The “Ryan Doumit Batting Third” Experiment Must End

By Brian Wille
Ryan Doumit MLB: Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

In an experiment, there is a certain process that scientists or average people make when testing whatever it is they want an answer to. First, a person will make an educated guess about how the experiment will go—a hypothesis—then they will test out there guess with some different variables while they collect data and then they will analyze the data and come up with a conclusion. Now this wasn’t meant to be a science lesson, but it seems as if the Minnesota Twins are conducting their own experiment with their lineup over the past week and change namely by placing Ryan Doumit in the number three spot in their batting order. Well, after a few trial runs over the past week or so the results are in and the answer is fairly clear: Doumit does not belong in the third spot in the lineup.

Now, first off, I have nothing against putting Doumit at third occasionally, but he is not a third hitter for a long period of time. The reason Doumit got placed in the third spot in the first place was because he was hitting the ball well in Milwaukee and carried it all the way into the series against Washington, but he since has proven that he does not belong in the third spot.

Doumit can be a very serviceable hitter and he can go through stretches where he is very productive, however—like many streaks in baseball—they don’t last for long. Doumit is a career .269 hitter and if that doesn’t scream “not a three hitter” then you can begin to look at the other options available on the Twins and compare them to Doumit and make your own interpretation. The Twins employ the greatest hitting catcher of this era—and quite possible any era when it’s all said and done—in Joe Mauer, a powerful left-fielder in Josh Willingham and a former MVP in first basemen Justin Morneau, all of whom are capable and better options to bat third than Doumit is. Not to mention, the Twins also have a very talented outfielder by the name of Oswaldo Arcia who has the potential to hit like a number three hitter, but still needs more time to develop. So you’re telling me that any of those options aren’t better than Doumit to bat third? That’s ridiculous.

Again, I understand that you can try and ride out Doumit’s hot streak for a while and place him third in the batting order, but you have to know it’s only a stopgap and there will come a time when you have to pull the plug. Doumit is 3-27 over the past eight games, of which the Twins are 3-5 in, so the hot streak for Doumit has clearly ended and it’s time to go back to a more stable and reliable three hitter like a Morneau, Mauer or Willingham to take the reign if the Twins intend on contending in 2013.

As Kenny Rogers best put it in his song The Gambler, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run.” Apparently the Twins haven’t got the message or they never heard Rogers’ philosophical lyrics because now’s a time to change the lineup and run and yet, they are standing still with their feet in cement.

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