Friday, May 3, 2013
No. 2 in the batting order
By Jason A. Churchill
In recent weeks there has been some chatter about batting some of the better hitters in the game in the No. 2 hole -- as the Los Angeles Angels and the Minnesota Twins have done with Mike Trout and Joe Mauer -- rather than the traditional spots at No. 3 or No. 4. ESPN Insider's Keith Law wrote earlier this week that Cincinnati Reds' star Joey Votto is a fit to bat second.
Using Votto, who is batting .293/.441/.453 this season and boasts a .315/.417/.549 triple-slash for his career, as the example and citing The Book and its data that shows the No. 2 batter gets enough extra trips to the plate in comparison to the No. 3 batter to be worth about one extra victory in some circumstances.
The average No. 2 batter this season is posting a .258/.320/.389 line, which is about the league average overall.
expected contenders that, so far in 2013, are not getting production from the No. 2 spot include the San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves, the Reds, Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays.
The Braves have been without the injured Jason Heyward, who could slot into the No. 2 spot once he's healthy. The Reds have Votto as an option.
The Giants have Buster Posey, who has batted in the cleanup spot for the most part this season. Marco Scutaro has been the main 2-hole hitter for them and is batting .240/.287/.300 and has no chance to produce at Posey's level, or anywhere near.
The Diamondbacks are using Martin Prado batting second and he's struggling something fierce. A healthy Aaron Hill, who generally has been batting third, probably makes the most sense at No. 2 if the club were to do so. The Jays are using Melky Cabrera in the role, with the club's best hitter,Jose Bautista, batting third.
If it's true the best hitter should bat second, the Yankees should move up Robinson Cano in the order and the Rays should do the same with Evan Longoria. Of course, there are no signs that clubs buy into this enough for us to expect any of the above to occur, but it's interesting nonetheless.