Optimizing the Angels' lineup

Updated: February 7, 2013, 10:30 AM ET
By Buster Olney

Even before the Los Angeles Angels finished their deal with slugger Josh Hamilton, the discussion between manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Jerry Dipoto about where to hit Hamilton in their lineup began.

They talked about possibly batting him second, between leadoff hitter Mike Trout and No. 3 hitter Albert Pujols, and they examined the data regarding how many more plate appearances Hamilton might expect to get closer to the top of the batting order. Last year, the Angels' No. 2 hitters had 32 more plate appearances than the No. 4 hitters, which means that about once every five games, the No. 2 hitter will get an extra at-bat.

They talked about how the Angels' No. 2 hitter, whoever he may be, might see more fastballs, because of the constant stolen-base threat that Trout presents when he's on base. Torii Hunter moved into the No. 2 spot in the lineup early in 2012 and had a great season -- and keep in mind that last year, no hitter saw a lower percentage of fastballs than Hamilton.