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MANAGERS SOMETIMES SPEND HOURS trying to concoct the consummate batting order. Then they try again the next day. Such is the difficulty of finding the optimum lineup when no team has hitters ideally suited for every spot. But what if you could pick nine batters from among all the players in the big leagues? Sure, you'd choose the best player at each position, as in an All-Star Game, and it wouldn't matter in what order they hit. But what if you had to pick your players based not on their position in the field but on the batting order spot in which each one hit most often last season? You'd want a hitter who best fit the ideal profile for each spot. For instance, you wouldn't find an All-Star at the bottom of the order, but you would find a player adept at getting on base to set up the hitters at the top. And what would your lineup look like then? It would look something like this.
BA: Batting average
OBP: On-base percentage
SLG: Slugging percentage
RISP: Runners in scoring position
All stats are overall 2004 season numbers unless otherwise noted.