Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, and #2 Hitters

Before yesterday’s game, Dusty Baker talked about his line-up choices, specifically his decision to stick with Zack Cozart in the #2 spot in the order despite his .261 on base percentage. From John Fay’s article:


“You’ve got to learn some kind of way,” Baker said. “Someday, he’s going to be an excellent second hitter. We’re teaching guys how to hit at the big league level. There’s a difference between swinging and hitting.”

The original plane was to hit Brandon Phillips second. He was moved to cleanup after Ryan Ludwick was hurt on Opening Day. Choo (7), Chris Heisey (7), Derrick Robinson (6), Cesar Izturis (5) and Xavier Paul (3) have hit second.

“You can’t hit everyone down in the order,” Baker said.

Baker has dismissed the idea of hitting Joey Votto second, so Cozart it is. Baker had Cozart in the his office early Thursday afternoon to talk hitting.

“He’s got to stay out of the air, No. 1,” Baker said. “There’s nothing up in the air but outs. He had it for a while. But this is the nature of the game. Nobody’s up all the time. He had dug himself a pretty big hole to start the season.

“He’s hit some balls hard and got nothing. In my mind, hitting the ball hard is not struggling.”

Cozart hit .246 with a .288 on-base last year.

“Every year’s different,” Baker said. “They call it sophomore jinx. I think it’s sophomore adjustment.

While there’s a decent case to be made for hitting Votto second, there are some disadvantages. Having Choo and Votto back to back would make it very easy for opposing managers to deploy their LH specialists in high leverage situations without forcing that pitcher to face any right-handed bats in order to get both. While the traditional mindset of what a #2 hitter should be is mostly foolish, there is some value in putting a right-handed hitter between Choo and Votto. And so, here’s my question; why isn’t Todd Frazier at least getting some consideration?

He’s not a high OBP guy either, but outside of Choo and Votto, the Reds don’t really have any high OBP guys. Relative to the rest of his teammates, Frazier kind of is a high OBP guy. He’s also right-handed, and has enough power to make lefty specialists pay if they come in to face Choo and try to stick around long enough to face Votto.

Here are their 2013 numbers, side by side.

Name PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Todd Frazier 340 10% 23% 0.159 0.292 0.241 0.332 0.400 0.323
Zack Cozart 367 4% 15% 0.126 0.252 0.231 0.261 0.356 0.267

So far this year, Frazier has basically been Cozart with an extra 70 points of on base percentage. Cozart actually has 27 extra base hits to Frazier’s 26, so you can’t really argue that Frazier’s power would be wasted in the #2 spot while hitting Cozart there. In actuality, Frazier’s power might be getting wasted in the #6 spot, where he’s most often hit this year.

Here are the amount of baserunners each of the Reds first six hitters in the line-up have had when they came to the plate this year:

1. Choo, 173
2. Cozart, 241
3. Votto, 250
4. Phillips, 288
5. Bruce, 277
6. Frazier, 214

You might think having Frazier hitting 6th is useful to drive in the middle of the order guys and keep rallies going, but in Phillips and Bruce, the Reds already have two moderate-to-low OBP guys who drive in a large percentage of their baserunners and don’t really leave much for Frazier. Note the giant drop-off from Bruce to Frazier; this is the residue of hitting behind a guy with a .323 OBP who also has launched 18 home runs.

The only real advantage Cozart has over Frazier is in contact rate, which is one of the traditional methods of deciding who hits second. Managers have been putting high contact slap hitters in the #2 hole in the order for decades, as they liked the ability to put on a hit-and-run without fear of the batter swinging through the pitch and getting the runner thrown out. They also prefer to have a #2 hitter who can hit the ball to the right side to get the leadoff hitter from second to third and setup a sac fly for the #3 hitter; they call this “playing the game the right way”, even though it’s really making two outs and having a rally end with just one run scored.

But, here’s the thing: Cozart hasn’t even really been any better at this kind of situational hitting than Frazier has. Cozart has hit with a man on second and nobody out 24 times, and has moved that runner to third on 15 of those 24 opportunities, good for a 63% “success” rate. Frazier has had 19 opportunities to do the same, and has moved the runner to third 12 times. 12 out of 19 is — drumroll please — 63%.

What about the speed aspect? Some managers like having a distraction on the bases in front of their big hitters, hoping that the threat of a stolen base will lead to more fastballs or less concentration from the pitcher when facing a hitter who can make them pay. Well, Cozart has 141 opportunities to steal a base this year, and he hasn’t run once. Of the regulars, Cozart is actually the only Red who hasn’t attempted a steal this year; Frazier is 5 for 7, if you’re curious.

