Why The Texas Rangers Would Benefit By Moving Michael Young To the #2 Hole

The Texas Rangers are 11-2, boast the best record in baseball, and won seven straight games over the Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, and Detroit Tigers. I am ecstatic that they have started so well and my hopes for the season are through the roof, but while most fans are looking at all the things the Rangers are doing well, could there possibly be something that could make them even more of an offensive threat?   The Rangers have one of the deepest starting lineups in all of baseball; they are dangerous from top to bottom, but they could take their offense to another level by moving Elvis Andrus out of the two hole and replacing him with Michael Young.

April 17, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) hits a sacrifice fly against the Boston Red Sox during the third inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

Elvis Andrus is entering his 4th season as the everyday shortstop for the Rangers. He spent the last two seasons in the top two spots in the lineup; he has totaled 1,700 at bats in his career with 1,667 coming from the 1st, 2nd, or 8th spot.  He gives the Rangers a ton of speed at the top of the lineup, he can pressure the defense with any ball that he puts in play, and his .271 career batting average hitting #2 is above the league average of .268 for #2 hitters last season.  With that being said,  Andrus is not a huge threat sandwiched between Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton: when Kinsler is on base, the pitcher can focus on him more because they are not afraid of making a bad pitch to Andrus. Most Rangers fan will say that they are happy with Andrus to this point in his career and the progress that he has made throughout the past two seasons, but moving him lower in the lineup may give the Rangers more offensive firepower.

April 19, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Texas Rangers designated hitter Michael Young (10) walks in the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

Michael Young had a career year last year : he had his 6th 200 hit season of his career, and he finished with a career high .338 batting average. Young has started off very well this season hitting 5th in the Rangers lineup, but he has experience batting in the second spot.  He has a .310 batting average and .358 on base percentage in 3,395 attempts at #2. Young is a fantastic hitter who has shown throughout his career that he can work pitch counts and hit well to all fields no matter what the count.  He obviously doesn’t have the speed that Andrus has, but him batting behind Kinsler could force pitchers to give Kinsler better pitches to hit.  It would also give the Rangers the ability to shift the entire lineup up a spot, which would allow Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli to move to the #5 and #6 spots in the order better suited for power hitters.

Making these changes and moving Andrus into the #9 spot in the order gives the Rangers even more flexibility because it gives them the ability to have Elvis on base when Kinsler comes up to bat which will allow Elvis to give them a leadoff hitters mentality at the bottom of the lineup.  Andrus has improved dramatically over the past two season at taking walks and finding ways to get on base, if he is able to do that and use his speed to distract pitchers from Kinsler and the top of the lineup ,it could add a new element to the Rangers potent offense.

It is still very early in the season, and Andrus will likely turn things around without the Rangers ever making a change, but with a team playing so well it’s fun to look at things that could make them even better.

Do you think the Rangers would be better moving the lineup around or do you like the way it is?

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Topics: Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Texas Rangers Batting Order

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  • bks05b

    I agree that this would be a fantastic move for the Rangers to make! 

  • GhostOfRubenSierra

    I believe the idea has some merit, however I think a great comparison can be made to another Ranger great. Pudge Rodriguez hit second for a long time because of his contact potential putting the ball in play nearly every at bat. But when moved to the 3 or 5 hole he was able to have more of a run producer mentality and really showed what a hitter he was.

    I think Young is much better as a run producer, considering his stellar batting average with RISP and I would hate to see him losing at bats moving runners over and sac bunting. This seems like the perfect role for Elvis, and he has the speed to turn sac bunts into hits. Plus, it’s hard to argue with 12 – 2!

    • Jbrumit

       @GhostOfRubenSierra You make a very good point and I do see the comparisons to the great Pudge Rodriguez, its very hard to argue with the product that the Rangers are putting out there right now and Young is really thriving thin the position he’s in.  I just think back to when Elvis was the leadoff man and the pressure he put on teams when he got on in front of Kins and at the bottom of the lineup it could be beneficial.  The Rangers are making things look very easy right now so even if I was the manager and thought the way I do about this I wouldn’t change anything right now.

  • jamesabel7

    Im sorry but i do not agree with this at all, first i do not want Cruz moving up in the lineup.  He is a very overrated player, he gets really hot and can smash and he also has times he cannot hit a beach ball.  I am not saying hes not good but imo hes overrated.  i want him right where he is in the 7hole. I like Young being down in an RBi spot because he makes a lot of contact which in turn produces runs.  If they made a change i would like to see Elvis leading off, Then we can talk Young second hambone 3rd beltre 4th and Kinsler 5th.  This what i would like to see.

    • Jbrumit

       @jamesabel7 Thanks for the comment James, I think having the versatility that the Rangers have with their lineup is a great advantage to have.  The ability to have Napoli and Cruz hitting as low in the lineup as they are is something no other team can match even with Cruz having ups and downs.  Elvis is improving every day and its hard to think hes still as young as he is and will only get better, you make a good point about his plate coverage and discipline allowing him to make a lot of contact.  I think moving him down would make him like a lead-off guy batting in the bottom of the lineup, but like I said it is very hard to argue with anything that the rangers are doing right now I just thought this would be a good discussion point.

      • jamesabel7

         @Jbrumit Hey many no problem, i enjoy reading about and discussing the rangers its a lot more fun these days since they are so good right now.  I see your points and i dont think you are wrong with what you say at all, because its always nice having a lead off type guy in the 9 hole. And you are correct the rangers have so many more options than any other team in baseball honestly i dont really remember a team that was built as well as this one all around.   An as you said its hard to argue anything the rangers are doing.  And Young would do well in the two hole.  it is just my opinion that if a change was made that i would like to see elvis leadoff (because i think he has grown to be able to do this and do it well)  And with kinslers power his HRs are usually with nobody on so that kinna sucks.  But in your case elvis could be that man on.  But to me goin elvis, young (would see a lot of pitches due to hamilton behind him) hamilton, beltre, kinsler and napoli behind him.  This would be almost unfair honeslty glad its my favorite team and not the opponent lol.  But to me that provides more protection throughout the middle of the lineup and more rbi opportunities.  But owell wash makes the decisions and with the results that have taken place who are we to argue.  Bu it us fun to discuss.  Keep up the good work i enjoy talkin rangers we can have some discussions over the year.  I look forward to it. 

  • GhostOfRubenSierra

    I think yesterday’s 7 – 3 win was a great example of Wash using this lineup efficiently. Twice Andrus selflessly sacrificed runners into scoring position only to have the meat of this lineup knock runs in. That’s great baseball. People seem to forget, when Andrus leads off he’s expected to get on base, and who else on this team is going to do the dirty work that he accomplishes in the 2 hole? I still say Young is too valuable as a run producer to waste at his at bats moving runners.

    • jamesabel7

       @GhostOfRubenSierra Great points this is something i over looked, was the value elvis provides in being able to sac himself to have a runner in scoring position for the heart of the lineup.

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