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RedsManRick
02-23-2006, 03:29 PM
In an article on HardBallTimes the author has a short section about using projected stats and some complicated analysis to create the optimal lineup. Assuming the projections are right of course, here's what it put out for the Reds (it doesn't have pitchers and requires 9 players so I used Womack as a proxy for our pitcher).

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/ten-things-i-didnt-know/

1. Freel
2. Kearns
3. Dunn
4. Griffey
5. Pena
6. Encarnacion
7. Lopez
8. Larue
9. Womack

I like it! If you take Freel out and add in another "pitcher" Lopez moves to 1, LaRue to 7, and the new "pitcher" moves to 8. In other words, it likes Kearns batting 2nd (as do I) and Womack is the worst hitter in baseball.

gonelong
02-23-2006, 03:32 PM
I like that well enough ... I'd do this ...

1. Freel 2B
2. Lopez SS
3. Dunn 1B
4. Griffey CF
5. Kearns RF
6. Pena LF
7. Encarnacion 3B
8. Larue C
9. Pitcher

/edit - meant to remove Woe-is-the-team-who-starts-me-at-2B-mack. for a pitcher.

pedro
02-23-2006, 03:33 PM
who's pitching?

Redsland
02-23-2006, 03:36 PM
who's pitching?
Well, it isn't Kooky Lefty, that's for sure.

:)

pedro
02-23-2006, 03:39 PM
Even in a situation where the Reds are playing with the DH in an AL park I can't find any reasonable justification for Womack to be in the lineup.

RedsManRick
02-23-2006, 03:52 PM
Even in a situation where the Reds are playing with the DH in an AL park I can't find any reasonable justification for Womack to be in the lineup.

The choice of Womack had nothing to do with his presence on the Reds. It had everything to do with trying to find the worst possible position player I could to approximate the hitting ability of a pitcher. Womack just happened to fit the bill.

Redsland
02-23-2006, 03:55 PM
Speaking of which, when is the Hacking Mass draft?

pedro
02-23-2006, 04:09 PM
Speaking of which, when is the Hacking Mass draft?

I don't know. I got screwed by Pokey Reese and Jorge Cantu last year.

Far East
02-23-2006, 04:18 PM
Even in a situation where the Reds are playing with the DH in an AL park I can't find any reasonable justification for Womack to be in the lineup.
Which brings up the question of who may actually be the DH in the AL parks.

1. Freel
2. Lopez
3. Dunn
4. Griffey
5. Kearns
6. Pena
7. Encarnacion
8. LaRue
?DH. Hatteberg/Valentin? -- depending on R/L opposing pitcher, but not necessarily at #9, however. If E.E. needs a rest, perhaps Aurilia plays 3B, with Encarnacion at DH sometimes. Womack doesn't make my list of the top 11 position players.

I like Freel & Lopez at the expected "base-running" slots.

Love Dunn's respectable foot speed and more than respectable OBP in front of Junior.

Fear that E.E. at # 6 or higher puts too much pressure on him, at least early in the '06 season.

pedro
02-23-2006, 04:21 PM
Which brings up the question of who may actually be the DH in the AL parks.



My guess is Aurilia againt LH and Valentin against RH.

RedsManRick
02-23-2006, 05:22 PM
Aurilia on 2B, Freel in CF, Junior DHing to save his body.

KronoRed
02-23-2006, 05:27 PM
Did we move to the AL ? ;)

LincolnparkRed
02-23-2006, 05:45 PM
Did we move to the AL ? ;)
Maybe we should volunteer like Bud did with the Brewers

reds44
02-23-2006, 06:52 PM
Lopez 7th?

Cyclone792
02-23-2006, 07:05 PM
In an article on HardBallTimes the author has a short section about using projected stats and some complicated analysis to create the optimal lineup. Assuming the projections are right of course, here's what it put out for the Reds (it doesn't have pitchers and requires 9 players so I used Womack as a proxy for our pitcher).

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/ten-things-i-didnt-know/

1. Freel
2. Kearns
3. Dunn
4. Griffey
5. Pena
6. Encarnacion
7. Lopez
8. Larue
9. Womack

I like it! If you take Freel out and add in another "pitcher" Lopez moves to 1, LaRue to 7, and the new "pitcher" moves to 8. In other words, it likes Kearns batting 2nd (as do I) and Womack is the worst hitter in baseball.

