Skip to content

In which I still don’t get Jim Tracy

Apr 7, 2012, 7:20 PM EDT

Jim Tracy AP

Earlier today I complimented Kirk Gibson on how he’s worked the No. 2 spot in the order in these first two games, using Chris Young against the righty Tim Lincecum on Friday and Aaron Hill versus the lefty Madison Bumgarner today.

Rockies manager Jim Tracy, on the other hand, isn’t really looking for his No. 2 hitters to hit three homers in two games. Or really hit at all. The Rockies’ plan going into the spring was to open the season with Dexter Fowler leading off and Marco Scutaro hitting second. However, Fowler was so terribly lost at the plate this spring (.149 average, 17/3 K/BBin 67 AB) that the decision was made to switch the two. Because, I guess, the leadoff spot is so very much more important than the two hole?

This isn’t just a Rockies thing either. NL No. 2 hitters hit .256/.313/.369 last year. No. 8 hitters — already typically the worst hitter in most lineups and at the added disadvantage of hitting in front of the pitcher — were barely worse at .246/.315/.359. Every other spot in the lineup, except the pitcher’s, was better. Only the Phillies, with Placido Polanco and Shane Victorino manning the spot, got a .750 OPS from their No. 2 hitters last year. The Braves got a .747 OPS from their No. 8 hitters and a .644 OPS from their No. 2 hitters. The Nationals and Diamondbacks (hopefully Gibson is figuring this out) also got much better results from the eighth spot than the two hole.

And all of this has never made sense to me. The No. 2 hitter is probably more important in the act of scoring runs than the leadoff man is, since he gets to hit with more guys on base. He may be more important than the No. 3 hitter, too, since he doesn’t come up with two outs and none on nearly as often as a No. 3 hitter does. Lineup simulations will often suggest batting a team’s best hitter second, and while that may be controversial, it’s still just common sense that you’d want one of your better hitters up there so close to the top of the lineup.

Which Fowler might be. But the Rockies have him hitting second because and only because he’s struggling right now. If they thought he was going to hit like he did last year, he’d be leading off instead. Batting him second while he’s racking up outs like this will cost the team runs and maybe a win or two down the line. It’d make a lot more sense to hit him seventh or eighth instead and maybe get Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki up with some men on base.

Latest Posts
  1. David Price got a flat tire on the way to Toronto

    Jul 31, 2015, 11:11 AM EDT

    david price getty Getty Images

    Maybe he’ll see Daniel Norris coming the other way in his van?

  2. Orioles “closing in” on trade for Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra

    Jul 31, 2015, 10:39 AM EDT

    Gerardo Parra Brewers Getty Images

    Milwaukee would receive a starting pitcher prospect in return.

  3. Now the Yankees said to be “aggressively pursuing” Aroldis Chapman

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:49 AM EDT

    Aroldis Chapman AP

    Or, the very least, want the Padres to think they are so as to bring Craig Kimbrel’s price down.

  4. Red Sox are considering moves for Tyson Ross or Carlos Carrasco

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:25 AM EDT

    red sox logo

    They have the worst ERA in the AL, so any starter would be a nice addition.

  5. Cardinals hoping Matt Holliday will play again this season

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:18 AM EDT

    St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

    Another torn quadriceps muscle for the All-Star left fielder.

  6. Padres and Astros said to be “working on something big”

    Jul 31, 2015, 8:55 AM EDT

    astros logo

    I feel like Ken Caminiti has to be involved.

  7. The Cubs and Indians are talking about Carlos Carrasco

    Jul 31, 2015, 8:43 AM EDT

    Carlos Carrasco AP

    He’d be both a 2015 and a future move.

  8. Yankees, Padres said to be working toward a Craig Kimbrel deal

    Jul 31, 2015, 8:18 AM EDT

    Craig Kimbrel Getty Images

    The Yankees bullpen is already a strength. Will it be stronger by 4pm today?

  9. And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

    Jul 31, 2015, 7:34 AM EDT

    Jason Castro Getty Images

    In a night of several walkoffs — including a walkoff walk — Jason Castro had the biggest, helping Houston complete the sweep of the Angels.

  10. So, the Rockies are headhunters now?

    Jul 31, 2015, 3:22 AM EDT

    wong

    It’s fortunate this one didn’t get ugly.

  11. Giants to acquire Mike Leake from Reds

    Jul 31, 2015, 12:24 AM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJhM2ViYTQ1Y2VlY2YzOCZnPWVkMWIyYmQzZjIyZDc1ZDBlM2Q5ZGUwM2I0NGRhODNj Getty Images

    Leake has a 3.56 ERA and 90/34 K/BB ratio in 136 2/3 innings over 21 starts this season.

  12. Video: Jason Castro powers Astros past Angels with walk-off three-run homer

    Jul 31, 2015, 12:00 AM EDT

    HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 03:  Jason Castro #15 of the Houston Astros swings at a pitch in the second inning during their game against the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park on June 3, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The Astros completed a three-game sweep of the Angels and now hold a two-game lead in the American League West.

  13. Cubs, Blue Jays, and Dodgers among teams interested in Yovani Gallardo

    Jul 30, 2015, 11:29 PM EDT

    Yovani Gallardo Getty Images

    Gallardo isn’t going into the trade deadline on a high note, as he has allowed five runs in three straight starts.

  14. Report: The Diamondbacks have made an offer for Aroldis Chapman

    Jul 30, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT

    Aroldis Chapman AP

    The Diamondbacks are trying to make a play for All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman.

  15. Video: Ryan Rua hits inside-the-park home run against Yankees

    Jul 30, 2015, 10:20 PM EDT

    ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 30:  Ryan Rua #16 of the Texas Rangers celebrates his in the park homerun against the New York Yankees in the fourth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 30, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

    It was made possible due to a misplay by Jacoby Ellsbury in center field.

  16. Orioles talking to Brewers about Gerardo Parra

    Jul 30, 2015, 9:33 PM EDT

    against the Milwaukee Brewers at Chase Field on July 23, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. Getty Images

    The Brewers traded center fielder Carlos Gomez to the Astros earlier tonight along with right-hander Mike Fiers and they could be close to another deal.

  17. Report: Reds willing to trade Jay Bruce to Mets for Zack Wheeler

    Jul 30, 2015, 9:08 PM EDT

    CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 18:  Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds takes an at bat during the game against the Cleveland Indians at Great American Ball Park on July 18, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) Getty Images

    As the Mets try to pick up the pieces after their deal for Carlos Gomez fell apart, they reportedly have an interesting proposal to consider from the Reds.

  18. The Dodgers have already designated Michael Morse for assignment

    Jul 30, 2015, 8:40 PM EDT

    Michael Morse Marlins Getty Images

    Morse is owed $8 million next season, but the Dodgers covered it in order to complete Thursday’s 13-player trade with the Marlins and Braves.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. C. Hamels (5655)
  2. C. Gomez (4588)
  3. T. Tulowitzki (4280)
  4. M. Trout (3863)
  5. J. Cueto (3818)
  1. C. Gonzalez (3597)
  2. A. Rodriguez (3573)
  3. D. Price (3400)
  4. T. Clippard (3111)
  5. J. Bruce (2894)