Robin Ventura said Jimmy Rollins is hitting in the 2 hole for their 12:10 game against the Mets today. Now, why is this significant?
The 2-Hole Is One of the Most Important Spots in the Lineup
The 2-hole has been a revolving door for the Chicago White Sox for legitimately years. They’ve tried anything and everything when it comes to finding a serviceable 2 hitter. Baseball in general struggles to evolve from conventional tradition and it adheres to archaic philosophies regarding lineup optimization. That’s why a team’s most “powerful” hitter is often hitting cleanup, the “speedy, scrappy” hitter leads off, worst hitter hits 9 th , so on and so forth. With all of the sabermetric studies prevalent in the game today, a simple Google search will tell you that the 2 hole in the batting order is arguably the most important part of the batting lineup. This article right here gives a long-winded explanation of why you want your best hitter hitting 2 nd . So why does Ventura CONTINUALLY abide by ancient baseball ideologies by hitting Rollins 2 nd ? It’s infuriating. It hurts the team. Over the course of 50ish games so far, is has absolutely cost the team runs, which in turn costs the team wins. AND THEY SAY MANAGERS IN BASEBALL DON’T MATTER! Abreu stinks right now, but either him or Cabrera should be the White Sox two hitters. Why, when science has provided Ventura with such a dearth of information regarding lineup optimization, he continues to hit Rollins 2 nd is INFURIATING.
Tyler Saladino is the Better Defender
Tyler Saladino is a good player who will have a long career playing Major League Baseball. With that said, Tyler Saladino is a ideally utility player on a good team; a player who plays 3-4 times a week all over the field, can play ++ defense, provide a little bit of offense, and can wreak some havoc on the bases. But as it stands now, Saladino should be the starting shortstop of the Chicago White Sox. Why?
1. He plays + defense. This is reason enough for Saladino to be starting right now. If you wanna compare advance metrics of both Rollins and Saladino, standard metrics or use the good old fashioned eye ball test, he’s better defensively than Rollins at this point in their careers any way you shake it. Saladino obviously isn’t going to continue raking like he has for his last 50 at bats, but why not ride the hot hand?
Jimmy Rollins Can’t Hit RHP Anymore
Rollins slash line as a left handed hitter in 2016 is .183/.234/.252 with a .486OPS. Going back to what an ideal 2 hitter should look like, this is the opposite. Jacob deGrom is starting for the Mets today. Why not hit the (hotter) player who’s carrying a slash line of .302/.319/.535 with a .854OPS vs. RHP? And this doesn’t mean Saladino should be hitting in the 2 hole either, though I wouldn’t HATE it if he were. It just means he should be starting today. Especially when you have a sinker ball, contact orientated pitcher in Miguel Gonzales starting for you today – this goes back to having your best defensive short stop on the field when you (ideally) will have a lot of ground balls beaten into the ground off your pitcher.
ALSO – Tyler Saladino is a MUCH BETTER fastball hitter at this stage of their career as well. Though his 2016 sample size doesn’t reflect the type of hitter he is, he is hitting homeruns against fastballs at an 18% clip right now, compared to Rollins’ 5% clip. deGrom hits mid to upper
Now, a growing opinion is that managers don’t matter in baseball all that much. I can see the argument, but I don’t necessarily agree with it. Anyone who has ever been in a dugout will tell you that a manager absolutely, without a hint of a doubt can and does affect wins and losses. I’m of the opinion that most of the affect a manager has on the team cannot be measured by a statistic, but simple shit like lineup optimization can be. Ventura has made a lot of questionable decisions recently; but a lot of the decisions he has made that have left White Sox twitter hashtagging #FIREROBIN can be defended against. Now, sitting a player coming off a 2-2 game with 2 walks, 2 stolen bases, 2 runs scored and a go-ahead, late inning home run for a 37 year old short stop in the twilight of his career is indefensible. Tyler Saladino is the better baseball player right now, period. He has earned the right to start the vast majority of games right now at short stop for the Chicago White Sox. Not starting him is a big “fuck you” to the fans, the other 24 members of the team, and worst of all Tyler Saladino himself.
Even Chicago’s media agrees.