Conventional wisdom might say that the heart of the order comprises the 3-4-5 spots in a lineup. Pssshhh. Recent statistical evidence has shown that teams are better off batting their best hitter—or at least better, more well-rounded hitters—in the No. 2 spot.

Why? Simple: To maximize the number of plate appearances—both in a game and over the course of a season—that go to the top bats, as well as to better take advantage of the impact hitters immediately following the second spot.

Gone are the days of having contact-making, move-the-runner-over types inhabiting the 2-hole. Instead of Omar Infantes, clubs are using Mike Moustakases. And that’s just one real-life example, courtesy of the Kansas City Royals. Other nontraditional second hitters? Try Joey Votto, Josh Donaldson and even Mike Trout, which explains why their clubs actually rank first, second and third, respectively, in OPS from that lineup position.

Funny, but the numbers so far are bearing this out, as the top three lineup positions in terms of OPS in 2015 just so happen to be the No. 3 (.811), No. 4 (.784) and No. 2 (.755) spots in the one-through-nine.

By comparison, second hitters last year ranked fifth in OPS (.714), behind third (.800), cleanup (.751), fifth (.732) and even leadoff (.715).

Want even more proof? Here are the OPSes at the second spot since 2011: .711, .714, .719, .714 and—get this—.752 this year so far. That’s quite a hike.

That in mind, let’s run down the top five 2-3-4s in baseball, based on a combination of historical track record and 2015 performance so far, with a little extra emphasis on the latter. After all, there’s now a new “heart of the lineup” to consider.

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