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Thread: The number 2 hitter in the lineup- how is success measured?

  1. #1
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    The number 2 hitter in the lineup- how is success measured?

    I thought about this while reading the Nellie Fox thread. It seems to me that the #2 hitter in the lineup is in a unique position- his success or failure shows up more in the stats of the person ahead, or behind them, in the lineup than in their own. Their job is to make contact, push the runner along (or get on if the leadoff hitter fails) and have productive outs. So considering his main job is moving runners along, and he's generally not going to get a lot of runs or RBI, and his OBP should be good, but won't tell the whole story, where other than sacrifice hits, and maybe K/BB ratio, does his success or failure show up? It might be a percentage where BA is actually relevant, but with the "productive outs" thing included, even that doesn't really cut it.

    Does Maury Wills owe part of his success to Junior Gilliam? Brock to Sizemore? Aparicio to Fox?

    Thoughts?
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    Quote Originally Posted by toomanyhatz View Post
    So considering his main job is moving runners along, and he's generally not going to get a lot of runs or RBI, and his OBP should be good, but won't tell the whole story, where other than sacrifice hits, and maybe K/BB ratio, does his success or failure show up?
    I don't know about that bold part. Over the last two seasons (combined), the #2 slot was 2nd in runs.

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    The Sox had Podsednik and Iguchi in 05 and they really clicked but haven't really had a good 2 hitter since. I think a #2 hitter who isn't selfish is pretty hard to find.
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    He's broken down now, but Placido Polanco was an ideal #2 IMO in his prime.
    "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by toomanyhatz View Post
    I thought about this while reading the Nellie Fox thread. It seems to me that the #2 hitter in the lineup is in a unique position- his success or failure shows up more in the stats of the person ahead, or behind them, in the lineup than in their own. Their job is to make contact, push the runner along (or get on if the leadoff hitter fails) and have productive outs. So considering his main job is moving runners along, and he's generally not going to get a lot of runs or RBI, and his OBP should be good, but won't tell the whole story, where other than sacrifice hits, and maybe K/BB ratio, does his success or failure show up? It might be a percentage where BA is actually relevant, but with the "productive outs" thing included, even that doesn't really cut it.

    Does Maury Wills owe part of his success to Junior Gilliam? Brock to Sizemore? Aparicio to Fox?

    Thoughts?
    that is the classic interpretation of the 2 hitter but there has been mathematical analysis that suggests it would make sense to put your best hitter in the 2 hole. while that is certainly theoretical but certainly the "get em over" approach in the 2 hole is a very bad one.

    the 2 hitter will get the second most PAs per season of all your hitters and have a lot of RBI and scoring chances. anything but putting a competent, high OBP hitter in the 2 hole is very stupid although there are still some managers who are doing that (especially in the NL)
    I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps, but the guy who walks and cant run, most of the time hes clogging up the bases for somebody who can run. Dusty Baker.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by toomanyhatz View Post
    I thought about this while reading the Nellie Fox thread. It seems to me that the #2 hitter in the lineup is in a unique position- his success or failure shows up more in the stats of the person ahead, or behind them, in the lineup than in their own. Their job is to make contact, push the runner along (or get on if the leadoff hitter fails) and have productive outs. So considering his main job is moving runners along, and he's generally not going to get a lot of runs or RBI, and his OBP should be good, but won't tell the whole story, where other than sacrifice hits, and maybe K/BB ratio, does his success or failure show up? It might be a percentage where BA is actually relevant, but with the "productive outs" thing included, even that doesn't really cut it.

    Does Maury Wills owe part of his success to Junior Gilliam? Brock to Sizemore? Aparicio to Fox?

    Thoughts?
    As with any hitter in any part of the line-up, if you are looking to measure their 'situational' contributions the best stat available is RE24-- or runs above average based on the 24 base/out states.

    If a batter moves the runner on first to third during a productive out, RE24 gives that batter the credit for for the change in run expectancy from 0 outs/runner on 1st to 1 out/runner on 3rd.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    that is the classic interpretation of the 2 hitter but there has been mathematical analysis that suggests it would make sense to put your best hitter in the 2 hole. while that is certainly theoretical but certainly the "get em over" approach in the 2 hole is a very bad one.

    the 2 hitter will get the second most PAs per season of all your hitters and have a lot of RBI and scoring chances. anything but putting a competent, high OBP hitter in the 2 hole is very stupid although there are still some managers who are doing that (especially in the NL)
    For a real life example, how about Mike Trout? Are the Angels going to continue to bat him leadoff? Sure, his speed and OBP makes him excellent at that position, but can they afford not to move someone with good power further down in the lineup, where he can drive in more runs? Historically, whenever you have a player with great speed and power, power takes precedence, and he bats 3d or lower--Mantle, Mays, Bonds, the younger A-Rod, etc. (One exception to this I can recall is when Giambi was with the A's, I believe they had him batting leadoff for a while. And he wasn't even particularly fast! Just because of a very good OBP).

