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The #2 Hole: Good To Get It Right, Important At Least Not To Get It Wrong

So let me be clear that personally I would like to see Jack Cust, not Orlando Cabrera, in the #2 hole. Cust flat out gives you .060 points of OBP over Cabrera on a career basis, which is vital in the #2 hole, and most important of all (to me) I want to see Cust batting ahead of Giambi, Holliday, and Chavez, not behind them. Cust batting 2nd will score a ton of runs, while Cust batting 6th will come up time and time again in spots where a walk will be far less helpful, and where a strickout will be far more harmful - and 308 of Cust's 2008 at bats ended with one of those. Personally, I don't care about the strikeouts in the #2 hole, as they are preferable to DPs and I don't think the A's should be running or "smallballing" much at the top/middle of the order anyway.

But I'm a negotiator, a diplomat as it were, and if the A's like the idea of a high average, high contact hitter in the #2 hole I'm willing to bend a little. Here's my plea to Geren, Beane, and all the other A's brass who scrutinize AN daily eagerly searching out my feedback on these kinds of decisions: If you must bat Cabrera in the #2 hole at all, at least have the sense to bat him #2 only against LHP, Cust #2 against RHP. Career stats:

Cabrera vs. LHP: .280/.344/.400
Cabrera vs. RHP: .272/.315/.399

Cust vs. LHP: .228/.368/.424
Cust vs. RHP: .243/.388/.493

I can live with the .344 OBP in the #2 hole over Cust's .368, which at least gives you 50 points of batting average and splits the lefty and righty hitters nicely. But I cannot live with a .315 OBP in the #2 hole, period, and certainly not over Cust's .388 (or the OBPs Buck or Sweeney could offer, which against RHP figure to be around .350). My best offer:

vs. RHP                          vs. LHP

Buck - RF                       Buck - RF
Cust - DH                       Cabrera - SS
Holliday - LF                   Cust - DH
Giambi - 1B                    Holliday - LF
Chavez - 3B                   Giambi - 1B
Suzuki - C                      Suzuki - C
Sweeney - CF                Chavez - 3B
Ellis - 2B                        Ellis - 2B
Cabrera - SS                 Sweeney - CF

This way, you maintain a .344+ OBP throughout the top of the order, Cust is always in front of the boppers, your lefties and righties are nicely split, and your #9 hitter is a good fit for that spot in the order. Thank you, and have a nice day.