This is a nifty tool, Rick, and I'd love to see the lineup you've got above, but it just begs the question ... how many times this season will we see that exact lineup (with the pitcher in place of Womack's spot)?

My guess, a whopping goose egg :bang:

Benihana
02-24-2006, 02:56 PM
Lopez 7th?

my thoughts exactly. this doesn't work.

Spitball
02-25-2006, 08:50 AM
I wouldn't Bob Boone it, but I'd vary things depending on the oponent's starting pitcher and the availability of their bullpen lefties.

If it's a righty and their bullpen has rested, quality lefties.

1. Freel
2. Lopez
3. Griffey
4. Kearns
5. Dunn
6. Pena
7. Encarnacion
8. LaRue


Righty and quality lefthanders are spent.

1. Freel
2. Lopez
3. Griffey
4. Dunn
5. Kearns
6. Pena
7. Encarnacion
8. LaRue


Quality lefty starter

1. Freel
2. Lopez
3. Griffey
4. Kearns (hoping WMP matures into this spot)
5. Dunn
6. Pena
7. Encarnacion
8. LaRue

Sea Ray
02-25-2006, 09:13 AM
I like that well enough ... I'd do this ...

1. Freel 2B
2. Lopez SS
3. Dunn 1B
4. Griffey CF
5. Kearns RF
6. Pena LF
7. Encarnacion 3B
8. Larue C
9. Pitcher

/edit - meant to remove Woe-is-the-team-who-starts-me-at-2B-mack. for a pitcher.


I agree with you. I wonder why they like Kearns at #2? He strikes out a ton, has little speed and does not add the switch hitting ability that Lopez does. I like your lineup a lot. Of course as soon as we fall in love with a set lineup things happen and we read in Sept that "the Reds' projected starting lineup has played 8 games together." So it's fun off season fodder for us to throw around but thatr's all it is.

RedsManRick
02-25-2006, 09:21 AM
I guess I'm of the mind that Lopez will regress slightly this year and Kearns breaks out. I expect something like:

Kearns - .295/.370/.510
Lopez - .270/.340/.465

The speed difference means basically nothing. Lopez is not a great base runner and both are able to take the extra base. If anything though, I like having the faster guy low because there is less likelihood the batters behind him will drive him naturally.

I think Kearns will show his power more and I'd rather have my power/obp higher in the order. I don't like the idea of two fast guys at the top of the order. If I'm maximizing run production, I want OBP/SLG to get the most at bats even if it doesn't fit some perfect small ball single-sb-bunt-sac fly opening.

KronoRed
02-25-2006, 12:18 PM
I like EE, Kearns in the 2 spot because they will get stuff to hit..remember lineup order goes out the window after the first time through.

Far East
02-26-2006, 09:37 AM
I like EE, Kearns in the 2 spot because they will get stuff to hit..remember lineup order goes out the window after the first time through.

All the more reason to insert good base running guys (who can score from first on a double and go 1st to 3rd on a RF single) who are also good OBP guys (who can walk around the bases in front of home runs from the likes of Dunn, Griffey, Kearns, Pena, etc..

From their "05 stats:

1. Freel - .371 OBP
2. Lopez - .352 OBP
3. Dunn - .387 OBP and 1 HR every 13.57AB
4. Griffey - 1 HR every 14.03 AB
5. Kearns - 1 HR every 21.50 AB
6. Pena - 1 HR every 16.37 AB
7. Encarnacion - 1 HR every 23.44 AB
8. LaRue - 1 HR every 25.79AB*

* Note: Valentin - 1 HR every 15.79AB

The numbers make Dunn look like the key. There's a gradual decrease in speed but increase in power at the top of the order from Freel to Lopez to Dunn, followed by a decrease in both speed and power from Dunn to Griffey to Kearns. If you flip-flop Pena with Kearns, then the power/speed inverse relationship continues virtually from #3 to # 8 in the lineup. Either way Dunn, with his foot speed (relative to teammates), OBP, and power is at the heart of the transition in the lineup. Of course it would take some trial and error or a heck of a back-testing technology to ascertain whether or not such a batting order scores more runs.

Managing this lineup would be contingent upon the success of the table-setters. If they get on, some Red may lead the league in RBI. If they don't get on, the chance for a Red solo HR is greatest in the person of Dunn and decreases by degree with each successive spot in the order -- noting the dilemma about Kearns/Pena at the #5 or #6 spots.