I know that Dusty Baker is never going to be a big fan of FanGraphs, or our way of thinking about baseball, but hitting Todd Frazier in the #2 spot instead of Zack Cozart isn’t that radical of a suggestion. You’re still using a right-handed hitter to break up the lefties. You’re still putting a guy near the top of the line-up who isn’t a primary run producer. He’s not slow, so he’s not going “clog the bases”. He draws walks, which Baker clearly sees as valuable from his leadoff hitter, since that is Shin-Soo Choo‘s primary skill.

If you want to point to Todd Frazier’s strikeout rate as a disqualifier, I’ll simply point out that the difference between Cozart’s 15% K% and Frazier’s 23% K% would add up to about 25 extra strikeouts over the remainder of the season, and that’s if you believe that Cozart won’t regress back to something closer to the 18% mark that he posted last year. Instead of striking 25 times, Cozart will instead make 25 in-play outs, some of which will result in a runner advancing and some of which will result in a double play. Cozart’s additional contact skills won’t actually add much value to the Reds.

But Frazier’s massive advantage in OBP would. Right now, the difference is 70 points. The ZIPS/Steamer forecasts project a 30 point advantage in Frazier’s favor of the rest of the season. Even of just half a season, that would add up to about 10 extra times on base for Frazier compared to Cozart. 10 extra times that Votto comes up with a man on, or that instead of having Choo at second with one out and first base open, now there are runners at first and second and they can’t pitch around the Reds first baseman.

In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t the end of the world. Batting order doesn’t make that big of a difference. The Reds can make the playoffs with Zack Cozart hitting second. But, really, for a team in the playoff race, they should be taking advantage of every opportunity they can find to improve their chances of winning, however small those improvements might be. I get that hitting Votto second is too radical of an idea for Baker, but hitting Frazier second isn’t quite as crazy sounding, and it would make them better too.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


48 Responses to “Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, and #2 Hitters”

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  1. Retirenutting says:

    As a Pirates fan, I hope Dusty sticks with Cozart.

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  2. Ivan Grushenko says:

    To Baker’s credit he is hitting Choo first despite his not being anything like Willy Taveras.

    +29 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Richie says:

      What Ivan says. This lineup selection actually shows progress from where Dusty once was.

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      • Mike says:

        Does it?

        If Choo were playing another position would he be batting leadoff? Center fielders bat lead off for Dusty. Shortstops tend to bat second for Dusty. It has been that way for 21 years running.

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  3. NWein44 says:

    Good take. Specific batting order doesn’t make a huge difference, but putting your worst hitter between your best hitters and in a position to get a lot more at bats than they would if they hit 8th just doesn’t make any sense. And even if you’re someone like Dusty who loves bunting, Cozart was below league average in sacrifice bunt success for his career entering yesterday.

    When the only reason to do something is because “we’ve always done it this way,” it’s probably time reevaluate your decision making. It’s too bad, because I like Cozart a lot on defense and generally root for guys who aren’t particularly talented, but Dusty is just setting him up to fail.

    http://newenglishd.com/2013/07/11/zack-cozart-cant-hit-second/

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    • Jux Berg says:

      Exactly, Neil.

      Dusty seems to be listening, as he dropped Cozart down to the 7-hole on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It probably had something to do with the ending of Thursday night’s game…

      Did you guys see that ending?

      Cozart is up with 2 outs in the top of the 9th against Kimbrel–a man on base and Votto on deck. Kimbrel’s first 2 pitches were so far out of the strike zone that even Cozart didn’t chase.

      2-0 count…

      Take sign! Please give him the take sign!

      Nope. Cozart swings at Ball 3, a fastball high and inside.. and pops out to end the game with Votto on-deck.

      In my book, that’s a fireable offense for Dusty there. No way in hell you let a guy with that low of a BABIP and OBP swing away there with your best hitter on deck. I had a field day writing about that the next day.

      But at least Dusty dropped Cozart down ever since–although it was probably because team owner Bob Castellini threated to castrate him if he didn’t.

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  4. DevilInLaw says:

    As a Choo owner, I feel like 70% of the time that Choo is on first base, Cozart hits a fielders choice which forces Choo out at second base. Any way to verify this? … Regardless, Cozart in the 2 hole is like giving away a free out via the bunt, it’s an idea without any real merit.

