When B.J. Upton left the Rays, not only did the Rays lose an amazing center-fielder and a playoff hitter, they lost a speedster. Upton was one of the fastest runners on the team; he and Desmond Jennings (or Carl Crawford) were known for getting on base, stealing bases, and scoring when the power hitters were up at-bat. Now that Upton is gone, Jennings remains at the top of the batting order, but the Rays haven’t decided who will be batter number two.
According to Wikipedia, the leadoff hitter is the fastest baserunner on the team and its his job to get on base and to score when the powerful hitters come up to bat – Jennings is the fastest player on the team and one of the most consistent batters on the team so it makes sense that he is the leadoff hitter. The second batter should be a “contact hitter with the ability to bunt a baserunner over or get a hit.” These baserunners should be quick to avoid batting into double plays and managers prefer left-handed batters because of the “gap in the infield cause by the first baseman holding the leadoff batter”.
Out of the nine games played so far this year, Sam Fuld (4), Matt Joyce (3), and Sean Rodriquez (2) have been in the two-hole.
- Sam Fuld: Fuld is known for his speed and his batting average (BA) is .111 – the lowest on the team – with a on-base-percentage (OBP) of .241. His average BA is .241 and OBP is .322.
- Matt Joyce: Joyce is a lefty and is batting .174 with a OBP of .240. His average BA is .253 and OBP is .342.
- Sean Rodriquez: Rodriquez is able to run and is batting .143. with a OBP of .250. His average BA is .225 and OMP is .301.
So far this season, none of the three have been impressive; but most of the Rays have not been hitting or getting on base. Fuld and Rodriquez are both fast baserunners and capable of bunting, while Joyce is more likely to get a hit and is a left-handed batter. Since Fuld and Rodriquez are utility players and Joyce only plays when the pitcher is a right-handed pitcher, this could mean the Rays may not have a permanent two-hole batter this season.