Saturday, May 17, 2014


These are the dregs of the lineup, the #7-8-9 slots, where truly proficient hitters rarely exist. (Yes, we know that some batting order combinations, as demonstrated in our 424 HR post a little while back, will come up with some solid-looking numbers, but these are mostly the exceptions.)

As you'll see, the lifetime leaders in these slots do not generate particularly high HR totals. That's because--as noted--the batters on these lists that you recognize as being good hitters did not tend to bat in these batting order positions (BOPs) for very long.

This is particularly true for the #7 slot, where you'll see a number of names that you wouldn't expect to batting there.

The #8 slot does turn up some interesting names, however (and as you look at it, you'll also notice that there are a lot of catchers on the list...something to do with the lingering predispositions of lineup construction). Still, it's strange to see Gabby Hartnett on this list, or Chris Hoiles.

The most surprising name found in the #8 slot, however, has got to be Dwight Evans, who struggled for a number of years as a batter before turning into a near-HoFer.

Back to the catcher connection for a brief stat: 19 of the 28 names on the #8 slot leader list were guys who spent half the game in a crouch.

The most surprising thing about the #9 slot list is that there are still so many pitchers on it. After 40+ years of the DH, you'd have expected there to have been enough "critical mass" to push more of them off the list (or at least further down it). The fact that Wes Ferrell ranks #6 in hitting homers in the #9 slot  is rather astonishing, and (among other things) tell us that he shouldn't have been batting ninth.

A few interesting juxtaposition on the list: Hall of Fame pitchers Red Ruffing, Bob Lemon and Warren Spahn are right behind Farrell in the #7-8-9 positions in the #9 BOP.

And then there's the tie between Don Drysdale and Bucky Dent. Make of that what you will...

Sadly, our old pal, Yuniesky Betancourt, who shoulda coulda hadda chance to top this list with that late surge of hitting, had two things mess him up: 1) he was traded to the National League, where he was unlikely to bat #9, and 2) he got the Big Ticket to Japan after the 2013 season, stopping cold his inevitable rise to the "top" of this list.

All of which is here to remind you that life is bitterly unfair, particularly to those toiling in the margins.