Much is being made out of Jayson Werth's absence from the lineup/outfield next season and the debate rages on as to who should fill the void (Brown or Francisco). Taking a look at each players' stats leads me to believe that a new lineup configuration is in order (pun intended) depending on the pitching hand of the starter.
Below you will see a proposed lineup against righties and lefties. Each is unconventional in that Howard isn't batting 4th in either of them. Against RHP Howard absolutely crushes the ball, so getting him as many at bats early in the game against them is important, hence his bump to the 3-hole, which moves Utley to 2, and Polanco down in the order. Brown is batting 7th because of being a rookie. He could easily be flipped with Rollins later in the season after he builds experience and confidence. However, this does put 3 lefties in a row (Utley, Howard, Ibanez), making them highly susceptible to a LOOGY late in the game. Against LHP Howard is horrible, so he is pushed down in the order to 5, with Fracisco sitting in the cleanup spot. This also is favorable for late game matchups by splitting up Utley, Howard, and Ibanez. Obviously Manuel won't employ either of these lineups, but I think he should.
*Career splits listed, and on base % given to show Vic is better suited for leadoff over J-Roll.
1. Shane Victorino/CF- .275/.743 (.337 OB%)
2. Chase Utley/2B- .298/.894
3. Ryan Howard/1B- .303/1.038
4. Raul Ibanez/LF- .289/.847
5. Jimmy Rollins/SS- .269/.757 (.326 OB%)
6. Placido Polanco/3B- .299/.740
7. Domonic Brown/RF- ?
8. Carlos Ruiz/C- .260/.735
1. Shane Victorino/CF- .295/.853 (.362 OB%)
2. Placido Polanco/2B- .313/.805
3. Chase Utley/2B- .283/.894
4. Ben Francisco/RF- .267/.806
5. Ryan Howard/1B- .232/.766
6. Jimmy Rollins/SS- .282/.782 (.336 OB%)
7. Raul Ibanez/LF- .269/.757
8. Carlos Ruiz/C- .262/.792
What would your lineup look like?