Criteria for the second hitter in lineup
Sep 24, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) steals second base ahead of the tag by Texas Rangers second basemanRougned Odor
(12) during the sixth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Typically, the second hitter in the lineup is a left-handed hitter, to make it a little harder for the catcher to try to pick-off the guy at first. The early thought was also that the batter would partially shield the view of the runner trying to steal second. This is not always the case with a number two hitter, because a good right-handed hitter will be just as good.
The second hitter has normally been someone with good ability to make contact on the ball, to advance the runner with a bunt or well placed out. You typically don’t see someone who grounds into a large amount of double plays hitting second either, so speed and some power might be ideal. The speed could also factor in with potential double steal attempts.
Bottom line is that the number two hitter should be able to advance the runner, to allow for the big sluggers to have runners in scoring position.
The Stats below are from ESPN. These are the stats from the players batting in the number two hole of the 2014 Astros lineup.
Surprisingly enough, the number two hitters in 2014 had better numbers than the lead-off hitters. Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Robbie Grossman were the players that batted second the most. Grossman and Altuve also flipped back and forth between lead-off and the second place hitter.
Next: Why Would Springer Bat Second?