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BATTING ORDER: Is the 2-Hole the New 3-Hole

This is all just food for thought. It would appear that some teams are placing their “best” hitter in the second spot now instead of third. Cases in point: Joey Votto now bats second behind speedster Billy Hamilton for the Reds. Anthony Rizzo batted third last year for the Cubs but this year Joe Maddon has started the slugger in the 2-hole.

In days of yore not much attention was placed on the lineup, per se. Oh yeah, the fourth batter was supposed to be the “clean-up” hitter, in the hopes of coming to bat in the first inning with the bases full. The eighth batter was the manager’s idea of the worst hitter of the lot. The leadoff hitter was a man who was generally the fastest on the squad. That was the extent of it, at least from a fan’s point of view.

Sabermetrics came onto the scene and things started to crystallize. Some began to think that OBP (on base percentage) was as, if not more, important as the batting average. The thinking there is that what difference does it make if you get a hit, draw a walk, or take one on the hip for the team. Either way you get to first base safely. That particular metric is one that I really like. I mean, would you rather have a man with a BA of .275 and an OBP of .300, or a man batting .260 with an OBP of .415 batting second in your lineup? Good food so far?

Dusty Baker use to catch a bunch of lip for having Brandon Phillips bat high in the order. His OBP was only .310 in 2014 but batted in the first four spots exclusively that year. Phillips won’t walk! The most base on balls he has accrued in any season is 46, and that is with 687 trips to the plate. That is a 6.7% clip. His career SO/W ratio is 2.5, while the average for MLB during that time is 2.15. This article isn’t about Phillips so obviously I have digressed.

Ted Williams was OBP personified, not that anyone knew what it meant at the time. They just saw him on base every other time he came up to the plate. That statement is nearly literally correct. In fact his career OBP of .482 is the best anyone who ever played has amassed. That accounts for the reason you do not see any 200 hit seasons, or seasons which he had the most hits on his resume.  He took the old axiom, “a walk is as good as a hit” to heart. He did lead the league in base on balls eight times. Where did Teddy Ballgame bat in the lineup?  Mostly in the three-hole.

Managers will continue to fill out the lineup card as they wish, and writers will continue to criticize them. That is the nature of the beast. Just remember the mantra, “get ‘em on, get ‘em over, and get ‘em in.” Many things play into account when figuring batting orders. There is speed, base running (some speedsters are terrible base runners), power, clutch hitting and more. So just because a player batting second has an OBP of .410, but can barely run from first to second, doesn’t mean he is the right man for the spot.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

2014 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot: Three Will Make It In

Cooperstown sign

With the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot being due by the end of the year, it is an appropriate time to make some predictions.

There is an exciting group of quality players in this class of Hall of Fame nominees. It features two Cy Young Award winners along with two Most Valuable Player Award winners. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2013 in Historical

 

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The Cincinnati Reds Are Kicking the Tires on Carlos Beltran

Carlos Beltran

According to C. Trent Rosecrans, the Cincinnati Reds have expressed an interest in Free Agent outfielder, Carlos Beltran. He has been courted heavily this offseason by the New York Yankees and many feel they have the upper hand in negotiations with the 36-year old Beltran. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A Case for Yadier Molina as 2013 National League MVP

Yadier Molina
Nobody is a clear-cut favorite to win the MVP in the National League for 2013. Some names have been bandied about, some deserving and some not. Let us start at the top. Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw is said to be a strong candidate. If you don’t think the Cy Young Award is sufficient reward then maybe he is. I never, I said never liked the idea of a pitcher getting the MVP award. Even in 2011 when Justin Verlander won both prestigious awards with a 24-5 record and an ERA of 2.40. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in MLB

 

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Cincinnati Reds Sign Bryan Price to Contract to Manage for Three Years

Price Manager
The Cincinnati Reds ended weeks of speculation by signing Bryan Price to a three-year contract as manager. In spite of all the rumors flying around about various people considered for the job, only Price and Louisville Bats manager, Jim Riggleman had been on a short list. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2013 in Bryan Price

 

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Brandon Phillips for Dan Uggla? Don’t Laugh !

Phillips for Uggla
Speculation has run amuck that the Cincinnati Reds want to trade their All-star Golden Glove second baseman, Brandon Phillips. Where it originated I cannot say assuredly. Cincinnati Enquirer writer, John Fay wrote that the Reds seem interested in trading him. The reason Fay cited was that the Reds have shown interest in Cuban phenom Alexander Guerrero. The young Cuban plays middle infield and should make a dandy second baseman. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Brandon Phillips

 

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Life Goes On. Where Did the Thrill Go?

Evolution

John Mellencamp wrote a song called Jack and Diane. The hook to that song is this:

“Oh yeah, life goes on, 

Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone…” Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2013 in Historical, Uncategorized

 

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