Scenario #2 Ian Kinsler Leads Off, Justin Upton Hits Second
Justin Upton didn’t do so well hitting second for the Detroit Tigers last season.
In a small, 18-game sample size, the outfielder batted just .211 with a .238 on-base percentage.
However, most of this happened early in the season before Upton broke out and started destroying baseballs in the second half.
During the course of a season, a team’s best hitters should be getting the most at-bats. This gives them more opportunities to be successful compared lesser hitters.
Justin Upton is one of Detroit’s best hitters.
Nick Castellanos and Victor Martinez may have warranted looks here, but Castellanos doesn’t take enough walks to warrant hitting for second. Martinez would be ideal given his knack for getting on base, but his base-running output (-11.4 BsR) takes him out of the running.
Upton could find success hitting directly in front of Miguel Cabrera as opposing pitchers could give him more pitches to hit.
Obviously the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays don’t have identical rosters, but the strategy didn’t stop the Jays from finishing in the top 10 in the league in runs scored, on-base percentage and OPS.