Now, according to Tom Tango's The Book, our absolute best hitters should be in the 2nd and 4th spots, with the next best being in spots 3 and 5. If they aren't, we only lose a measly handful of runs per year, but the basic thrust of the idea is that we want spots 2 through 5 to make pitchers scared. Well, did we accomplish this in the NL?
As before, the National League average BABIP and wOBA had been added (slapped onto the right side of the graph). This way we can get a better, visual feel for our performance with respect to the league. Here are the noteworthies:
A) Very low BABIP at the top of the order. I think, again, that has to do with Soriano and his aching knees. I expect Theriot and Fukudome will split time at the top of the order in 2010, which should presumably bring both the BABIP and wOBA back to league norms. But, as we noted earlier, 2-5 is where the money is...
B) Let's break this 2 through 5 group down:
#2: League average, slightly low BABIP. Pitchers aren't really scared of league average.C) Except, surprisingly, the #6 spot, which was a pleasant .012 above NL wOBA. Oddly, the main characters of this scene include: Soriano [169 PA], Fontenot [132 PA], and Soto [117 PA]. These guys all had down years (the latter two suffering from BABIP issues), but they all were able to produce above average numbers from the #6 spot. I think we can chalk this up to random fluctuation.
#3: Okay, now we're talking. League average #3 wOBA = .371, our #3 wOBA (i.e. Derrek Lee) = .388. In a word, good.
#4: And good day to you too, sir! Ramirez and Lee combined to give us a #4 wOBA exactly .030 above average. Pitchers are quaking at this point.
#5: Well, it's about league average or worse from here. That's not good. Essentially this means we had two fear-inducing, run-creating machines in our lineup, and then pillows of "feh" surrounding them...
D) Even with a bad BABIP, our pitchers out-wOBA'd most of the NL. That's saying something. Something very insignificant in terms of our run production, but something nonetheless.
Next: Batting Splits by Runners Context!
Side note: Read this article about Cuban defectors. It is, at the very least, fascinating.