There are some pretty interesting stats that the Pirates seem to have begun to pay attention to, relative to specific players' spots in the batting order. Here are some highlights:
1. Clint Barmes CANNOT bat seventh anymore. This year, he's batted .182 batting seventh (88 AB), while he's batted .221 batting eighth. Admittedly, neither stats are great, but catch this ...
2. Rod Barajas MUST ALWAYS bat seventh. He's batted .163 while hitting eighth, but .301(!) when hitting seventh. In addition, Mike McKenry has batted .462 when hitting seventh (.250 when hitting eighth).
This seems to show that there is a particular skill set required when hitting ahead of the pitcher, and the catchers don't have it. Barmes at least seems to understand what it takes and has elevated his game (okay, that's a stretch) a bit hitting eighth.
3. Pedro Alvarez DOES NOT enjoy batting fourth. We all knew that, but his stats show he was hitting .140 there, while hitting ..387 and .286 hitting fifth and sixth, respectively. Conversely, ...
4. Garrett Jones has batted .305 hitting fourth and only .229 hitting fifth.
I noticed these trends a while ago, apparently about the same time Hurdle did, because these successful lineups are what we've seen from the Pirates for the past few weeks. A couple more tidbits:
5. Jose Tabata has hit much better (.270) batting second than leading off (.197). However, no one has really lit it up batting leadoff: Presley-.251, Sutton-.174. Jay Hay is the exception, batting .313 in a small sample (16 AB).
6. Neil Walker should bat 2nd (.292) or 5th (.327), not 4th (.231) or 6th (.200). He has been.