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View Full Version : Set line up vs ever changing ?



Ltlabner
05-30-2006, 03:11 PM
Perhaps this is a tread that has been hashed to death, I hope not. Has there ever been any statisical analysis to support why the ever changing line-up is a good/bad idea? Does trying to play every last possible match-up really pay off? Or is it an example of being too clever for ones own good?

My perception of history is that teams of old had a set line up that rolled out day after day barring injury, trade or the odd day of rest. Is this accurate? If so, has the game changed in some fashion to demand changing line ups?

My opinion is that we've been through enough of the season to get a feal for our mix of vets and youngsters and their capabilities (slumps asside). I'd like to see a realtivley set line up, maybe with some variation for righty/lefty matchups or to give enough playing time to keep the utility guys fresh.

Based on the comments of various players over the years, my impression is that they too would rather have a set line up, know where they are playing on a given day and generally be given a role to play.

So my questions are:
1) Is there statistical analysis to support/dissprove the ever changing line up (assuming it's even possible)?
2) Historicially have teams really had "cast in stone" line ups?
3) Has something about the game changed to force the fluid line up, or is it the flavor of the month?
4) What is your opinion of using them?

westofyou
05-30-2006, 03:18 PM
McGraw platooned, and Stengal and Weaver were big on it, mostly corner positions, but Stengal moved and matched keystone positions too. I for one don't favor a set lineup, I think situations and the course of the season dictate having a flexible bench, which means set lineups aren't a reality.

Even the great 8 only played together for 78 times or so over the 75-76 season.

KronoRed
05-30-2006, 03:39 PM
I prefer a set lineup, change players in and out of course, but I don't like the every day a guy moves from 3rd to 8th :dunno:

CTA513
05-30-2006, 03:46 PM
I prefer a set lineup, change players in and out of course, but I don't like the every day a guy moves from 3rd to 8th :dunno:

I would have to think that the players dont like lineups that change almost daily. It seems like anytime someone starts hitting they get bumped to another spot, I know I would hate that.

BCubb2003
05-30-2006, 03:51 PM
Even the great 8 only played together for 78 times or so over the 75-76 season.

And yet we know them as the great 8 and the Big Red Machine, and people can still recite the batting order, because they were able to establish such a strong identity. Then they didn't have to play together in every single game. Of course, the BRM was unusual, and we're spoiled.

(Rant follows) Changing the lineup so much has always bothered me, from Bob Boone on. There are a few principles that make sense: Speed at the top, give your best hitters the most at-bats, and the righty-lefty matchups. But why turn good young hitters like Dunn and Kearns into what amounts to platoon hitters? Even if there's a clear righty-lefty gap in a guy's numbers, why turn him into the Reds verson of Paul O'Neill? And if he's in the lineup anyway, is there any real advantage to moving him up and down in the order? Let him relax and gain the confidence that he can hit anyone, anytime.

This vaunted offense that we can't seem to find? It's Lopez, Griffey, Dunn, Kearns and Encarnacion with some Freel or Phillips on top. Keep throwing that core at the opposing pitchers until they can't take it anymore. Instead we get a lineup that starts and stops, sprinkled with Aurilia and Hatteberg. They've done their share, but they dilute the effect of that core offense.

Any manager who defends a lineup by saying he's "just trying to shake things up a little," should have to show how many times in a row the old lineup was used. Probably none. Most lineups need to be settled down, not shaken up.

If I were the owner, there are only two things I'd want from a manager: 1. Don't give away outs. 2. Find your A lineup and play it. The only time I'd go Steinbrenner on any manager is when he gets to the point where he's talking about batting Hatteberg lead-off.

It would be interesting to see team OPS per lineup, but then the skipper would get all computerized on us and say that in a night game in Wrigley with a lefthander on the mound, Kearns has to bat seventh instead of fifth. I just don't see it.

dabvu2498
05-30-2006, 04:03 PM
Any lineup that doesn't "execute" (whatever your definition is) doesn't look like a good lineup.

guttle11
05-30-2006, 04:15 PM
I don't really care about lineup construction. Whether you're hitting 1st, 5th, or 8th your jobs is too not make outs. Now obviously you're going to put the players who make the fewest out towards the top so they get more AB's, but there should be no specified "batting order."

Did it matter when Jordan touched the ball in the Bulls offense? No, and the same goes with where a player bats in the lineup. When Jordan got the ball, or when Dunn bats, they both have a job to do.

A lineup of...

LaRue
Hatteberg
Kearns
Pitcher
Griffey
Phillips
Dunn
Lopez
Encarnacion

...should not be different than the "traditional" lineups that the Reds use. It's still Dunn's job to hit the ball a long way and to get on base, it's still Lopez, Freel, and Phillips job to get on base and utilize their speed, and it's still the Pitcher's job to advance the runner when the opportunity is there.

