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Mauer bat in the 2 spot?

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#1 rogrulz30

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 11:50 PM

Jamey Carroll, http://mlb.sbnation.....-twins-history. This story was brought up by a buddy who was watching the Twins game on ESPN vs NY, instantly texted me on why Jamey Carroll was batting 2nd in our lineup. His quote " Too many managers look at the second spot as a bunting/throw away spot. Kills so many rallies putting a ****ty hitter in the middle of your best hitters.: Now Jamey Carroll is a lifetime .277 hitter with no power. This is a common thing I guess with putting maybe a 2nd best batting avg/obp guy in the 2nd spot, what if we had Joe Mauer in that spot?
I think Jamey Carroll was a good pickup for the Twins, but why wouldn't we have Joe Mauer bat in the 2 spot? If you were the starting pitcher would you be more intimidated by:

Span
Mauer
Willingham
Morneau
Doumit
Parmalee? I know I would. Would this mean less double plays? Would we have more guys on base for Willingham, Morneau? The answer is yes, if Mauer isn't going to hit for power shouldn't he be in that spot?

#2 twinsnorth49

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 12:35 AM

What kind of rally do you have going by the time the 2 man comes up? Presumably the lead-off man is on and nobody is out. I'd hate to put an .830 OPS at bat with, at best, 1 man on. Doumit in the 5? He's hitting .222-.279-.501, who's he driving in? Willingham at 3, for who? Morneau can hit clean up no doubt but since Gardy switched him to 5 and Willingham to 4 it has been working pretty well, they are 1-2 on the team in OPS and in Willinghams case he's the 4th highest in the AL. I can go on. Carroll has been a little streaky to be sure but he's suited just fine at the 2 spot. I'm not sure I understand your friends argument, no disrespect intended.

Edited by twinsnorth49, 22 April 2012 - 12:37 AM.


#3 Teflon

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 01:13 AM

I recall Bill James saying in an Abstract that the ony real logic he could see for the batting order would be to ensure that the best run-created guys got the most at-bats over the course of the season. Outside of breaking up strings of consecutive LH batters so the opposing situational lefty can't be used for multiple hitters the specific assumptions that seem to be rote for each of the batting order spots aren't really backed up by hard facts, are they?

#4 silverslugger

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 07:04 AM

I don't have a problem with Carroll in the 2 spot and I don't think Bill James would either. Historically, he's had a very high OBP and that's his job in this lineup. His job is to "create runs" by getting on base at a high percentage right in front of Mauer, Willingham, Morneau. Look at him as the insurance policy for Span. At 1,2 in our lineup we have two guys who can hit to all fields, control the strike zone, and get on base at a high percentage. It's exactly what 1 and 2 are supposed to do. Granted, Carroll's avg has been lagging a bit so far but we're only two weeks into the season. I've argued for Mauer in the 2 hole in the past, but that was pre Jamey Carroll. We have a natural 2 hitter on the team for the first time in quite some time.

#5 woolhouse

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 09:11 AM

You generally have a guy like Carroll in the #2 hole because he can put the ball in play, moving the leadoff runner over, and "setting the table" for your "in theory" RBI-guys in the 3rd and 4th holes. Gardenhire would never ask Mauer to bunt to move Span over; Mauer is supposed to be the guy who drives in Span once he's moved to second or third on a Carroll bunt or ground out to second. Of course, if Mauer is only going to his singles and the occasional bloop double, you might as well move him to #2. Maybe he'll be the league-leading sacrifice bunter for all players making north of $20mil/year.

#6 Seth Stohs

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 09:16 AM

Carroll is a perfect #2 hitter. As Mackey has pointed out several times, over his last four seasons, his OBP is .366!! .366!! That's remarkable. At the top of the order, you want guys that get on base... If you have Span, Carroll, Mauer... that's a lot of runs to drive in for Willingham, Morneau and Doumit, and that's a good thing.