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    • NWein44 says:

      Runner on first only (usually Choo, not always), less than 2 outs, I count 15 instances in 48 PA in which Cozart either hit into a FC or a double play in which the runner was put out.

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    • Jux Berg says:

      Not only that, but when Choo is on second, Cozart has hit a ground ball to the left side more than once, keeping Choo at second. Frustrating.

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  5. Joey C says:

    I’m just curious, how would you take into account the ten times toward the bottom of the order that someone wouldn’t be on base due to Frazier moving up in the order and Cozart moving down? I know it’s still more valuable to have guys on for Votto, Phillips, and Bruce rather than the catcher and left fielder of the day, but you can’t just say that switching will give Votto ten better opportunities for the rest of the season without taking into account the change later on in the lineup, can you?

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    • Richie says:

      Good point. Which I think accounts for why lineup order is so secondary. As astoundingly awful as Dusty is at it, it’s light years short of a fireable offense.

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      • jfree says:

        A. Lineup order doesn’t matter much to the team.

        B. Lineup order can make a huge monetary difference to a player

        There is a big opportunity here for a team to turn their lineup into an explicit incentive plan – a reward for players who achieve particular goals (OBP, SLG, contact, SB%, etc). That sort of incentive plan is exactly the sort of thing that can motivate player skills improvement – and if those skills improve overall, then the team will certainly benefit by having a stronger lineup from top to bottom.

        Obviously Dusty is not ever going to be the manager to do this — a young lineup with no big long-term contracts/egos like HOU/MIA/SEA is where it would work best.

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  6. Eric says:

    If Cozart played 3B and Frazier was SS, Frazier would be batting 2nd. It’s sad, but it’s also very true. Dusty says SS bats 2nd, SS bats 2nd. By the way, I’m glad to see someone else making a case for Frazier to bat 2nd. Speaking Dusty language, he’s a big believer in “protection.” He talks about guys hitting in front of Votto seeing more fastballs. Only Votto, Choo, and Bruce hit the fastball better than Frazier. You would think this would give Dusty even more incentive to hit Frazier 2nd. Sadly, 3B don’t bat 2nd.

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  7. Pat Sopko says:

    It’s quite the “talking pt.” if Votto should swing more. I still think the optimum order is just drop Cozart to late in the order and move all up a spot. I think Dusty’s biggest failing is over-valuing Phillips’ hitting ability. Last time I looked even Frazier had a higher wOBA.

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  8. Jaker says:

    “Having Choo and Votto back to back would make it very easy for opposing managers to deploy their LH specialists in high leverage situations without forcing that pitcher to face any right-handed bats in order to get both.”

    Who cares? Votto is still posting a .369 wOBA vs lefties. And BP is posting a .357. I can’t see how that isn’t far better than Cozart/Frazier in the 2 hole.

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  9. Jaack says:

    The obvious option is to move Cozart to second base, since second basemen make the best number 2 hitters /actualmanagerialthinking

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  10. J6takish says:

    “He draws walks which Baker clearly sees as valuable”

    The only skill that qualifies Choo to leadoff is that he plays center field. Center fielders leadoff, shortstops hit second, catchers bat 8th. That’s playing the game the right way

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    • Ctownboy says:

      EXACTLY!!!!

      In 2008, Corey Patterson, Ryan Freel, Norris Hopper, Jay Bruce and Jerry Hairston, Jr. all played CF for the Reds and ALL of them hit lead off.

      In 2009, Wily Taveras was the CF and he hit lead off.

      When Drewe Stubbs was with the Reds, he played CF and mostly hit lead off.

      Walt Jocketty got rid of Stubbs and picked up Choo (for his OBP). Choo plays CF and bats lead off.

      Since 2008, Alex Gonzalez, Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Paul Janish and Zach Cozart have played SS and ALL have hit second.

      Most of these players have had low Batting Averages and low On Base Percentages but, for Baker, it doesn’t matter because the Center Fielder HAS to hit first and the Short Stop HAS to hit second.

