Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Russell Martin is one of three hitters who have hit second in the first four games. Photo credit: David Hague At the end of Spring Training, the Pittsburgh Pirates started using Garrett Jones as a number two hitter. I wrote about the topic during the final week, and noted that Clint Hurdle said the team was also looking at Neil Walker, Russell Martin, and Travis Snider as other options. He also said that they would be looking for some consistency throughout the year. So far the number two hitter hasn’t been consistent. Jones started there the first two games. Martin hit there the third game. Walker started there tonight. Walker is the favorite among Pirates fans to be the number two hitter. He’s got a decent OBP and hits for average, with a career .279/.339 line. Those aren’t spectacular numbers, but the Pirates have had some pretty miserable OBP numbers in recent years, and not a lot of better individual options. Not many people are open to the idea of Martin being a number two hitter, pretty much due to his historical numbers. His OBP has dropped in each of the last four years, going from .385 in 2008 to .311 last year. His OBP the last two years has been .317, and that’s not what you want to see out of a guy who is supposed to be setting up the heart of the lineup. Garrett Jones isn’t your typical number two hitter. He’s a power guy and doesn’t have a good OBP, making him a better option a few spots down in the lineup. However, he hit second for 104 plate appearances in 2011, and had a .286/.356/.538 line. Looking at the overall numbers, Walker would be the clear choice for a number two hitter. But let’s look at the splits. vs Left-Handed Pitching Neil Walker – .264/.319/.356 Russell Martin – .270/.383/.444 (.226/.356/.524 in 2012) Garrett Jones – .198/.237/.353 vs Right-Handed Pitching Neil Walker – .286/.347/.449 Russell Martin – .255/.341/.382 (.205/.290/.352 in 2012) Garrett Jones – .278/.347/.501 Looking at those splits, Walker and Jones clearly do well against right-handed pitching, but they struggle against left-handers. Walker doesn’t struggle as much, which should be expected from a switch hitter. Martin’s career stats are better than recent years, so I also included the 2012 splits. He was bad against right-handers last year, but crushed left-handers. Now let’s look at how Clint Hurdle has set up the lineups the first four games. Game 1: Garrett Jones bats 2nd vs RHP Game 2: Garrett Jones bats 2nd vs RHP Game 3: Russell Martin bats 2nd vs LHP Game 4: Neil Walker bats 2nd vs RHP Looking at the splits above, I’d say it’s the right call to bat Martin second against a left-hander. If you look at the overall numbers, you wouldn’t see it, but when you break it down, Martin is clearly a better option than Walker or Jones. As for right-handed pitchers, Hurdle has used Jones twice and Walker once. They’re both good against right-handers, although I think Walker might be suited best for the number two spot, if only because Jones would be better suited for the number five spot due to having more power. I certainly don’t agree with everything Clint Hurdle does. In fact, I disagree with more than I agree with. In this case, I can’t fault any of the decisions. Jones or Walker would be good options against right-handers, and my preference would be Walker, with Jones batting in the middle of the order. Looking at the overall OBP, Russell Martin would be a horrible number two hitter. Looking at the splits, he’d be a strong number two hitter, as long as he’s only doing that against left-handed starters. If it were my call, the lineup would have Walker batting second against right-handers, and Martin batting second against left-handers. Links and Notes **The 2013 Prospect Guide and the 2013 Annual are both available on the products page of the site. If you order them together, you’ll save $5. Get them both to use throughout the 2013 season. **Prospect Watch: Alex Presley Starts the Year With a Hot Bat. **Nick Kingham Gets Too Comfortable With His Fastball In Marauders Loss. **Minor League Schedule: 4/6/13. **Can James McDonald Be More Like the First Half Pitcher From 2012? **Pirates Notebook: Notes from the First Series. **Pirates Notebook: Jonathan Sanchez Making Pirates Debut. **Pirates’ Bats Stay Cold in L.A. as Bucs Lose 3-0. **Draft Prospect Watch: Stanek Throws Eight Shutout Innings.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Andre Johnson requests to be traded or released

James Harden suspended for groin kick to LeBron James

Mark Cuban will play the President in 'Sharknado 3'

Five most exciting one-bid conference tournaments

Report: Redskins interested in Ndamukong Suh

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Darrelle Revis likely to hit free agent market

Le'Veon Bell could face up to a four-game suspension

Report: Giants place franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul

Vikings GM: Team has spoken with Adrian Peterson

Yu Darvish on notion he quit on Rangers: ‘That’s BS‘

Tiger Woods' agent refutes drug suspension claim

WATCH: Whiteside, Len ejected after getting into wrestling match

WATCH: Texas-Baylor fight leads to seven ejections

Nik Stauskas wears Michigan State gear after lost bet

Bret Bielema takes away player's car after DUI

NHL player traded after daughter's heartbreaking letter

Curt Schilling unloads on Twitter trolls again

Pirates Corey Hart cut his foot getting into a whirlpool

Steve Spurrier joins Twitter, jabs Clemson

Michael Jordan makes his first Forbes billionaire list

Nick Young rips ESPN anchor over Iggy Azalea insult

Sad LeBron literally looks in mirror after loss to Rockets

Could Holly Holm be a worthy challenger for Ronda Rousey?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Texas-Baylor fight leads to 7 ejections

Mark Cuban will be Prez in 'Sharknado 3'

Report: Redskins interested in Suh

Report: Revis likely to hit free agency

Steve Spurrier joins Twitter

MJ makes Forbes billionaire list

Nick Young fires back at Robert Flores

Sad LeBron literally looks in mirror after loss to Rockets

MLS 2015 season preview

Report: Broncos to franchise Demaryius

James Harden kicks LeBron in groin

Lynch: 'I was expecting the ball'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.