#7 jimbo92107

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 09:43 AM

Agree with the first four, but I'd adjust the fifth guy for more power.

Span
Mauer
Willingham
Morneau
Valencia (v. LHP)/Parmelee (v. RHP)
Parmelee/Valencia
Doumit
...

This way you follow Morneau with a somebody that hits well against the particular starter's handedness. Doumit comes after those two until he starts getting more than one hit every couple games.

The main point is a good
one: Mauer batting second is much more of a threat than Carroll. We've even seen it happen when they tried it a couple years ago. Of course, it would be nice if occasionally Mauer would break his personal rule of always taking the first pitch. I've never seen anybody get more first-pitch medium fastballs right down the middle than Joe. Even if he swings at 1 out of 10 first pitches, that means his average on those pitches can't be any higher than .100. If he just goes up there hackin' like the rest of them, would that really make him a worse hitter?

#8 Riverbrian

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 09:43 AM

Carroll has done nothing thus far to deserve being yanked from the two hole. He deserves to hit in the two hole. Carroll should only be moved because Mauer should be moved and that's the way it works. I'd still move Mauer up to the two hole because of five reasons. 1. Legendary patience. 2. Historic high contact rate, bat control and high batting average. 3. Smart by all accounts. 4. He's turning into a singles and double guy. Career numbers are suggesting this. 5. And this is the most important reason.... He will bat more. The 2 hitter gets more at bats then the 3 hitter and that extra at bat just may be at the end of the game during a clutch moment.

#9 CDog

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 10:29 PM

Of course, it would be nice if occasionally Mauer would break his personal rule of always taking the first pitch. I've never seen anybody get more first-pitch medium fastballs right down the middle than Joe. Even if he swings at 1 out of 10 first pitches, that means his average on those pitches can't be any higher than .100. If he just goes up there hackin' like the rest of them, would that really make him a worse hitter?


He (still) has a lower 1st pitch strike % than average...by a pretty fair margin. This year he's at a career high and still just at league average. And it's been plummeting as the sample size becomes meaningful. Perception is often a personal thing. I've noticed how often this year he's been getting started with breaking pitches, for instance. But to answer your final question: almost certainly.

#10 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 12:53 AM

He (still) has a lower 1st pitch strike % than average...by a pretty fair margin. This year he's at a career high and still just at league average. And it's been plummeting as the sample size becomes meaningful. Perception is often a personal thing. I've noticed how often this year he's been getting started with breaking pitches, for instance. But to answer your final question: almost certainly.


It's not just about taking a strike.

It's about how many times Mauer ends up putting a pitcher's pitch into play, with 2 strikes on him, after watching hittable pitches sail through the middle of the strike zone, often with runners on.

Walks are great. They are not the object.

#11 mlhouse

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:23 AM

The Twins should move Mauer to the leadoff spot. Span should hit 2nd. By moving Mauer to the leadoff spot, you are putting the player with the highest OBP at the top of the order. Mauer has enough pop in his bat that he can drive mistake pitches and I think he could hit 6-10 leadoff home runs every year because pitchers like to get that first pitch over the plate. As the leadoff hitter Mauer is going to get the most plate appearances in the lineup, and because he is the best at working the pitchers in the lineup, that will add several pitches per game to the opponents starting pitcher. Generating the pitch count is the most effective way of getting to high end pitchers. The traditional lineup that the Twins use just does not make any sense. The concept that the #2 hitter in the lineup should be some sort of contact hitter is even more ridiculous than the concept that the lead off hitter should be your fastest player. Our #2 hitter should be the the batter with the 3rd best OBP on the team. The concept is to get the most players on base for the power hitters in the lineup you can, not wasting outs with hit and runs. The 3rd hitter should not be the "best" hitter on the team. That should be the leadoff hitter and the cleanup hitter. So, the healthy Justin Morneau should bat 4th. In the 3rd slot, the best kind of hitters are guys that have lower batting averages but above average OBP and power. They may strike out a lot. But, batting in front of the best hitter on the team they should get better pitches to hit. I would bat Parmelee as the #3 hitter or Doumit depending on the pitcher. Morneau would bat 4th, and Willingham 5th. Morneau has a very high OBP, and will often lead off an inning. Getting him on base to start an inning should lead to more runs. Parmelee or Doumit would hit 6th. Valencia 7th. The worst hitter on the team should hit 8th, rather than 9th because you want to get a better OBP guy to hit before the top of the lineup. So, Casillas would hit 8th and Carrol 9th.

