The Mets had a very good lineup last year, but in my opinion it wasn't optimized.
I'm sure everyone has their opinion on who should bat where, and here's my hack at it.
Fernando Tatis / Daniel Murphy
As I detailed here, there is a right way and a wrong way to platoon Tatis and Murphy.
So let's first re-visit how they should be used:
Let's look at Tatis and Murphy and see if the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.So with that said, where does this potential dynamic duo best fit in the lineup?
Fernando Tatis, RH Hitter, 2008:
vs RH: 167 AB, .287 BA, .353 OBP, .527 Slg, .880 OPS, 10 HR, 28 RBI
vs LH: 106 AB, .311 BA, .393 OBP, .415 Slg, .809 OPS, 1 HR, 19 RBI
Daniel Murphy, LH Hitter, 2008:
vs RH: 121 AB, .306 BA, .391 OBP, .455 Slg, .846 OPS, 1 HR, 14 RBI
vs LH: 10 AB, .400 BA, .462 OBP, .700 Slg, 1.162 OPS, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Right away we see the issue--Tatis hit righty's and lefty's with almost equal effectiveness, but his power is down against lefty's. When you view his career splits, the numbers are equal. In other words--he doesn't fit the mold.
So let's dig a bit deeper, and look at both players home and away stats:
H: 143 AB, .350 BA, .409 OBP, .545 Slg, .954 OPS
A: 130 AB, .238 BA, .327 OBP, .415 Slg, .742 OPS
H: 67 AB, .284 BA, .380 OBP, .463 Slg, .842 OPS
A: 64 AB, .344 BA, .417 OBP, .484 Slg, .901 OPS
More obvious disconnects. Tatis thrived at Shea and Murphy thrived on the road. We'll have a new park in 2009, so we'll have to see if this was more psychological than anything else.
One last key to these player's differences--type of pitcher.
Each fared well against average and finesse pitchers, but against power pitchers, Murphy, with his short stroke, has an enormous edge.
Tatis: 73 AB, .229 BA, .297 OBP, .361 Slg, .658 OPS
Murphy: 35 AB, .314 BA, .467 OBP, .543 Slg, 1.010 OPS
To me it's obvious: second
Both players bring certain strengths to the 2 hole.
With Tatis, you get exceptional RBI ability. To whit, in 2008 he batted .392 with RISP and .308 in Late and Close situations.
The case for Daniel Murphy is even stronger.
Murphy had 63 at-bats in the #2 hole in 2008 and batted .333. Moreover, he hit .375 with RISP and .450 in Late and Close situations. Now in the interest of full disclosure he only had 20 at-bats in Late and Close, but he did produce 9 hits.
By putting these two hitters at the top of the lineup--and hitters they are--you get exceptional punch, the ability to hit to all fields, the opportunity to play the "right guy against the right pitcher", and high OBP where it matters most--before your thumpers reach the plate.
It almost makes too much sense.