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GAC
04-29-2007, 10:20 PM
I seem to remember reading somewhere, and I though it was on BP or maybe an article posted on here in the past, that when it comes down to it, it doesn't really matter, or there isn't much data/evidence to support it, where one bats in the order.

I was brought up, and it has always been taught, that players have "roles" to fulfill in that batting order. You are maximizing that particular player's talent/abilities and thus that determines WHERE they hit at in the order.

Your #1 and #2 slots were called leadoff (setup) men. Players with a high OB%, as well as possessing speed.

Your 3-4-5-6 slots were primarily your run producers. These were the players who possessed the power and primarily relied upon to drive in runs, and were your team RBI leaders.

7-8 slots were for the weak bats. These were the players whose "contributions" were in other areas, primarily defense, and one considered it fortunate if they hit their weight.

Does it really matter? If you're gonna hit, then you're gonna hit/produce regardless of where in that order. I've heard that stated before. Do you agree? Why/why not?

oneupper
04-29-2007, 10:33 PM
I think there are some older threads on this...with some good stats. Maybe someone can find them.

For my part, I absolutely believe it does matter. Not necesarily every game, but over the course of a season you want to give you better hitters more ABs.

And the high OB% for the top guys makes sense, since these guys have more chances to make outs. What I don't agree with is that they should be low-power guys.

I also believe its important who hits behind whom, not so much for the lefty-righty thing, but to avoid having a batter pitched around. In addition, a hitter who makes a pitcher battle...can help those behind him.

I also believe that inserting a very bad hitter into the lineup (such as Juan Castro)...makes the whole lineup worse.

These are my beliefs...please refrain from refuting them with facts.

mth123
04-29-2007, 10:37 PM
I think there are some older threads on this...with some good stats. Maybe someone can find them.

For my part, I absolutely believe it does matter. Not necesarily every game, but over the course of a season you want to give you better hitters more ABs.

And the high OB% for the top guys makes sense, since these guys have more chances to make outs. What I don't agree with is that they should be low-power guys.

I also believe its important who hits behind whom, not so much for the lefty-righty thing, but to avoid having a batter pitched around. In addition, a hitter who makes a pitcher battle...can help those behind him.

I also believe that inserting a very bad hitter into the lineup (such as Juan Castro)...makes the whole lineup worse.

These are my beliefs...please refrain from refuting them with facts.

I won't refute. I agree completely. I especially agree with the part about High OBP guys at the top and they don't have to be guys with no power. I'm a proponent of Hamilton, Dunn 1, 2 in the Reds line-up.

Redsland
04-29-2007, 11:07 PM
Bill James says lineup construction is "overrated." Generally speaking, it's hard to argue with Bill James. But in all honesty, his published work is a bit suspect now that he's on an MLB team's payroll. Misinformation and all that rot. Plus, this is the same guy who, in 1988, quantified the fact that more runs are scored in the first inning than in the second. If lineup construction is irrelevant, there should not have been a noticeable difference between those two innings or any other. Instead, teams tended to send the tops of their orders out there in the first, and the bottoms of their orders out there in the second, and the results are there for all to see. Those results say that lineup construction does, in fact, matter.

Even if you're inclined to take Bill's more recent proclamations at face value, I personally would find it very hard to believe that batting order has no impact on offense. First of all, we know that batters near the top of the order will tend to have more at bats per game and throughout the season than batters who are lower in the order, so the higher you can put dangerous bats the better. Furthermore, we know that power hitters who are not protected will get pitched around by savvy teams when men are on base. Not coincidentally, Adam Dunn's best spot in the order is, historically, second, where he's protected by the number 3, 4, 5, and 6 hitters. Stick him lower in the order, where there are fewer impact bats behind him, and teams will, historically, pitch around Adam and take their chances with the next guy or two. That's sound baseball, and the only way to counter it is with numbers. Put more scary bats behind Dunn, Pujols, etc., and you force teams to pitch to them. Put Juan Castro behind them, and your best bats will see very few pitches they can drive. That can't help but suppress run production.

IslandRed
04-29-2007, 11:54 PM
Bill James says lineup construction is "overrated." Generally speaking, it's hard to argue with Bill James. But in all honesty, his published work is a bit suspect now that he's on an MLB team's payroll. Misinformation and all that rot. Plus, this is the same guy who, in 1988, quantified the fact that more runs are scored in the first inning than in the second. If lineup construction is irrelevant, there should not have been a noticeable difference between those two innings or any other. Instead, teams tended to send the tops of their orders out there in the first, and the bottoms of their orders out there in the second, and the results are there for all to see. Those results say that lineup construction does, in fact, matter.