    But now that they have acquired Hamilton, it seems that the Angels are set at the 3 and 4 positions, unless they want to move Trout to 3d, Pujols to cleanup and Hamilton to 5th. So I could see Trout batting 2d in that lineup next year.
    Last edited by Stolensingle; 12-19-2012 at 09:14 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Grimm View Post
    He's broken down now, but Placido Polanco was an ideal #2 IMO in his prime.
    "The Book" says that your 1st and 2nd best hitters should hit 2nd and 4th, with the more disciplined hitter 2nd.

    BUT Polanco was the ultimate guy in terms of the 'old school' idea. Jim Leyland loved him. He never struck out, always put the ball in play. He would hit .360 with 2 strikes. Although he didn't draw any walks, he had a way of making the most out of his at bats. Solid defender too. Detroit really struggled at 2nd base when he left.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Stolensingle View Post
    For a real life example, how about Mike Trout? Are the Angels going to continue to bat him leadoff? Sure, his speed and OBP makes him excellent at that position, but can they afford not to move someone with good power further down in the lineup, where he can drive in more runs? Historically, whenever you have a player with great speed and power, power takes precedence, and he bats 3d or lower--Mantle, Mays, Bonds, the younger A-Rod, etc. (One exception to this I can recall is when Giambi was with the A's, I believe they had him batting leadoff for a while. And he wasn't even particularly fast! Just because of a very good OBP).

    But now that they have acquired Hamilton, it seems that the Angels are set at the 3 and 4 positions, unless they want to move Trout to 3d, Pujols to cleanup and Hamilton to 5th. So I could see Trout batting 2d in that lineup next year.
    I think that would be very intelligent. moving either to the 5 spot would IMO a waste of plate appearances (because the 5 hitter bats less often then the 2 and 3 hitter).
    however I'm pretty sure that won't happen as the 2 spot is traditionally often a mediocre hitter (for whatever reason)
    I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps, but the guy who walks and cant run, most of the time hes clogging up the bases for somebody who can run. Dusty Baker.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DClutch View Post
    BUT Polanco was the ultimate guy in terms of the 'old school' idea. Jim Leyland loved him. He never struck out, always put the ball in play. He would hit .360 with 2 strikes.
    He's a career .248 hitter with 2 strikes. About .270 as a Tiger. Pretty good though, since the league average is about .180.

  11. #11
    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/200...your-lineup-by
    The Two Hole

    The old-school book says to put a bat-control guy here. Not a great hitter, but someone who can move the lead-off hitter over for one of the next two hitters to drive in.

    The Books says the #2 hitter comes to bat in situations about as important as the #3 hitter, but more often. That means the #2 hitter should be better than the #3 guy, and one of the best three hitters overall. And since he bats with the bases empty more often than the hitters behind him, he should be a high-OBP player. Doesn't sound like someone who should be sacrificing, does it?
    The #2 hitter get the 2nd most PA's over the course of a season (logical, right?). He needs to be a good hitter. Do you want a good hitter, or a poor hitter to bat more often?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ipitch View Post
    He's a career .248 hitter with 2 strikes. About .270 as a Tiger. Pretty good though, since the league average is about .180.
    He did hit .350 in '07. It was a while ago so my memories not as sharp. He hit .345 overall. Magglio hit .363 that year. The Tigers had a nice offense that year.

    I hope Polanco stays healthy with Miami. He'll probably hit 2nd for them with the lack of major league talent on that squad

  13. #13
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    I agree that the #2 hitter should be highly productive. But it seems like managers in general are under some old school of thinking that the position in the order isn't as important (maybe that's not the right word) as others at the top of the lineup. To me, it seems as though many of these managers are willing to give up outs in almost any situation simply to move a leadoff runner up a bag. As I've read here on these boards and other sites, it's rarely a good idea to give up free outs.

