF Lifrieri was not throwing the past couple weeks, think there may be an injury or just being nice giving extra bases to teammates without a throw, so I suspect Goodheart may be called on to fill that role if needed.

Ezell has looked good at the plate, and has been making plays at 2nd, I suspect he will start, but like Dom, may work in Nesbit as the game/situation allows.

As for McFarland, I don’t expect Goodheart to start in front of him - they both have been slow to get going offensively this spring. I think McFarland may get the start, but with a short leash - may see Goodheart there depending on the OF situation. Although I’m not aware of Opitz getting reps at 1B this spring, he did in the fall, and did a nice job. Van Horn said Plunkett has the best catch-n-throw in the country, and power at the plate, from what was reported he hit for a good avg in the fall and this spring, so we may be able to use Optiz in a dual role if McFarland and Goodheart continue to struggle.

Pitching overall may be better this year, I think this team has a lot of potential but may not have the depth as some positions. Up-the-middle - CF, SS, 2B, C we have some depth, the corners 1B and OF may not have as many options beyond the starters. Offense is the big question for me, Martin has without a doubt been on a tear, and there is no reason to think that won’t continue, but I think the lineup may hinge on productive ABs.

If Kjerstad is hitting in the #8 spot I would think our hitting is set to be pretty good and deep. After last year I don’t see how you would keep him from hitting until possibly the 3rd inning. I would think he is one of the guys on the team you definitively want more at bats than less.

DVH said today that Ezell was not yet ready to play too much in the field. He has been working hard, but is not there yet. It sounds to me as though he will DH early.

Can’t tell if you’re joking or not. Poster had them listed in order by position. Heston wouldn’t be batting 8th for anyone, anywhere.

Not joking because I am right there with you on where he should not hit…but seemed to have mis-read the “Lineup” part.