Soriano Discovers Joys of Batting with Runners On

The sixth spot in the batting order seems to be suiting Alfonso Soriano pretty well, after all.

From this Daily Herald article: “In 17 games out of the 6-hole, Soriano is 24-for-64 (. 375) with 5 homers and 15 RBI.”

So, .375/5/15 in 17 games, while prior to that, his numbers were .226/14/33 in 82 games.

This might not be proof of anything just yet, but it is enough to establish that he can at least be productive there, sometimes, for short stretches. Which is pretty much how he always hits: sometimes, for short stretches.

But when he’s locked in, he is a beast, to be sure.

So. Can we all agree to stop arguing that he MUST bat leadoff? Because, apparently, it isn’t true.

Of course, some will say “it isn’t a fair comparison for determining whether Soriano bats better in the 6 hole vs. the 1 hole, because of Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez getting on base more in front of him, so OF COURSE he will get better pitches to hit and drive in more runs.” Right. That’s exactly the point. That’s exactly why it makes sense to move a guy like him down in the order.

Fastball hitters will nearly always get better pitches to hit with runners on base. Especially mistake-hitters like Soriano, who will just destroy fastballs delivered to locations he likes (including out of the zone, low, which is his favorite of all). For the opposing pitcher and defense to have guys on base consistently when a hitter like him comes up is not a recipe for success, unless they execute extremely well.

Which they tend not to do as much in August, as compared to, say, October.

So we’ll see where he is in a few more weeks, and how he does in the playoffs, if they get there.

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