Today’s lineup has a little bit of a wrinkle:
Wrapping up the homestand with Blach on the bump!— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) May 20, 2018
First pitch: 1:05 PM PDT ⚾️
Okay, it has a few wrinkles, but the one I’ve decided to focus on is Buster Posey batting second. It’s only the 10th time in his career he’s started at that position in the batting order, and overall, in 11 games and 42 plate appearances, he’s put up a .317 / .310 / .512 line. That’s right: a lower on base percentage than batting average (his career split is .308 / .376) and he has 8 strikeouts and 0 walks.
So, the big question for today is: can Buster Posey draw his first walk ever while batting second? The larger question moving forward is will we see this happen more often? Buster Posey is perhaps not an ideal candidate to be at the top of a lineup (the Giants don’t run very much, and he’s more likely to ground into a double play than most of the other options at this spot in the order, negating any on base ability of the leadoff dude), but he’s been the Giants’ best candidate to hit second since before Andrew McCutchen’s arrival.
The math shows that, on average, this spot in the lineup gets about 20 more plate appearances over a season than the 3rd spot and even more than the 4th spot. Buster Posey has been the Giants’ best, most balanced hitter for a while now, but he’s been kept batting third or fourth because of his RBI ability.
Gorkys Hernandez is probably not a leadoff hitter and Brandon Belt isn’t a left fielder, so, this is probably just a throwaway Sunday lineup we’re not likely to see very much of in the future, but I like the idea of Posey batting second more often and think that when Joe Panik returns, the two of them hitting back to back will be a weird mirror image for starting pitchers and umpires alike. The game of baseball is 90% the art of confusion. I think.