A few weeks ago in Cincinnati I asked Ian Desmond if he preferred hitting in the 2 slot and he said he absolutely loved it. He always felt like he was more a part of the action in the 2 hole, and saw better pitches.
At that time, he had had only 34 at bats in the 2 slot, but the numbers were much better for him at the plate from the top of the order than anywhere else.
Now with 78 plate appearances in the #2 slot, the numbers are still very good and usually better than if he batted further down in the order: BA .324 (best), 7 doubles (tied), 1 triple (2nd), 3 homers (tied), 9 RBI and 6 stolen bases (best). He has also has started in the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th slots.
It is common sense, of course, that you would get better pitches at that spot, but with Desmond up there instead of, say, the traded away Cristian Guzman, you have better speed and more of chance of stealing some bases and wreaking havoc on the opposing pitcher’s psyche.
Desmond said Friday that he was “trying to slow everything down and kind of take a different approach. I am not putting as much pressure on myself. Hits come when you do that.”
With injuries to Nyjer Morgan and the trade of Guzman, Desmond has gotten a lot more opportunities at the top of the order and has taken advantage of it. It seems like a better fit all the way around to have a him at the top, his on-base is .342 and his slugging is .568, both better numbers for him than in at the bottom of the order.