Gleeman: Reimagining the number-two hitter

From SABR member Aaron Gleeman at Baseball Prospectus on April 5, 2018:

“Leadoff hitter” and “cleanup hitter” are labels that naturally bring to mind specific player types, skill sets, and statistics—and maybe even cause you to picture certain star players who fit those established molds particularly well. To a lesser extent the same is probably true of the “number-two hitter” label. Close your eyes and visualize it. What do you see? Is it a speedy contact hitter with minimal power? Maybe a switch-hitting middle infielder who bunts a lot? And boy does every announcer love to praise them for doing “the little things” to help their team win, right?

Throughout much of baseball history, the standard qualifications required in a no. 2 hitter seemed to be some combination of: above-average speed, good bunter, switch-hitter, able to move the runners over, good at hitting behind runners, willing to take pitches, stays out of double plays, good contact hitter, handles the bat well.

Of late, those qualifications have been simplified to: must hit.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: April 5, 2018. Last Updated: April 5, 2018.