## Pinch hitting: The Blog of Champions

January is traditionally a slow month for baseball news. So for the second year in a row, we will showcase other blogs with a series of pinch hitters.

Next up is Jeremy from The Blog of Champions.

Jeremy started his blog in June of 2008 after reading Phil Hughes’ blog. Jeremy is a die=hard fan who still regrets falling asleep after the fifth inning of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

Here’s his post:

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At Mark Teixeira’s introductory press conference. Yankee manager Joe Girardi was asked if Tex would bat third or fourth and was quite non-committal. Since he seems to be struggling with this decision, I’ll add my two cents. Here goes:

Tex has spent the majority of his career batting either third or fourth. Batting third, he has had 1,375 at-bats, with a .311 average, 82 home runs, 293 RBI, a .573 slugging percentage, and .394 on-base percentage. Pretty awesome numbers. Batting fourth, he has had 1,257 at-bats with a .278 average, 77 homers, 247 RBI, a .523 slugging percentage, and a .378 on-base percentage. Last year in Atlanta, he batted in the fourth spot behind Chipper Jones, and had a .277 average, 19 homers and 74 RBI. When traded to Anaheim, he batted in the third spot ahead of Vladimir Guerrero, and had a .366 average, with 14 homers and 47 RBI in just 56 games. So it seems he bats better when being protected by a great hitter.

A-Rod, on the other hand, will most likely bat fourth if Tex bats third and vice versa. So what are his stats? Batting third, he has had 2,787 at-bats, with a .303 average, 223 home runs, 590 RBI, a .602 slugging percentage, and a .396 on-base percentage. Great numbers. Batting fourth, he has had 2,310 at-bats, a .300 average, 170 homers, 485 RBI, a .569 slugging percentage, and a .394 on-base percentage. A-Rod still has amazing numbers no matter where he bats, but batting third is where he bats best.

So Tex and A-Rod both bat better batting third. A dilemma, indeed. Here’s a sample lineup for both scenarios (based on the current roster)

Damon, LF (bats left)

Jeter, SS (right)

Tex, 1B (switch)

A-Rod, 3B (right)

Posada, C (switch)

Matsui, DH (left)

Cano, 2B (left)

Nady/Swisher, RF (Nady right, Swisher switch)

Cabrera/Gardner, CF (Cabrera switch, Gardner left)

Or,

Damon, LF

Jeter, SS

A-Rod, 3B

Tex, 1B

Posada, C

Matsui, DH

Cano, 2B

Nady/Swisher, RF

Cabrera/Gardner, CF

Personally, I like Tex batting third. He has much better numbers batting third than when he bats fourth, and while A-Rod’s numbers batting third are better than when he bats fourth, they are very similar. Tex also has had great success when protected by a great hitter, such as A-Rod. By having Tex bat third, you have a better balanced lineup that is harder for opposing teams to mix and match, because Tex is a switch hitter.

But, let’s face it; no matter the order of the lineup, the Yankees still have a damn good offense. If things don’t work out, you can move Tex to fourth, or even fifth, and experiment with A-Rod batting second. The possibilities are endless. So I leave it up to you. Where do you think Tex should bat? Third, or fourth? Let the debate begin.

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Good job, Jeremy. My ideal lineup would be:

Damon

Jeter

Teixeira

Rodrigiuez

Matsui

Posada

Cano

Nady/Swisher

Gardner

Coming tomorrow: Joe from Fowl Balls.