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The Best Middle of the Order That Nobody Talks About

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When you hear about awesome 3-4-5 guys in the middle of a batting order, you would generally expect a reference to the Yankees' A-Rod-Teixeira-Cano monster, or maybe St. Louis' Pujols-Holliday-Rasmus trio of power.

But I'd like to point everyone in another direction, towards a trio of hitters that have essentially held up their entire offense so far. Because while Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper are getting all of the attention in the nation's capital this week, Washington's 3-4-5 hitters, 3B Ryan Zimmerman, 1B Adam Dunn and LF Josh Willingham, are presently the only triumvirate in baseball to each have respective wOBA's over .400 and RAA's over +15 already.

Now, Washington has struggled to fully take advantage of the league's most productive trio of hitters so far. They rank 5th in the NL in wOBA, but they're only 9th in the league in runs scored, as they've gotten underwhelming production from guys who were expected to contribute, like Nyjer Morgan, Christian Guzman, Ian Desmond and Adam Kennedy.

Currently, Zimmerman, Dunn and Willingham combine to be roughly 51.3 runs above average, the best total RAA for any three teammates in the game. The Tigers provide the second-best offensive threesome in the game, but it's a group of guys that you wouldn't expect beyond the main guy: Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez and...    Brennan Boesch (seriously, this guy has been mashing for a while now). But even with Cabrera accounting for over half of their RAA, they can't quite match the Nats' trio.

What makes that +51.3 RAA so impressive, though, is that it accounts for essentially the entirety of the team's positive offensive contributions. The remainder of the position players on that team outside of those three currently have a -16.7 RAA on the season as a whole. The team's most productive hitter outside of those three this season, based on RAA, is utility player Mike Morse, and he's had a total of 28 PLATE APPEARANCES in 18 GAMES so far this season.

So yeah, Dunn might not be around after this season, and Zimmerman is the only one of those guys that provides any value with the glove, but right now the Nationals are showing off three of the best hitters in baseball, and I don't think that enough people have noticed that yet. People are getting really excited about the possibility of Harper putting on monster showings of power in Nationals Park RFK (Why did I think that they still played there..?) soon, but the fans of D.C. could get that right now if they want to watch the middle of their team's order. It's too bad that watching the rest of the lineup is such an unfortunate exercise, though.

Also, I have a list of the best offensive teammate threesomes so far this season after the hip hop.

The Best Offensive Trios in Baseball by RAA as of 6/11/2010

1. Zimmerman/Dunn/Willingham, Washington - 51.3 RAA

2. Cabrera/Ordonez/Boesch, Detroit - 50.3 RAA

3. Cano/Swisher/Gardner, New York (AL) - 48.9 RAA

4. Morneau/Mauer/Hudson, Minnesota - 46.2 RAA

5. Youkilis/Beltre/Martinez, Boston - 44.9 RAA

6. Guerrero/Hamilton/Cruz, Texas - 42.3 RAA

7. Pujols/Rasmus/Holliday, St. Louis - 41.8 RAA

8. Votto/Rolen/Phillips, Cincinnati - 38.6 RAA

9. Konerko/Rios/Jones, Chicago (AL) - 38.0 RAA

10. Longoria/Zobrist/Crawford, Tampa Bay - 37.8 RAA

11. Bautista/Wells/Gonzalez, Toronto - 34.7 RAA

12. Hart/Braun/Fielder, Milwaukee - 33.4 RAA

13. Byrd/Soriano/Soto, Chicago (NL) - 32.8 RAA

14. Ethier/Kemp/Ramirez - Los Angeles (NL) - 29.7 RAA

15. Heyward/Glaus/Hinske, Atlanta - 29.6 RAA