If Kearns bats fourth one day, leadoff the next, and 9 the next, his role doesn't change.

VR
05-30-2006, 04:23 PM
Set lineups are great for post-season, but the reality of a long hard baseball season is that you need to find ab's for the other 5 guys sitting on the bench too.

Several elements are key;

1. Great scouting enables a manager to put a player in the best possible situation to succeed, and the best possible team on the field based on superior intelligence. The Reds cutting of scouting under Marge has been a major factor in their demise. I hate Tony LaRussa, but the guy puts his players in positions to succeed at the plate, on the mound and defensively with great precision because of the Cards commitment to scouting, and Tony's ability to put it to great use. That doesn't mean creating a computer program that spits out the best statistical lineup and using it, but it's something that should be at the very beginning of lineup preparation.

2. Great communication. BBoone probably changed lineups no more than most managers. The problem with those teams was his inability to communicate players' roles with them. Frustration was well documented about players not knowing if they were playing, let alone where in the lineup, until shortly before game time. As a leader, a big part of Narron's role needs to be being very clear with each player about their role, not just benching them or moving them around without being up front about it. Motivational pep talks arent' very useful in baseball, but can be replaced by continuous communication about a players' roles, and accountability within those roles. All people want to know what their bosses expect, baseball players are no different.(actually they are probably more immature than the typical employee, thus the need for over-communication).

3. Composure. A managers ability to trust stats, and sprinkle in a tad bit of
'hunch'. Not freaking out because the team scores 3 runs in 3 games and turning the lineup upside down on a whim.


It's a long season, there are a lot of variables to consider game by game, and there is so much we never know or see that affects each games lineups. Since Bob has left, this is a non-issue for me with the Reds.

Matt700wlw
05-30-2006, 05:23 PM
I think it's time for a set lineup. Freel/Aurilia/Hatteberg/Catcher may platoon some, but guys like Griffey, Kearns, Dunn, Lopez, Encarnacion, and Phillips (6 of 8) need to have a set spot. Catcher obviously bats 8th, pitcher bats 9th.

The ever-changing method doesn't seem to be working...guys can't get comfortable with where they hit, or confortable knowing day in and day out were or if they're even playing.

pedro
05-30-2006, 05:31 PM
I think players should have a set spot in the lineup when they play. I realize this is difficult when you have a guy like Freel who doesn't play everyday but so clearly needs to be the lead off hitter when he does.

I just don't think it's helpful for guys to be jumping slots in the order from night to night.

edabbs44
05-30-2006, 05:53 PM
No problem with platoons, but it seems like Narron is randomly selecting the order.

EdE - 8th...EdE - 8th

http://www.movinghere.org.uk/gallery/friendship/images/bingo.jpg

Redhook
05-30-2006, 06:48 PM
I don't really care about lineup construction. Whether you're hitting 1st, 5th, or 8th your jobs is too not make outs. Now obviously you're going to put the players who make the fewest out towards the top so they get more AB's, but there should be no specified "batting order."

Did it matter when Jordan touched the ball in the Bulls offense? No, and the same goes with where a player bats in the lineup. When Jordan got the ball, or when Dunn bats, they both have a job to do.

A lineup of...

LaRue
Hatteberg
Kearns
Pitcher
Griffey
Phillips
Dunn
Lopez
Encarnacion

...should not be different than the "traditional" lineups that the Reds use. It's still Dunn's job to hit the ball a long way and to get on base, it's still Lopez, Freel, and Phillips job to get on base and utilize their speed, and it's still the Pitcher's job to advance the runner when the opportunity is there.

If Kearns bats fourth one day, leadoff the next, and 9 the next, his role doesn't change.

I agree that in general it is your job to not make outs. That's obvious.

I disagree that's everyone's job stays the same wherever they're hitting in the lineup. Each position in the lineup is set to maximize run production. Speedy guy up first, on-base contact guy up second, best hitter third, rbi fourth, slugger 5th, etc. Certain guys fit certain lineup positions better than others. A player shouldn't have to change his normal approach to fit into the traditional definition of a lineup spot. After 2 months of baseball, I really think it should be quite easy for Narron to have a set lineup.

I would start by moving Griffey into the cleanup spot. He's the best RBI guy on the team. That would move Lopez into the 3 spot being the best hitter other than Griffey. I would have Phillips leading off (.350 on base + speed). Aurilia or Hatteberg would bat second. Both are good contact hitters and would fit that role nicely. Dunn would bat 5th against righties and Kearns would bat 5th against lefties. Encarncion 7th and any catcher 8th.

