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

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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?
    Found in a fortune cookie On Thursday, August 18th, 2005: "Hard words break no bones, Kind words butter no parsnips."

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  • #2
    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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    • #3
      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.
      "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

      "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)

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      • #4
        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

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        • #5
          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 now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

          Comment


          • #6
            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.
            UI2
            BTB

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            • #7
              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, 09:14 PM.

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              • #8
                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.

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                • #9
                  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 now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #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?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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

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                        • #13
                          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

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                          • #14
                            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, 03:47 PM.
                            I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dominik View Post
                              (at the 2 spot you can drive in one guy at best).
                              This is, of course, false:
                              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.

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