A leadoff hitter is often the guy who makes a team go. He should be your best on-base guy; and if he’s your best on-base guy with speed, even better.
In the summer of 1998, then-Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa broke long-standing baseball tradition when he decided to slot his starting pitcher in the eight-hole in the lineup, instead of batting ninth as had always been the game’s general norm.
He did so not to be different and garner headlines, but rather in an outside of the box effort to make his lineup more productive every time it turned over, hopefully with his nine hitter on base for his middle-of-the-order run producers, which included Mark McGwire, Ray Lankford, and Brian Jordan. In the 76 games in which LaRussa batted his pitcher eighth, his club averaged 5.0 runs per game.