      I swear, if Baker were the manager of the Big Red Machine his batting order would go as follows:

      CF Geronimo
      SS Concepcion
      2B Morgan
      1B Perez
      LF Foster
      3B Rose
      RF Griffey
      C Bench
      P

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      • Ian R. says:

        Just for fun, I took a look at the leadoff, #2 and #8 hitters Dusty Baker has used throughout his career. The results:

        1993 Giants
        Leadoff: Darren Lewis (CF)
        Second: Robby Thompson (2B)
        Eighth: Kirt Manwaring (C)

        1994 Giants
        Leadoff: Lewis
        Second: John Patterson (2B), Thompson
        Eighth: Manwaring

        1995 Giants
        Leadoff: Lewis and Deion Sanders (CF)
        Second: Thompson and Patterson
        Eighth: Manwaring

        1996 Giants
        Leadoff: Marvin Benard and Stan Javier (CF)
        Second: Thompson and Bill Mueller (3B)
        Eighth: Manwaring and Rich Aurilia (SS)

        1997 Giants
        Leadoff: Darryl Hamilton (CF)
        Second: Jose Vizcaino (SS)
        Eighth: Brian Johnson, Damon Berryhil and Rick Wilkins (C)

        1998 Giants
        Leadoff: Hamilton (CF) and Marvin Benard (RF)
        Second: Mueller
        Eighth: Johnson, Rey Sanchez (SS) and Brent Mayne (C)

        1999 Giants
        Leadoff: Benard
        Second: Mueller
        Eighth: Mayne, Scott Servais (C) and Aurilia

        2000 Giants
        Leadoff: Benard and Calvin Murray (CF)
        Second: Mueller
        Eighth: Bobby Estalella and Doug Mirabelli (C)

        2001 Giants
        Leadoff: Benard and Calvin Murray (CF)
        Second: Aurilia
        Eighth: Ramon Martinez and Pedro Feliz (3B)

        2002 Giants
        Leadoff: David Bell (3B) and Kenny Lofton (CF)
        Second: Aurilia
        Eighth: Yorvit Torrealba (C), Tsuyoshi Shinjo (CF), Bell, Santiago and Feliz

        2003 Cubs
        Leadoff: Mark Grudzielanek (2B) and Lofton
        Second: Alex Gonzalez (SS) and Grudzielanek
        Eighth: Damian Miller and Paul Bako (C)

        2004 Cubs
        Leadoff: Todd Walker (2B) and Corey Patterson (CF)
        Second: Patterson and Derrek Lee (1B)
        Eighth: Michael Barrett (C), Martinez and Bako

        2005 Cubs
        Leadoff: Jerry Hairston (CF), Patterson and Neifi Perez (SS)
        Second: Perez
        Eigth: Barrett and Henry Blanco (C)

        2006 Cubs
        Leadoff: Juan Pierre
        Second: Walker, Ryan Theriot (2B), Ronny Cedeno (SS) and Perez
        Eighth: Cedeno and Blanco

        2008 Reds
        Leadoff: Hairston, Patterson, Chris Dickerson (CF), Jay Bruce (RF) and Ryan Freel (CF)
        Second: Jeff Keppinger (SS)
        Catcher: Bako, David Ross and Ryan Hanigan (C)

        2009 Reds
        Leadoff: Willy Taveras (CF), Drew Stubbs (CF) and Dickerson
        Second: Hairston and Paul Janish (SS)
        Eighth: Hanigan, Gonzalez, Janish, Craig Tatum (C) and Corky Miller (C)

        2010 Reds
        Leadoff: Brandon Philips (2B!), Orlando Cabrera (SS) and Stubbs
        Second: Cabrera and Phillips
        Eighth: Ramon Hernandez (C), Hanigan and Janish

        2011 Reds
        Leadoff: Stubbs and Phillips
        Second: Phillips and Edgar Renteria (SS)
        Eighth: Janish, Hanigan and Hernandez

        2012 Reds
        Leadoff: Zack Cozart (SS) and Phillips
        Second: Stubbs and Cozart
        Eighth: Hanigan and Devin Mesoraco (C)

        2013 Reds
        Leadoff: Shin-Soo Choo (CF)
        Second: Cozart (SS)
        Eighth: Hanigan and Mesoraco

        Notes:
        Baker really has been consistent about having his center fielder bat leadoff, albeit less so in the last couple years. He started the 2002, 2003 and 2004 seasons with a non-CF leading off, but in each year he had a center fielder in the spot by season’s end (Kenny Lofton in ’02 and ’03, Corey Patterson in ’04). 2012 was the first season in which he’s gone pretty much the whole year without using a center fielder as his leadoff hitter, and even then he snuck Drew Stubbs in there 17 times.

