Colorado Rockies Should Bat Nolan Arenado Second
The Colorado Rockies lineup is one of the better groups of hitters in the National League. Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer might be the best 3-4-5 combination in all of baseball, but the Rockies lineup could be even better with some minor tweaking.
Right now, the no. 2 spot in the lineup is being filled primarily by D.J. LeMahieu and occasionally Jordan Pacheco or Josh Rutledge. Manager Walt Weiss seems to be comfortable with the idea of putting singles hitters at the top of his lineup in hopes that the big bats in the middle of the lineup will drive those guys in. This is a common strategy for managers, but it might be worth it for the Rockies to reexamine their options.
Third baseman Nolan Arenado has been batting lower in the lineup since being called up to the majors. This is likely an attempt to decrease the amount of pressure being put on him as a rookie. But over the course of a season, each spot in the lineup gets roughly 20 fewer at-bats than the spot before it. This means that batting Arenado sixth instead of second costs him a difference of about 80 at-bats, or an extra 20 games.
This is a significant difference. Arenado has already shown as a rookie that he is a much more dangerous hitter than any of the guys currently occupying the no. 2 slot. His .451 slugging percentage is way higher than any of the previously mentioned players. Putting Arenado ahead of the best hitters in the lineup will also likely give him more quality pitches to swing at.
Right now, pitchers facing the Rockies can attack the no. 2 spot in the lineup with little fear of giving up anything worse than a single. If Colorado moves Arenado up to that spot, it would force their opponents to be much more careful.
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