RedsManRick
02-26-2006, 11:39 AM
The point of this exercise was not to put the best lineup together based on last years numbers. It used a PROJECTION of 2006 numbers to make all of the recommendation. It thinks that in 2006, Kearns will be a better fit in the 2nd spot than Lopez.

If Lopez repeats his season, I think he's a wonderful fit at #2. I just don't think we see a repeat performance, and neither did that projection system.

KearnsyEars
02-27-2006, 08:14 AM
I'd love to see Dunn 3rd, Griff 4th and Kearnsy 5th, with freel and lopez 1 and 2.

that means womack is on the bench with RA

Sea Ray
02-27-2006, 11:15 AM
I like EE, Kearns in the 2 spot because they will get stuff to hit..remember lineup order goes out the window after the first time through.

I disagree on both counts. The lineup is important for most of the game. Until pinch hitters and double switches, etc are used it is important. In other words the #1 and #2 hitters will always hit in front of the #3 hitter...ditto for the #4 hitter etc, etc. Sure, sometimes various hitters will lead off an inning but the setup concept remains the same.

Kearns and EE both strike out way too much to hit #2. If they cut down on their strike outs I could go along with them at #2 but I've seen very little progress in that area from any Reds' player in recent years...

KronoRed
02-27-2006, 12:01 PM
Lopez k's quite a lot as well.

As for the lineup the 1&2 guys may always be in front of number 3, but they may also be hitting with guys in base, along with being the 3rd out leading to 3-5 guys leading off.

Raisor
02-27-2006, 08:38 PM
Kearns and EE both strike out way too much to hit #2. If they cut down on their strike outs I could go along with them at #2 but I've seen very little progress in that area from any Reds' player in recent years...


Better to K in the 2 slot then GIDP in the 2 slot.

As long as a guy is OBPing 350+ in the 2 slot, I could care how he makes an out as long as it's not a DP.

Far East
02-27-2006, 10:15 PM
Lopez k's quite a lot as well.

As for the lineup the 1&2 guys may always be in front of number 3, but they may also be hitting with guys in base, along with being the 3rd out leading to 3-5 guys leading off.

Another reason for then having Dunn -- decent on the basepaths & great OBP -- batting and thus 3rd to lead off such an inning as you're describing and to precede Junior, who with similar (but not quite so good as Adam's) relative foot speed and OBP precedes Kearns.

Sea Ray
02-28-2006, 09:00 AM
Better to K in the 2 slot then GIDP in the 2 slot.

As long as a guy is OBPing 350+ in the 2 slot, I could care how he makes an out as long as it's not a DP.

In that respect our lineup should be improved with league leading DP guy (Casey) gone, but I don't want a 100 strike out guy in the #2 slot either.

SteelSD
02-28-2006, 11:34 AM
In that respect our lineup should be improved with league leading DP guy (Casey) gone, but I don't want a 100 strike out guy in the #2 slot either.

Meh. In 2005, Boston and Cincinnati led their respective leagues in Runs Scored with their 100-K Shortstops (Renteria, Lopez) routinely hitting in the #2 slots in the lineup.

KronoRed
02-28-2006, 12:54 PM
K's are just another out.

:evil:

RedsManRick
02-28-2006, 01:07 PM
Given 550 at bats, the following Reds would strikeout 100+ times:

Adam Dunn
Wily Mo Pena
Felipe Lopez
Austin Kearns
Jason LaRue
Ken Griffey Jr.
Edwin Encarnacion

So that means we need to have Freel, Aurilia, Valentin, or Tony Womack as your #2 guy...........

Assming equal OBP and that they are NOT the best candidate for 3rd or 4th, you want the higher SLG% batting 2nd in the lineup. Call me a cynic, but I think Lopez will settle in at his 2nd half rates (.280/.350/.450) rather than his first half (.300/.355/.520) whereas Kearns will be in the neighborhood of .280/.375/.525. I think that makes Kearns a better fit than Lopez for #2 in 2006. More bases, more often, equals more runs. It's as simple as that.

Freel
Kearns
Dunn
Junior
Pena
Encarnacion
Lopez
LaRue

My gut tells me Lopez in the 2 hole as well because he fits that classic profile. I'm just not convinced that it really makes more sense than dropping him in the order where his speed is actually more valuable and his occasional power still drives some runs in.

