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Re: The Awful No. 2 Hitter


Um, I guess I don’t watch as many NL Least games as Jason does, because the AL Beast has some nifty little No. 2 hitters.

Curtis Granderson, who has taken over half of his at-bats in the No. 2 hole for the Bombers, sports a 1.087 OPS when hitting there, with eight (of his 12) homeruns, 13 runs, 17 RBI, and nine walks. The numbers for the Sawx’s Dustin Pedroia aren’t quite as impressive, but doubtless the Nation is expecting improvement from the 2007 Rookie of the Year and 2008 AL MVP. Impossible to put a finger on a No. 2 hitter for the Rays, of course. But Ben Zobrist and Johnny Damon more likely than not land there when Joe Maddon’s Lineup Wheel of Fortune stops spinning. In any event, they get a .768 OPS from the slot, whoever’s there. 

OK, let’s cut to the chase. Since a commenter asked for some league-wide numbers, here’s the 2011 OPS for the No. 2 lineup slot for every MLB team (alphabetical by town, within division) — yes, you’re only getting OPS: I’m not gonna spend all day doing this — with Bill James’s grades following:

Baltimore Orioles: .603 (F)
Boston Red Sox: .676  (E)
New York Yankees: .818 (C)
Tampa Bay Rays: .768 (C)
Toronto Blue Jays: .733 (D)
[Crude Average OPS: .720 (D, or Average)]

Chicago White Sox: .665 (E)
Cleveland Indians: .839 (B)
Detroit Tigers: .669 (E)
Kansas City Royals: .796 (C)
Minnesota Twins: .486 (G, Very poor — OUCH!)
[Crude Average OPS: .691 (E, or Fair)]

Los Angeles Angels: .831 (C)
Oakland Athletics: .669 (E)
Seattle Mariners: .568 (F)
Texas Rangers: .682 (E)
[Crude Average OPS: .687 (E, Fair)]

Atlanta Braves: .665 (E)
Florida Marlins: .574 (F, Poor) 
New York Mets: .567 (F, Poor)
Philadelphia Phillies: .933 (A)
Washington Nationals: .573 (F, Poor)
[Crude Average OPS: .662 (E, Fair, but on the low end)]

Chicago Cubs: .706 (D)
Cincinnati Reds: .786 (C)
Houston Astros: .692 (E)
Milwaukee Brewers: .602 (F)
Pittsburgh Pirates: .719 (D)
St. Louis Cardinals: .957 (A)
[Crude Average OPS: .744 (D, Average)]

Arizona Diamondbacks: .657 (E)
Colorado Rockies: .741 (D)
Los Angeles Dodgers: .754 (D)
San Diego Padres: .699 (E)
San Francisco Giants: .657 (E)
[Crude Average OPS: .702 (D, Average)]

Now, the division OPS average listed above are crude (no way I’m going to weight for plate appearances, silly rabbit), but it does support my suspicion that Jason’s problem is that he watches too many NL East games. Even the Twins’ No. 2 hitters’ .486 OPS, the worst of any single team, couldn’t drag down the AL Central below the NL East’s MLB-worst OPS (a basement dwelling they maintain despite the Phillies’ MLB-second-best OPS).

Jason’s problem seems to be less that No. 2 hitters are awful across baseball than that he’s a Mets fan and Nationals season-ticket holder.

Tags: MLB


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