Ranking the best 3-4-5 combinations in baseball

The middle of the order. It's where teams stuff their best, most powerful hitters. Once you hit anywhere from the third spot to the fifth spot in a lineup, you're a part of a select fraternity. A secret club. A club in which A.J. Pierzynski was hanging out last year, for some reason. He was fishing olives out of the jar with his hands. Dammit, Pierzynski, you ruined the secret club.

But most teams do stuff their best hitters from Nos. 3-5. It's the section that should get fans excited when the lineup turns over. Our goal today is to rank all 30 middle-of-the-orders. Middles-of-the-order. Seems like there should be a better term for it, a single word, like morgfostench, after the German word for the middle of the order for the '77 Reds. We need to figure out which team in baseball has the best morgfostench.

This will be a two-part process:

The first step will be to take the three-year adjusted OPS for every player listed as amiddle-of-the-order hitter on Roster Resource, then average the lineup rankings for each team. This is imperfect because it will weight one-year samples for young players like Aaron Altherr and Maikel Franco too highly, and it will treat players on their way down the same as players on their way up. Carlos Correa and Matt Holliday both have a 132 OPS+ in this search, but I know which one I would rather bet on for 2016.

The second step is to adjust the rankings however I feel like. It's easier than weighting the last year of the sample for all 90 players and building in some sort of age-related decline. That still wouldn't make for a perfect ranking, and it wouldn't satisfy my god complex, either.

If you have a problem with the exact 3-4-5 hitters in question, yell at Roster Resource, not me.

To the rankings!

30. Philadelphia Phillies

29. Atlanta Braves


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