Sea Ray
02-28-2006, 04:10 PM
Given 550 at bats, the following Reds would strikeout 100+ times:

Adam Dunn
Wily Mo Pena
Felipe Lopez
Austin Kearns
Jason LaRue
Ken Griffey Jr.
Edwin Encarnacion


Good point. Given the nature of this team there may not be a sub 100K candidate to put into the #2 slot. This team could shatter a lot of strike out records this year.

In fact high strike outs, poor defense and slow foot speed doesn't bode well for a decent 2006 but I hope I'm wrong.

BRM
02-28-2006, 04:20 PM
Good point. Given the nature of this team there may not be a sub 100K candidate to put into the #2 slot. This team could shatter a lot of strike out records this year.

In fact high strike outs, poor defense and slow foot speed doesn't bode well for a decent 2006 but I hope I'm wrong.

I'd say the lousy pitching will be the biggest contributor to a poor 2006 season. The Reds had high strikeouts and slow foot speed last year and they were still the best offense in the NL.

Far East
02-28-2006, 05:22 PM
Assming equal OBP and that they are NOT the best candidate for 3rd or 4th, you want the higher SLG% batting 2nd in the lineup. Call me a cynic, but I think Lopez will settle in at his 2nd half rates (.280/.350/.450) rather than his first half (.300/.355/.520) whereas Kearns will be in the neighborhood of .280/.375/.525. I think that makes Kearns a better fit than Lopez for #2 in 2006. More bases, more often, equals more runs. It's as simple as that...

My gut tells me Lopez in the 2 hole as well because he fits that classic profile. I'm just not convinced that it really makes more sense than dropping him in the order where his speed is actually more valuable and his occasional power still drives some runs in.

(A) Kearns and his projected SLG% of .520 would be removed from the traditional #5 RBI spot (and where he could "protect' the cleanup hitter) and would be put in the #2 hole where RBI opportunities typically are fewer and his slugging would be "wasted".

(B) According to the part of the theory about dropping Lopez to where his speed is actually more valuable, then he perhaps should be dropped all of the way to 8th, so as to be able to get advanced up a base by the pitcher's sac bunt.

(C) Bottom line for me: His speed and OBP should put Lopez at #1, 2, or 3.

SteelSD
02-28-2006, 05:41 PM
(A) Kearns and his projected SLG% of .520 would be removed from the traditional #5 RBI spot (and where he could "protect' the cleanup hitter) and would be put in the #2 hole where RBI opportunities typically are fewer and his slugging would be "wasted".

Slugging Percentage can't possibly be "wasted" in the 2-slot because a .520 SLG represents not only solid HR power but a goodly portion of additional extra-base Hits- which are very high quality scoring opportunities.

Think about it this way- If a low SLG hitter can utilize his speed to advance on the bases via the Stolen Base, what is that hitter attempting to replicate with his legs? Yep. Higher Slugging Percentage, of course. And he's chancing Outs on the basepaths in order to do so. Because of that, what's wrong with positioning a hitter high in the order whose natural SLG will effectively elminate the need to chance Outs on the bases?

Secondly, Austin Kearns cannot "protect" either Adam Dunn or a fully-functional Ken Griffey Jr. by hitting behind them. He can, however, "protect" the hitters behind him by getting on base in front of them because, overall, hitters actually perform better with runners on base in front of them than they do with the bases empty. Ditto for the 2005 Reds.

RedsManRick
02-28-2006, 06:52 PM
Exactly Steel. A double is better than a single and a stolen base. Speed, relating to stolen bases, is only a substitute for power, though less reliable as it requires two separate events, the second of which often fails, negating the first. (I've always wondered why there isn't an adjusted slg% that included stolen bases and caught stealing) Further, when you're down 1 run in the 9th and you're #2 hitter is up, assuming equal OBP, would you rather he have a better chance to hit a double/homer or to single and steal 2b? SLG% leads to more reliable run production than speed and you want those guys to have the most at bats.

What is Lopez really going to do speed wise in the 2 hole that Kearns wouldn't. Both guys will score from 1st on a double and 2nd on a single. You wouldn't want Sean Casey up there clogging things up, but Kearns has at least average wheels. And if Freel(or Womack.. cough) is on first base, a double plates him whereas a single and a stolen base leaves men on 2nd and 3rd.

