When putting together a batting order, a coach must look at many factors to ensure an electric offense. Sure, he could just scribble down a batting order, but chances are, this will not maximize the results and play to each batter’s strengths and weaknesses.
Evaluating Your Batters
Before determining a batting order, it’s important to qualify each of your batters and determine what type of hitter he is. Let’s look at some possible categories:
- Contact Hitter: This is the guy who can make contact with the ball consistently. The great thing about these players is that they rarely strikeout; however, they may be a weaker hitter and have slow batting speed.
- Power Hitter: Everyone knows this guy! He’s the one who pulls out the big plays, but he can also be a liability with higher-than-average strikeouts due to foul balls.
- Fast Runner: This guy may be an average hitter or a contact hitter, but he’s above average when it comes to speed and stealing bases. While his batting may not set him apart, his ability to make headway around the bases is key and very valuable.
- Valuable Fielder: This guy may not be a stellar batter, but he’s got great defensive skills.
Developing the Lineup
Once you’ve determined what types of hitters you have on the roster, go ahead and start using their stats to put together a game-winning batting order. Here are some suggestions:
- Batter #1: Pick the guy with the highest on-base percentage. You want a guy you can count on because this spot generally sees a lot of at-bats.
- Batter #2: Choose a batter who can advance the runner. This can happen either with a solid base hit, or even with a weaker batter at-bat who can allow time for the runner to steal.
- Batter #3: Best hitter goes here!
- Batter #4: This spot goes to a power hitter, someone who can drive the ball and make a big play.
- Batter #5: Pick a solid contact hitter who can advance the remaining runners, including your power hitter who hopefully just got on base.
- Batter #6-7: Choose consistent hitters who can sustain a rally.
- Batter #8-9: Typically your worst batters, as they will likely won’t see as many at-bats as those earlier in the line-up.
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