    Here in Philly, we have Charlie Manual - a typical old school type of manager. He prefers the Earl Weaver type of going for the 3-run homer which worked well a few years back. As this team has aged, he's tried to adapt to a bit more of a station to station style. But by doing so, he's let some of the worst hitters in the game bat 2nd - such as Michael Martinez and Wilson Valdez on too many occasions (one occasion is too many for me, but it's been much more than that). His idea, I'm guessing, is that if a hitter is that bad, there's no inner fight in his mind as to whether to have him give up an out. If somebody's on 1B, his answer is written on the wall. Either bunt or slap the ball on the ground and don't make a double play. Had his #2 hitter been somebody like Chase Utely, that situation would make his head explode and he'd be second-guessing all the time.
    "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by filihok View Post
    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/200...your-lineup-by

    The #2 hitter get the 2nd most PA's over the course of a season (logical, right?). He needs to be a good hitter. Do you want a good hitter, or a poor hitter to bat more often?
    I have read that too. I would not put the better hitter at 2 but the 2 guy certainly should be a very good guy. a lot of managers rotate players between the 6,7 (sometimes even 8) spot and the 2 spot which shows how much value they put into the 2 hitter.

    the reason behind putting the big boppers into the 4 and 5 hole is to give them the chance to hit multiple guys in with one swing (at the 2 spot you can drive in one guy at best). however you can only drive in guys that get on and more often then not the pitcher has the advantage and the 4 hitter is not getting on with bases loaded but with 0 on in the second or 1 on 2 out in the first. especially if you put weak hitters in the 1 and 2 spot.
    Last edited by dominik; 01-01-2013 at 03:47 PM.
    I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps, but the guy who walks and cant run, most of the time hes clogging up the bases for somebody who can run. Dusty Baker.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    (at the 2 spot you can drive in one guy at best).
    This is, of course, false:
    Quote Originally Posted by the above article
    The Books says the #2 hitter comes to bat in situations about as important as the #3 hitter, but more often.

  16. #16
    There have been suggestions that the #2 hitter will tend to have his rates HURT by batting in the #2 slot, compared to #1 or #3. I am not sure if there is evidence of this. If it is true I think its partially caused by managers tending historically to put inferior hitting good runners in the leadoff spot, and asking the #2 guy to take some pitches (inferior hitting would hurt because he would not be getting on base that much).

    I think that in general, teams tend to not have the most suited guy to bat leadoff, or #2. Teams might be better moving the 3 and 4 guys to 2 and 3 and moving the next best OB% to #1, but only if he can run OK.


    I also think that there are psychological issues. I have read that when #3 guys are moved to #2 they don't hit as well even in the same situations.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    I think that in general, teams tend to not have the most suited guy to bat leadoff, or #2. Teams might be better moving the 3 and 4 guys to 2 and 3 and moving the next best OB% to #1, but only if he can run OK.
    Faster runners should hit in front of weak hitters, not strong hitters.

    Strong hitters can drive in runners from first, so no reason to risk them getting caught stealing.
    Weak hitters need runners to be in scoring positions, so the risk/reward of a stolen base is better utilized here.


    I also think that there are psychological issues. I have read that when #3 guys are moved to #2 they don't hit as well even in the same situations.
    Just tell these psychologically fragile major league players that they are moving up to #2 because it's a more important position in the order AND because he's such a great hitter that they want to get him 17 more PA's a season.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by filihok View Post
    . . . .
    Just tell these psychologically fragile major league players that they are moving up to #2 because it's a more important position in the order AND because he's such a great hitter that they want to get him 17 more PA's a season.
    I dunno. It seems to me that since research shows there's hardly any difference between optimum and any non-ridiculous batting order, you might get more production overall just by keeping players happy.

    I recall Bobby Bonds used to have conflicts with management because he wanted to lead off. He was actually below his average leading off a game or leading off an inning, but in fact did hit better from the leadoff spot than any other position--except 5th. So, why not let him do his thing?

    so far this discussion hasn't mentioned the DH and pitcher. I would think whether or not you had a .150 batter hitting ninth should go into your figuring about the #2 guy. Do you have a revolving offense or one that starts over every couple of innings?
    Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by filihok View Post
    Faster runners should hit in front of weak hitters, not strong hitters.

    Strong hitters can drive in runners from first, so no reason to risk them getting caught stealing.
    Weak hitters need runners to be in scoring positions, so the risk/reward of a stolen base is better utilized here.



    Just tell these psychologically fragile major league players that they are moving up to #2 because it's a more important position in the order AND because he's such a great hitter that they want to get him 17 more PA's a season.
    I read that too. some article suggested that runners should be best in the 6,7 spot. stealing makes more sense there because often they will strand anyway so you can just as well take the chance of getting caught (of course it is not that easy as the value of the bottom of the lineup getting on base is not just creating runs but also turning the lineup over to give the good hitters more chances to bat).
    I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps, but the guy who walks and cant run, most of the time hes clogging up the bases for somebody who can run. Dusty Baker.

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