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Twins’ versatility up and down the batting order

You can probably guess who’s hit in the most slots.

Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees
Do you remember where he batted in the order this game? I had to look it up. (Leadoff.)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Through 42 games, Rocco Baldelli has penned in 31 unique lineups for the 2019 Twins, only two of which have been seen more than once. Unusually, this has not been due to frequent roster turnover, but primarily because of multiple players with positional versatility and strong depth at certain spots, mainly catcher.

We’ve become used to seeing certain players at key spots in the lineup - Max Kepler leading off, Jorge Polanco following, and so on - but how much have Minnesota’s position players moved throughout the batting order this year? Here’s how much.

(I’m omitting Tyler Austin, no longer in the Twins organization, who started only one game for Minnesota this season and batted ninth.)

Willians Astudillo: eight spots

(most common: 7th)

Despite missing a chunk of time on the IL, Astudillo has been placed everywhere in the order except ninth in his 16 starts, demonstrating himself as a versatility maestro in the lineup as well as in the field.

Mitch Garver: seven spots

(most common: 1st/7th)

Garver’s offensive resurgence has led to his elevation in the lineup. In 20 starts, he’s batted seventh seven times... and led off seven times. (Heal up soon, Mitch.)

C.J. Cron: five spots

(most common: 5th)

Cron has mostly batted fifth, hitting post-cleanup 29 times, but he’s dabbled in every spot from second to sixth.

Ehire Adrianza: four spots

(most common: 8th)

The light-hitting Adrianza has batted exclusively at the back of the lineup, hitting eighth and seventh - appropriately - eight and seven times, respectively.

Jake Cave: four spots

(most common: 6th)

While Cave is currently in Rochester, he’s made 11 starts for Minnesota, each time batting in the lower-middle portion of the order.

Marwin Gonzalez: four spots

(most common: 6th)

My spring lineup predictions have proven to be wrong in several ways. Notably, I guessed González would bat seventh; instead, he has mostly batted sixth, never below that spot.

Max Kepler: four spots

(most common: 1st)

Kepler has filled in well as the Twins’ new leadoff hitter, only batting elsewhere in the lineup five times.

Jonathan Schoop: four spots

(most common: 7th)

Schoop has mostly swapped between seventh (20 times) and eighth (11 times), often depending on which catcher is starting.

Jason Castro: three spots

(most common: 8th)

While Castro has remained in the back third of the lineup throughout the season, he’s been far from a slouch at bat, slugging .612 with five (now six!) homers.

Jorge Polanco: three spots

(most common: 2nd)

When it comes to placing your best hitter in the lineup, second is the new third, and Polanco has been a force in that role through the first quarter of the season.

Byron Buxton: two spots

(most common: 9th)

Buxton has given credence to the idea of the ninth spot as a second leadoff position, as his improved hitting (.822 OPS) and speed mean there’s always a threat for Kepler, Polanco, and company to knock him home.

Eddie Rosario: two spots

(most common: 4th)

Fittingly, the Twins’ leader in home runs (13) nearly always occupies the cleanup spot.

Nelson Cruz: one spot

(most common: 3rd)

The 38-year-old still has enough boom in his boomstick to bat third exclusively. Isn’t this team fun?