The Orioles don’t have an obvious leadoff hitter. Last year, Nate McLouth was the natural choice. For years, it was Brian Roberts.
Perhaps it will be David Lough.
Lough is batting leadoff against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday. In his relatively brief major league career, Lough has led off in 28 games, batting .254 with a .295 on-base percentage.
The Orioles are confident Lough can increase his OBP and add some speed to the lineup.
Lough’s greatest success has come batting sixth and seventh. With Kansas City, Lough has a .348 average in the sixth hole and .270 in the seventh.
Those spots are better suited for J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters.
When the Orioles were looking for a leadoff hitter in July 2012, manager Buck Showalter tried Nick Markakis, and it worked well. Markakis hit .335 with a most impressive .390 on-base percentage. When he batted third, he hit .256.
After Markakis was hurt in September, McLouth moved to the leadoff hole. Last year, Markakis hit .319 in 34 games as the leadoff hitter.
Lough can provide the speed that Markakis can’t, and once Manny Machado gets back, it will be interesting to see how the batting order changes.