Discussion

Why Joey Votto should bat second

Updated: April 30, 2013, 1:57 PM ET
By Keith Law

The Los Angeles Angels have been batting Mike Trout, their best all-around hitter, second for most of this season. The Cincinnati Reds could learn a thing or two from that.

The idea of putting your best hitter second, rather than third, is still a novel one within baseball and has yet to gain widespread acceptance, even though the evidence in favor of such an arrangement is pretty strong. Using metrics such as batting runs, estimating the runs gained or lost through changing a lineup, shifting to an optimal lineup is only worth about 10-15 runs, or just over a win, in the course of a full season. That said, the marginal gain in getting your best hitter another handful of at-bats, including extra at-bats at the end of games, makes it worth trying to capture value that otherwise would be squandered.

The Reds are the best example this year of a team that is giving away offense by putting their worst hitter, Zack Cozart, ahead of their best hitter, Joey Votto, an example of archaic thinking that still persists within the game because that's how we've always done it.

MORE MLB HEADLINES