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Secrets of the AL Central VII - What is Ron Gardenhire Doing?

Admit it, you've recently lost sleep wondering which AL Central team had the best, and worst, #9 hitters in 2008. In fact, you've considered tabulating the numbers yourself, by hand if necessary.

The wait is over.

Here are the cumulative numbers for the #9 hitters of the AL Central last year, sorted by OPS.

  1. Minnesota: .286/.340/.420 (.760)
  2. Detroit: .255/.337/.423 (.760)
  3. Cleveland: .276/.343/.407 (.749)
  4. Chicago: .270/.311/.391 (.703)
  5. KANSAS CITY: .233/.281/.285 (.566)

Amazingly, that .566 OPS by #9 Royals in 2008 was not the worst in the AL. Somehow, the Orioles were worse, ending up with a .220/.257/.297 line. Frankly, I'm astounded that a full lineup slot averaged a .285 slugging for them Treyboys last year. Damn, just damn. Thank you TPJ, Gathright, Maier, German and assorted pitchers. You showed those Orioles a thing or two. Sadly, the Cubs & Brewers both managed higher slugs using the pitcher the majority of the time.

I really don't understand the Twins. Minnesota's #9 slot was more productive than both the 8-hole, which managed just a .672 OPS and the #7 slot (.719). That isn't all, it was also better than both the #1 and #2 slots as well (.688 and .717 respectively). I know the Twins play the game the right way, but I did not know that having your fifth or sixth best hitter hit 9th, with much worse guys at leadoff and second, was part of the right way. Then again, I never played the game and was born after 1955.