Testing strength up the middle
They say you have to be strong up the middle, and it's time to put that theory to the test
It's a timeworn adage that a ballclub must be strong up the middle to win a championship. A few years ago, Bill James wrote that the importance of strength up the middle was "perhaps the first lick of old baseball wisdom that I ever encountered."
Given the way talent is distributed across what James called the defensive spectrum, which runs 1B-LF-RF-3B-CF-2B-SS-C, it makes sense. The positions on the right are the premium ones defensively; the offensive bar is lower than for those on the left. It's much tougher to find above-average hitters to fill the premium defensive slots, and teams are at a considerable advantage when they do. In his column Thursday, Jerry Crasnick breaks down the best up-the-middle combos in baseball in 2011 (catcher, second base, shortstop and center field), and that got us thinking about how much truth there is to the "strong up the middle" axiom.
To see the "strong up the middle" axiom put to the test, you must be an ESPN Insider.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE MLB HEADLINES
- Orioles 3B Machado (knee) suffers setback
- Dodgers OF Crawford to skip Australia series
- Rays OF Myers leaves with a bruised quad
- Reds scratch Bailey (sore groin) from start
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider MLB Content
- Nike Men's Colorado Rockies Authentic Collection Dri-FIT Legend Purple Performance T-Shirt