Lineup 'A' :
Phillips
Aurilia/Hatte
Lopez
Griffey
Dunn/Kearns
Kearns/Dunn
Eddy
Catcher

If Freel plays, he leads off and the lineup adjusts from there. But Lopez-Eddy should stay the same pretty much every day.

KoryMac5
05-30-2006, 08:04 PM
I have always been in favor of structure and stability. Ballplayers like to have a good idea of where they are going to play and where they are going to hit, seems to generate a comfort level and allows them to play ball without distractions. Managers have the right to move guys up or down based on performance but moving things around to find the best mix is counter productive in my opinion.

NastyBoy
05-30-2006, 08:16 PM
Tonites lineup...

F. Lopez ss
S. Hatteberg 1b
K. Griffey Jr. cf
A. Dunn lf
A. Kearns rf
J. Valentin c
E. Encarnacion 3b
R. Freel 2b
B. Claussen p

Narron like tinkering with the number 2 slot.

edabbs44
05-30-2006, 08:31 PM
Wasn't Narron all about splitting up the lefties earlier in the season? Seems like that plan went out the window.

guttle11
05-30-2006, 08:39 PM
I disagree that's everyone's job stays the same wherever they're hitting in the lineup. Each position in the lineup is set to maximize run production. Speedy guy up first, on-base contact guy up second, best hitter third, rbi fourth, slugger 5th, etc. Certain guys fit certain lineup positions better than others. A player shouldn't have to change his normal approach to fit into the traditional definition of a lineup spot. After 2 months of baseball, I really think it should be quite easy for Narron to have a set lineup.


I can see where you're coming from, but I really think batting order isn't that big of a deal. I realize it's better to keep your best hitters toward the top simply because they'll get more AB's.

I just don't really like the "roles" of a spot in the lineup. Why does the fourht hitter have to be a power guy? Why does the leadoff guy have to be fast?

Goes along with my hatred of the "A first basemen has to be a great power, RBI guy" theory.

KronoRed
05-30-2006, 08:43 PM
Wasn't Narron all about splitting up the lefties earlier in the season? Seems like that plan went out the window.
Thankfully.

Redhook
05-30-2006, 11:28 PM
I can see where you're coming from, but I really think batting order isn't that big of a deal. I realize it's better to keep your best hitters toward the top simply because they'll get more AB's.

I just don't really like the "roles" of a spot in the lineup. Why does the fourht hitter have to be a power guy? Why does the leadoff guy have to be fast?

Goes along with my hatred of the "A first basemen has to be a great power, RBI guy" theory.

I don't necessarily think batting order is the answer to all problems, but I do believe that players would be more comfortable knowing where they're going to playing and batting each and every day (except for the rare off day of course). Less doubt will creep into a player's head if they're not switched around five times a week.

I think the roles in a lineup are important for a couple of reasons. If the leadoff guy has speed and gets on, he can create havoc on the paths and that could possibly lead to an easy run. The fourth batter doesn't necessarily have to be a power guy, but should be a good rbi guy (Griffey) because there is a pretty chance that he'll have someone to drive in in the first inning. Putting 3 good on-base guys ahead of him will give him the best chance to have runners on when he comes up.

Switching the lineup around isn't the answer to the Reds current hitting woes, but over the long run I think the consistency would definitely pay off.

NastyBoy
05-31-2006, 01:40 AM
The Hatte in the 2 slot experiment did not work out as well as one would hope.

I just hope Narron goes into panick mode and start trying anything. Recall last year in Colorado when Miley took Dunn and Griffey out of the lineup in the game against Rookie LHP Francis.

reds44
05-31-2006, 01:44 AM
I honestly don't believe there is such a thing as a month long team slump. Changes need to be made on offense, and in the pitching department.

CaiGuy
05-31-2006, 01:12 PM
Lineup orders do matter. You want your onbase/speed guys batting right in front of your RBI/Power guys. It doesn't make sense to bat Griffey and Kearns 1-2, and have Freel behind them. You want your sluggers to come up with runners on. Granted, over the course of the game, it changes. The 5th spot can lead off in the 7th or the 3rd in the 9th. But you still want that basic structure to score as many as possible. Also, you want to get the best hitters at the top to get more AB's.

And roles do change with lineup spots. If someone is batting 1-2, regardless of who they are, they should not be swinging for the fences. They will be focused on getting on. Same with batting with guys on. What a hitter does is effected by who is in front of him and behind him.

So I'm sure some players do not like the "Narron shake up."

BCubb2003
05-31-2006, 01:41 PM
The Reds have not used the same lineup for at least the last five games. The most frequent lineup this season (three times) has Aurilia batting fourth and Ross as catcher.

http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/teams/depth-chart/CIN