Regarding protection, if you pitchers are willing to pitching around Ken Griffey Jr. to get to Wily Mo Pena, I'm fine with that. Please put men on base in front of our ISO SLG machine. If the 4 guys ahead of him are on base at a collective .380 clip, we're gonna see a bunch of 3 run homers.

As for the "why not drop him to 8" comment. Well, that's because a stolen base in front of a guy who's not even likely to single makes pretty much no sense at all. Further, LaRue is slow and if he's on base ahead of Lopez, that negates his speed. The 6th or 7th spot takes advantage of both decent power and above average speed.

Of course, this is all predicated on the idea that Kearns slugs significantly higher than Lopez. If he doesn't, then leave Lopez in the 2 hole. I think too often managers get hung up on the little things that they lose the forest for the trees. They envision these perfect small ball scenarios that only really play out a dozen times a year and even then aren't always when you need them. In the meantime, you have that somewhat speedy guy getting the last at bat of the game when your #5 hitter and home run threat never gets a 5th at bat.

Sea Ray
03-01-2006, 04:14 PM
I'd say the lousy pitching will be the biggest contributor to a poor 2006 season. The Reds had high strikeouts and slow foot speed last year and they were still the best offense in the NL.

No question the pitching is the biggest problem this team has to deal with.

High strike out teams do tend to score a lot of runs because they generally hit for a lot of power, but that doesn't make them the best offense in the league. High strike out teams do not fare well against good teams, particularly teams with good pitching. The Reds scored more runs than the Cardinals last year but I would argue the Cardinals had a better offense due to their balance.

All indications are the Reds will strike out more this year than they did last year, considering the loss of Casey and Randa. So my thinking is the pitching must improve just to match last year's record.

BRM
03-01-2006, 04:41 PM
High strike out teams do tend to score a lot of runs because they generally hit for a lot of power, but that doesn't make them the best offense in the league. High strike out teams do not fare well against good teams, particularly teams with good pitching. The Reds scored more runs than the Cardinals last year but I would argue the Cardinals had a better offense due to their balance.

Most teams struggle against good teams. That's why they are considered good teams. On the list of things to worry about for this Reds team, strikeouts are at the bottom of the list. Pitching and defense are much bigger concerns than the number of strikeouts the offense will pile up.

SteelSD
03-01-2006, 05:58 PM
High strike out teams do tend to score a lot of runs because they generally hit for a lot of power, but that doesn't make them the best offense in the league. High strike out teams do not fare well against good teams, particularly teams with good pitching.

That's either your own personal assumption or you heard it somewhere, but it's not the truth.

In 2005, the Reds scored fewer Runs per game versus two teams than those two teams allowed on average per game against the league. Those two teams were Houston and Florida. One good pitching. One league average.

Here's how the Reds did against everyone else in the NL. Here's how the Reds stacked up versus every NL team:

ARI- 7.00 RPG
ATL- 4.80 RPG
CHC- 6.47 RPG
COL- 5.83 RPG
FLA- 1.83 RPG
HOU- 3.56 RPG
LAD- 5.29 RPG
MIL- 4.63 RPG
NYM- 5.17 RPG
PHI- 5.71 RPG
PIT- 5.13 RPG
SDP- 6.00 RPG
SFG- 4.75 RPG
STL- 4.63 RPG
WSN- 5.83 RPG

St. Louis gave up an average of 3.91 Runs per Game in 2005. The Reds scored 4.63 RPG- basically turning the Cards staff into that of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Houston gave up 3.74 RPG and the Reds scored 3.56 RPG against that lineup (95.3%).

Against the five NL teams that gave up fewer than 4.20 Runs per Game in 2005, the Reds scored 4.54 Runs per Game (54 Games). To put that in proper context, only FIVE NL teams scored more than 4.50 Runs per Game in 2005.

In short, that strikeout-prone Reds club played almost 1/3 of it's season against the top five NL pitching staffs and it still put up offensive numbers equal to that of the fifth best NL offensive unit in 2005 against those teams.

You might want to think about what that really means.

RedsManRick
03-01-2006, 06:06 PM
I was going to ask for that very break down. Thanks Steel! This just goes to show even more that the offense most certainly is not the problem... Do you have the same break down in terms of runs scored against us handy?

