We had a good debate (well, sort of) over at Bernie's Press Box about the merits of batting Carlos Beltran second in the lineup. First of all, a brief opinion on philosophy: I like the idea of combining power, and a healthy walk rate, in the No. 2 hole. Always have.

The strategy worked well for Tony La Russa during his 16 seasons in St. Louis. Over the 16 years, TLR always put a potent bat in the 2 spot when he could, and received strong production there from guys like Ryan Ludwick, J.D. Drew, Jim Edmonds, Chris Duncan, Colby Rasmus, Larry Walker, Ray Lankford and Edgar Renteria, just to name a few. With La Russa frequently adjusting his lineups, there was never a fixture at No. 2. But the players I cited had lots of plate appearances batting second for him. And their numbers there were good.

Over the 16 seasons, the assortment of St. Louis No. 2 hitters were tied for first in the NL in onbase percentage (.345) were third in slugging percentage (.432), and first when you combine the two for an OPS figure of .774. TLR's No. 2 hitters hit 305 home runs over 16 seasons, the most from that lineup spot in the NL. And the No. 2 hitters were third in extra-base hits and RBIs. So La Russa certainly made his concept work. Over his 16 seasons as manager here, only Colorado scored more runs in the NL, and Coors Field had something to do with that.

OK, so what about Beltran and the 2012 Cardinals? Does it make sense?