Who Should Bat 2nd?

The ever insightful Joel Sherman of the New York Post breaks down the #2 hitter debate tonight in his Hardball blog.

When Willie Randolph uses a term such as Luis Castillo is “a prototype No. 2 hitter” is that because he reminds him of someone, namely himself. Like Castillo, Randolph was a second baseman who mostly hit at the top of the order during his career, depending on a good hitting eye and little-man skills such as bunting and the hit-and-run. Castillo’s career slugging percentage is .357 and his on-base percentage is .368. Randolph’s numbers in those categories were .351/.373.

They are not clones, but they are close. Is there really any question that the way the game is played these days that players such as Florida’s Dan Uggla or Arizona’s Eric Byrnes, though not fitting an historic prototype, are better No. 2 hitters than Castillo. The only question here should be are the Mets more likely to score more runs with Castillo hitting No. 2 or Ryan Church . To me it is a no-brainer. Church can score Jose Reyes from first base with an extra-base hit, something Castillo is not apt to do. He is a much stronger threat to do damage if an opponent decides that they must throw fastballs to the No. 2 hitter with Reyes on first base. He is much more apt to take advantage of the first-second hole when Reyes is being held at first. Ultimately ask yourself this: Do you want Church or Castillo getting more plate appearances this season?

I am in complete agreement with Sherman on this one (and I’m glad there is someone in the mainstream media who isn’t pointing out Randolph’s weaknesses). I would rather see more of Church.

It was only a 5 game sample but, the Mets were 5-0 with Church in the 2 slot and there is no denying the team’s offense was functioning better during that stretch then it has since Castillo returned.

Why did Willie mess with success? There is no clear answer than it was just than it was Willie Being Willie.


One Response

  1. Willie’s had a problem having the wrong guys hitting second since he got here. Definitely, he’s got old ideas about what makes a good #2 hitter.

    Pales, of course, next to the fact that his bullpens seem to be mental and emotional basket cases. I wonder why that is?

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