        He’s actually been a little more flexible in the #2 spot, although that’s chiefly because of the presence of Bill Mueller, an old-school two-hole hitter if there ever was one, on so many of his Giants teams. Since 2001 he’s been very consistent about putting a middle infielder in that spot.

        The 2001 Giants were the only Baker-managed team where the catcher, an aging Benito Santiago, didn’t bat eighth. Santiago was the worst-hitting everyday player on that team.

        Ramon Hernandez batted in the 8-hole for the 2010 Reds despite being one of the team’s best offensive players. His .364 OBP was second only to Votto (albeit in only 94 games).

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  11. chuckb says:

    Brandon Phillips is another option for the 2 hole if Dusty insists on someone right-handed. Still, Frazier’s a decent choice as well. Nevertheless, trying to use logic to get Dusty to change his mind is beyond futile.

    As others have said, he’s made quite a bit of progress going with Choose first.

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    • chuckb says:

      *Choo first.

      Damn auto-complete.

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      • Ctownboy says:

        Again, Jocketty got rid of Drew Stubbs and picked up Choo because of his OBP skills. Jocketty, knew that Baker HAS to bat the CF at the lead off position, no matter what.

        So, it wasn’t really Baker who put Choo as the lead off hitter because of his OBP skills, it was Jocketty getting a guy for a position that he knew Baker couldn’t resist hitting in that position……

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  12. Ctownboy says:

    Toothpick Baker’s refusal to bat two left handed batters back to back is unbelieveable.

    It worked fine for Ruth and Gehrig.

    Utley and Howard.

    I believe that Bobby Cox sometimes used three left handed batters in a row when the Braves were winning NL pennants and Championships.

    The excuse of not batting two lefties in a row because the opposing manager might bring in a lefty reliever in the middle or late innings of a game is a case of CYA for a manager.

    Since most starting pitchers are right handed, there is a very good chance that if you have some good left handed batters that they will do well early in a game against that pitcher so there wont be a need for a left handed reliever later in the game. However, for those few times in a season that the two left handed batters are shut down by a left handed reliever in a tight situation, NOT batting them back to back is a built in excuse for a manager to cover there behind when it comes time to answer to reporters.

    So, of course, batting Choo and Votto first and second (or Votto and Bruce second and third) makes since but to cover his behind in the few instances a year that that doesn’t work in a tight game, Toothpick HAS to split them up.

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    • CB says:

      There has actually been a handful of games this season in which Baker did stack two lefties, batting Choo 2nd and Votto 3rd behind switch-hitting Derrick Robinson a few times against lefties. This was mainly motivated by Choo’s poor overall performance against lefties–evidently enough to merit a line-up demotion, though not by much.

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  13. BubbaBiscuit says:

    To start off with a disclaimer, I absolutely despise Dusty Baker, the human being as well as Dusty Baker, the baseball manager.

    It seems that everytime I bother to read quotes and interviews of this moron, I find more evidence that he should not have a job in baseball. Putting aside my hatred, I have NO idea how this man continues to be employed from a performance standpoint. Managers can only contribute so much to a team’s on-field performance, but I have yet to see how Dusty Baker does any part of it in a way that is beneficial rather than detrimental. May he never come near a job at a team I care about again.

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    • Mcneildon says:

      He strikes me as a stubborn and stupid man unfit for making decisions affecting professional baseball games, but why do you despise him as a human being? It’s an honest question. Is he some kind of super jerk?

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      • BubbaBiscuit says:

        His comments and thoughts on race are enough for me. However, combine that with a willing distrust of math and reason and that is more than enough. I don’t blame anyone for their ignorance, but I do blame them for their inability to accept that new information can and should change their previously held beliefs and opinions.

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      • Grand Admiral Braun says:

        Upon his exodus from the Cubs, Baker implied that Chicago was the home plate of racism. He would also use his son as a shield prop during post-game press conferences in order to hopefully alter the tough questions and criticism.

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    • Naliamegod says:

      From what I understand, he gets employed because players adore him and he’s excellent when dealing with egos. Similar to Joe Torre, but with worse managing skills.

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  14. Jay29 says:

    Kenny and Reynolds are talking about this now on MLB Now. Wish Brian Kenny would’ve printed out this article and gone down it point by point. Of course, Harold Reynolds doesn’t listen to reason, so it would fall on deaf ears.

