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Baseball Strategy:Who to Bat Second

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Rules and Exceptions

Rule 1: In the #2 slot, teams have traditionally penciled in the guy with the best "bat control" -- you know, somebody who can "hit behind the runner", sacrifice bunt, move the leadoff man over, that sort of thing. Why? Because that's the way it's always been done. Do you need any other reason?

Examples: Paul Lo Duca. Pre-2005 Cristian Guzman. Mark Grudzielanek. Do I sense a pattern?

Rule 2: Just like the leadoff spot, the #2 hitter in an ideal sabermetric lineup has one of the top OBPs on the team. While "moving the runner over" is nice in a quaint, pre-World War II sort of way, today's game is about getting ducks on the pond for the big sluggers to knock in. And that means on-base percentage -- and not batting average + some ephemeral situational-hitting ability that comes into play maybe once every other game -- is the key stat for #2's.

Examples: Derek Jeter, Mark Loretta, pre-1997 Craig Biggio, late-career Larry Walker, Trot Nixon, Mark Bellhorn

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