Garrett Jones isn’t a typical player to have batting second in any lineup. As a guy that drives in runs and hits for power, he needs to be hitting fourth or fifth. Not only is he a power hitter, he is also a player that lacks the ability to draw walks. The ideal type of player to have hitting second is a guy that is able to put the ball in play and get on base, or a guy that can advance the guy on first to second base. Jones does have plenty of experience hitting second in his career, he is a .270/.336/.532 hitter in the two-hole.
Those numbers look really good. I mean, Jones is slugging .532 in that spot. The problem is that he may be slugging .532, but when hitting second, the likelihood of having guys on base in front of you isn’t that great. As a fourth hitter or a fifth hitter, the odds of having guys on base when you are batting are much higher. Home runs aren’t as useful when they are solo shots.
I can think of two guys that would be better fit for hitting second for the Pittsburgh Pirates: Neil Walker and Russell Martin.
Walker is a career .278/.323/.465 hitter in the second spot in the order, while Russell Martin is a .234/.332/.286 hitter in the two-hole. Walker is better against right-handed pitching than Martin, so the easy solution would be to bat Walker second in the batting order against right-handers and to bat Martin second against left-handed pitchers.
Walker and Martin have shown the ability over their careers to get on base, and they aren’t exactly candidates to hit 25 home runs every season like Jones has the capability to do. Quite frankly, hitting Garrett Jones second is wasting his power potential. He needs to be hitting fifth, with Pedro Alvarez hitting fourth and Andrew McCutchen hitting third.