RedsManRick
03-02-2006, 10:51 AM
Another set of lineup comments which suggest that third spot is highly overrated. Here's a link: http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/story/2006/2/25/21329/9401

And here's the actual advice, followed by my interpretation of how the Reds fit


And here's the tipsheet:

1. This is the most OBP-centric spot in the lineup. Your hitter here might very well be your best hitter, IF his best attribute is his OBP. A hitter with a .425 OBP and a .500 SLG would fit in here well, provided that there's not a better OBP threat elsewhere on the roster. When I looked at it, I decided that Derek Jeter is really the optimal leadoff hitter. He has a good OBP and acceptable power, and he's generally a solid hitter.

2. The 2-hitter should be the lineup's most balanced hitter, a good combination of OBP and SLG. David Wright fits the bill here, as does the player I chose, Chase Utley. The first guy I thought of was Mike Lowell in his prime, when I looked at the results and coefficients.

3. This was the biggest surprise: the 3 hitter should be the player that doesn't fit into any of the other spots. Every other spot has some significance, but if I were building a lineup, I would just put the leftover player in the 3 hole. This seemed very counterintuitive to me when I first heard it, but David Pinto noted, "Part of what it's telling us is that you need to spread out your easy outs." I still struggled to get this, but I'm starting to, now. Marc said something to the effect of "the worst players have to go somewhere." I guess this is really it; the other spots just have greater needs. If you can get a good hitter here, it means that your lineup is very deep.

4. This is the bopper. This guy's best attribute should be his power, with OBP being of secondary importance. He should be the foil to the leadoff hitter, in a way; both players could be similar if they're both very complete. Andruw Jones, though, is an ideal #4 hitter: slightly above average OBP, and "phenomenal cosmic power," to quote Aladdin.

5. Picking the 5 hitter is simple: it's the second choice for the two slot. Paul Konerko, who I picked for this spot, had a very similar line to our #2 hitter, Chase Utley.

6. The 6 hitter shows the biggest difference between SLG and OBP on the roster. This is because you're going to want to have guys driving in the leftovers. The 6 hitter is the most exclusively power-dependent hitter of the bunch. His OBP is VERY unimportant. Alfonso Soriano and Jay Gibbons are good picks for this slot.

7. The 7 hitter is the less extreme version of the 6 hitter, with less of a need for power and more usage for OBP. I picked Vernon Wells here.

8. This is the worst hitter in the lineup. If it's the pitcher, he goes here, unless it's Dontrelle Willis or Jason Marquis or someone similar. This is because you'd rather not put the pitcher close to two of the best hitters in the lineup: the 1 and 2.

9. The 9 hitter should be a "punchless wonder," of sorts. Scott Podsednik, Gregg Zaun, and Brad Ausmus fit into this role nicely: guys with acceptable OBPs and absolutely no power. This is the "stereotypical leadoff hitter" to the extreme. He's not actually leading off because you don't necessarily want these guys to imbibe plate appearances, I think.

1. Lopez
2. Dunn
3. Kearns
4. Griffey
5. Pena
6. Encarnacion
7. LaRue
8. Pitcher
9. Freel

This goes pretty strongly against the concept of most PA for your highest OBP, but makes some really interesting observations. I particularly appreciated the idea that your #3 hitter is the most likely person to come up with 2 outs and nobody on and the least likely person to leadoff the 2nd innings, so the relative value of a hit/walk is lower there than in other spots. Some very interesting things. I'll have to play around with this in my sim leagues and see how it goes.

I think lineup construction is too often designed to try and create a best case scenario. We envision some unlikely series of unlikely (<50% chance) events which would happen if everything went right. However, we should realize that realize that more often than not, people are going to create outs and we should design a lineup that make best use of players given what is most likely to happen, rather than that maximizes that chance of the series of the series of events which we want to occur happening.

A perfect example of this is the #3 batter. Even if the #1 & #2 batters are .400 OBP guys, the #3 hitter will still come up in the first inning with 2 outs and nobody on over 1/3 of the time. Do you really want your best hitter batting in that situation? Furthermore, if your cleanup hitter gets up in the first inning, it's because somebody IS on base, guarenteed. If nobody gets on, he will be leading off the 4th, so he better be a solid OBP threat.

Of course, this possibly places too much weight on the 1st innning, and not enough on the 9th, where batting order determines who will get the last chance to win the game. I wouldn't put LaRue in the 3rd spot just so people fit some profile, but I would place higher priority on making sure that my cleanup hitter fit the profile of the likely events which start a game. In this scenario, I think I really like the lineup I posted above -- and it would even work with Womack punched in at Freel's spot.