Study the major league managers—the really good ones—and how they make up their lineups.
In the major leagues the teams have twenty-five players on their rosters. Okay. Forget about the pitchers for now and look at the position players, and how those lineups are constructed. For example, the Yankees. Very often the leadoff man will be a player who has a knack for getting on base—any way he can, a hit, a walk, whatever. He’s a speed demon. The next batter is likely to be a similar player, albeit one with more power, who can not only get on base but can also move the runner up a base or two. Then you have the meat of the batting order, the numbers 3,4 and 5 hitters—the heavy artillery, so to speak—the ones who can do it all. Your number 6 batter may not have all that power but he can hit, often to all fields; he might be the designated hitter. The bottom of the order—well, there might be a surprise or two in that bunch, even the #9 hitter who might have the same knack for getting on base as the leadoff man. And here is where opposing pitchers make their share of mistakes; they figure the last guy in the lineup to be an easy out and get careless, and next thing you know he triples off the left-center field wall and drives in a couple of big runs.
The key premise here is simple: get the batter on, get him around the bases and get him home. Now, I’ve been talking about major-league hitters, but a manager in Little League or one of the other nonprofessional leagues can follow the same guidelines in constructing a good lineup. As for the ones who warm the bench, they never know when they might be called on to pinch-hit or pinch-run or replace an injured player, so they need to be on their toes. And as for the parents who complain and gripe and squawk because little Johnny or Janie isn’t getting enough playing time, I say cool it. It’s not like those kids never get into the game; eventually their time comes and they have the chance to do their part. It’s just that if the team is involved in a big championship series it needs to have its best players in the starting lineup! 8)