The Batting Lineup
The order in which the offense players line up to bat is anything but random. Instead, the batting lineup is carefully crafted by the team manager, and the final lineup card must be presented to the umpire before the start of the game. It is illegal to bat out of order, and any team that does so will be penalized.
The strengths and weaknesses of each player are carefully considered by the manager in order to maximize the team's chances of scoring the most number of runs.
- The first player up to bat in the lineup is referred to as the leadoff hitter. Traditionally, the player with the highest on-base percentage, and consequently the greatest speed and chances of successful batting, will be selected as the leadoff hitter
- The second hitter in the lineup is typically a left-handed contact hitter, comfortable with batting sacrifice bunts
- The third hitter, who tends to be the player with the highest batting average
- The Fourth hitter also referred to as the "cleanup", who is typically the team's strongest batter, able to drive in runs with extra-base hits
- The fifth and sixth hitters are the next best hitters on the team
- The seventh and eighth hitters are often considered to be the players who are relatively weaker batters.
- Finally, the ninth hitter typically performs as a second leadoff hitter, with a strong on-base percentage.