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  15. RobL says:

    The only thing more reliable than Dusty batting the cf 1 and ss 2, are the people who claim it. Phillips was supposed to bat second this year (without moving to ss). When Ludwick was hurt in the first game, Heisey was given the shot to play left (not ss) and hit second. He promptly played his way out of that and then injured himself. Robinson has hit at the top of the order quite a bit resently (however, his numbers have decreased with more at-bats0.

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    • big red machine says:

      Bottomline, who has hit 2nd the most this year for the Reds? Cozart. It is worth discussing… and Dusty definitely deserves any flack he gets for doing it 63 times so far this year in 93 games…

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    • Richie says:

      It’s silly to argue that Dusty is intentionally batting CF 1st, 2B 2nd, C last automatically. As Ian R up above shows. But it’s just so much fun.

      Dusty’s just uber much ‘Old School’ in wanting Fast Guy 1st, No Power Guy (ergo good bat control) 2nd, and Remaining Bad Hitter 8th, which for 80% of your teams will be a catcher.

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    • Ctownboy says:

      Typical Dusty Baker apologist.

      Ian R takes the time to do the research to show that, during his time as Reds’ manager (2008 – 2013) that there have been many different players to bat lead off for the Reds and, no matter what their skill set, the preponderance of them have been center fielders.

      Ian R also took the time to do the research to show the number of players who have hit second for the Reds over the same number of years (he left off Alex Gonzalez). That research ALSO shows that a number of different players have hit second but, like with the lead off spot, no matter what their skill set, the majority of players to do so and to get the majority of the at bats have been short stops.

      The point is, when Baker has a chance to make a decision, he DOES THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER.

      Yes, Ludwick getting injured early in the season threw a monkey wrench in the plans. However, there were OTHER PLAYERS Baker could have chosen to bat second but HE WENT WITH THE SHORT STOP!!!!

      When confronted with this odd decision that keeps failing, Baker, like usual, got defensive, agitated and abrasive and spit out a bunch of incoherent non sense as an answer. Just like he did in 2008, when Corey (two pitch at bat) Patterson was the flailing and failing lead off hitter.

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    • Ruki Motomiya says:

      Ian R’s numbers hardly lie. Whether it is intentionally him thinking of the positions or an inherent bias or team construction, Dusty Baker has predominately used a CF first, a MI second and a C 8th.

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  16. Brett W says:

    As a Cubs fan, I’d say Baker hit 2B second during his time here more than SS. That might be primarily due to his options, namely Grudzielanek and Todd Walker v. Alex Gonzalez or Nomar.

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  17. JuanPierreDoesSteroids says:

    I want to believe that the reason that Choo isn’t a corner outfielder is because the Reds really don’t believe they have another option. I don’t want to believe that its because Dusty will think he will have to bat Choo 7th if he isn’t a CF.

    I want to believe it sooooo bad…

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  18. Matty Brown says:

    Dusty Baker, Ignorance, and #2 Hitters.

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  19. D says:

    Last night , Cozart made the last out with the tying run on base and Votto on deck. I imagine it’s in the “acceptance” stage of grief for Reds fans by now.

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  20. Jonathan says:

    How much of a difference would Frazier make? Really? BP….that’s the best option.

    Choo
    BP
    Votto
    Bruce/Frazier
    Frazier/Bruce
    Mez
    Hesisy
    Cozart
    P

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    • GoodasGoldy says:

      That’s how I saw it from the day Ludwick went down (Choo-BP-Votto-Bruce-Frazier). With Ludwick out Bruce behind Votto makes so much sense given some of the short comings of the other Red hitters.

      It baffles how Dusty continues to be averse to having Bruce behind Votto. Both are well above .800 OPS hitters against lefties. To set an entire lineup strategy around LOOGY-phobia is just crazy. If he’d set up an optimized lineup he would greatly reduce the percentage of times a LOOGY would be used against him.

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  21. rob says:

    One thing many people overlook is how Brandon Phillips himself is very old-school and said recently because he hits clean-up his goal is to get 100 RBIs. His stats in the #4 Spot are better than in any other slot and his .avg and .obp with RISP is way above-average. He furthermore remarked that he dislikes hitting 2nd because he doesn’t feel as much pressure to perform there which he needs.

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  22. FeslenR says:

    And I thought Jerry Manuel was a bad manager….

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  23. david says:

    not all managers have the stones of bob melvin: batting his catcher second and ss/2b fourth.

    granted, melvin has also been really good about managing the team that he’s given: platoons and all.

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  24. David says:

    Lo and behold, it has come to pass! And only a month after this article …

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