From SABR member Aaron Gleeman at the Minnesota Post on April 4, 2013:
There’s been lots of talk about who should bat second in the Twins’ lineup. Many simulations and studies show that teams tend to score more when the best overall hitter bats second, but for most of MLB history, the best hitter has batted third or fourth and the second spot has been home to lesser hitters with above-average speed and contact skills.
Not surprisingly Ron Gardenhire prefers the speed-and-contact route, telling Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
I’ve always had the thought a No. 2 guy has to be able to take pitches a little bit. He has to be able to protect the guy on base and be an on-base-percentage guy also so your 3-4-5 guys are getting opportunities. Bunt. Get ’em over. Be able to shoot the ball the other way with a man on second. All those things. Basically, handle the bat. That’s a No. 2 guy.
Not mentioned by Gardenhire is that he also has a very strong preference for second basemen and shortstops in the second spot. You wouldn’t think a player’s defensive position should factor into where he fits best in the batting order, but whether Gardenhire specifically wants middle infielders or middle infielders are simply the players who usually fit his “handle the bat” description, they’ve dominated the No. 2 spot since he took over as manager.
Read the full article here: http://www.minnpost.com/sports/2013/04/batting-joe-mauer-second-smart-twins-move-every-way
Originally published: April 4, 2013. Last Updated: April 4, 2013.