#12 TheMind07

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:07 AM

The Twins should move Mauer to the leadoff spot. Span should hit 2nd.

By moving Mauer to the leadoff spot, you are putting the player with the highest OBP at the top of the order. Mauer has enough pop in his bat that he can drive mistake pitches and I think he could hit 6-10 leadoff home runs every year because pitchers like to get that first pitch over the plate. As the leadoff hitter Mauer is going to get the most plate appearances in the lineup, and because he is the best at working the pitchers in the lineup, that will add several pitches per game to the opponents starting pitcher. Generating the pitch count is the most effective way of getting to high end pitchers.

The traditional lineup that the Twins use just does not make any sense. The concept that the #2 hitter in the lineup should be some sort of contact hitter is even more ridiculous than the concept that the lead off hitter should be your fastest player. Our #2 hitter should be the the batter with the 3rd best OBP on the team. The concept is to get the most players on base for the power hitters in the lineup you can, not wasting outs with hit and runs.

The 3rd hitter should not be the "best" hitter on the team. That should be the leadoff hitter and the cleanup hitter. So, the healthy Justin Morneau should bat 4th. In the 3rd slot, the best kind of hitters are guys that have lower batting averages but above average OBP and power. They may strike out a lot. But, batting in front of the best hitter on the team they should get better pitches to hit. I would bat Parmelee as the #3 hitter or Doumit depending on the pitcher.

Morneau would bat 4th, and Willingham 5th. Morneau has a very high OBP, and will often lead off an inning. Getting him on base to start an inning should lead to more runs.

Parmelee or Doumit would hit 6th. Valencia 7th.

The worst hitter on the team should hit 8th, rather than 9th because you want to get a better OBP guy to hit before the top of the lineup. So, Casillas would hit 8th and Carrol 9th.



I absolutely love that idea, too bad gardy would never even think to do such a thing, these novel ideas are only reserved for forward thinking managers like Joe Maddon :(.

#13 rogrulz30

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:16 AM

I like the idea that Mauer gets more AB's in some way shape, or form. If he bats in the 1 hole, great. I like the fact that Joe can work the pitcher, gives more of an opportunity for the guys behind him to see the pitcher. I would agree with Joe taking walks more often in the 1 and 2 hole. In the 3 hole, this is a spot where we need someone driving the ball over the fence/double guy. Yes Joe hits a lot of gaps, he also hits into too many double plays that are rally killers. Either way Joe Mauer should not be in the 3 hole in my humble opinion.

#14 woolhouse

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:36 AM

The Twins should move Mauer to the leadoff spot. Span should hit 2nd.

By moving Mauer to the leadoff spot, you are putting the player with the highest OBP at the top of the order. Mauer has enough pop in his bat that he can drive mistake pitches and I think he could hit 6-10 leadoff home runs every year because pitchers like to get that first pitch over the plate.


There in lies the biggest issue in your plan: Mauer would have to swing at the first pitch. Mauer don't play that.

#15 Shane Wahl

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:39 AM

Jamey Carroll and Hudson for 1/2 of 2010 are/were legit as second batters. Every other year Mauer should have been batting second. One thing about the third spot is that it often happens at the beginning of the game (and later, in particular the fourth inning if the minimum batters have been up) there are two outs and nobody on when the 3-man comes to the plate. In those situations the most likely run scored comes from a homer (as opposed to some kind of string of two or more hits/walks), so there is some value to having a power hitter batting third.