I don't think you're getting James' point exactly right. When he said lineup construction was overrated, that doesn't mean you can expect to score the same number of runs in an inning regardless of who's hitting. If teams started stacking their better hitters at the bottom of the order, suddenly they'll start scoring more runs in the second inning than the first.

What James and others have said is, the important thing is to get your best hitters the most plate appearances. The studies that I've seen show that, if that basic criteria is roughly followed, the exact order doesn't make a lot of macro-level difference on run production.

pedro
04-30-2007, 12:01 AM
While I believe that lineup construction is overrated I also believe that players perform better when they know where they're going to be in the lineup night in and night out.

Juggling guys around is counter productive IMO.

Cooper
04-30-2007, 12:09 AM
There's a lot of things wrong in Redsland post: As a whole the lineups don't matter --so there may be a differnce in runs scored in each inning (because the pitcher may hit, etc...), but on the whole--the lineups don't mean more than 1 or 2 games a year (and that's at the extreme's i.e. the pitcher batting first).

2. He published this info long before he worked for a team on a full-time basis.

3. Pitching sround a hitter casues an increase in a batters OBP while decreasing his SLG. The overall effect is nil.

4. A team that plays Juan Castro a lot is bad because they play Juan Castro a lot...that desicion to play him is far more hurtful to the team than who he hits in front of or behind.

5. Does protection exist? Hasn't there been about 100 studies on this -proving it doesn't?

6. Let's say protection does exist. Someone eventually has to hit in front of someone who has lesser skills, correct? How do you get around that? More importantly who do you get to blame? Shouldn't a better hitter have to hit without it, thus allowing the player with less skill more of an advantage. IMO, the whole thing is silly.

The only time i think it may make a big difference is if you have a big slow guy who hits a lot of grounders with men on base --that guy (if he has a decent OBP ought to hit first). The pitcher rarely gets on thus decreasing chances for a GIDP. He hits first 162 times without anyone on -thus eliminating GIDP. That player was Sean Casey. I don't think he ever hit first. Come to think of hit -Pete Rose had the same bat skill set.

westofyou
04-30-2007, 12:14 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/19/sp...l/19score.html

Are the Mets Out of Order? It Doesn't Matter

By ALAN SCHWARZ
Published: March 19, 2006
Quote:
For a player so seemingly perfect, David Wright is causing his manager some real headaches.

Wright, the Mets' 23-year-old third baseman, has done it all in his first season and a half in the majors, hitting for average (.302) and power (41 home runs), with speed (23 stolen bases) consistency and the plate discipline of a veteran.

Wright's versatility and aptitude suggest that he could hit anywhere in the batting order, his varied skills meeting every prerequisite.

The mounting debate among the news media and the fans has left Mets Manager Willie Randolph, who will make the decision, understandably chafed by rampant suggestions and theories from those who will not. Perhaps he will find some comfort in what the statistics folks have to say: It does not matter.

Randolph, a lifelong baseball man, retains a traditional image of what the top of his lineup should look like: A leadoff speedster (in this case, José Reyes), then a patient bat-control man (perhaps the new catcher Paul Lo Duca), then a veteran all-around hitter (Carlos Beltran), then the top slugger (the newly acquired Carlos Delgado).

This would push Wright — whom Randolph kept in the 7 and 6 holes most of last year to protect him from undue pressure — to No. 5 in the order, despite his growing reputation as the Mets' most potent offensive threat.

Randolph claims to be considering all his options, including having Wright hit as high as second.

"David saw more pitches than anybody on our team last year," Randolph said. (Wright's 3.98 pitches each plate appearance were the Mets' most.)

But for all the debate about where players should bat, deeper statistical methods have revealed that the order barely makes a difference — and the difference can be quite counterintuitive.

Mark Pankin, a financial adviser based in Lincoln, Va., has developed one of the most advanced computer models of lineup behavior, a method that simulates all the interactions among hitters and their tendencies to hit doubles, draw walks and more.

Using last year's statistics, Pankin turned it loose on the Mets and a half-dozen plausible batting orders.

Whether Lo Duca, Wright or Beltran batted anywhere from second to sixth, each order scored at rates of 4.82, 4.83 or 4.84 runs a game — which over a 162-game season would be a difference of merely three total runs.

"No matter how you look at it, switching hitters around only makes a difference in the second decimal place," Pankin said. "It basically doesn't matter."

This same conclusion has been reached by Bill James and dozens of other lineup empiricists.

And one irritated manager. In 1972, the Tigers' Billy Martin pulled names out of a hat to order his lineup against Cleveland, and wound up with the plodding slugger Norm Cash batting leadoff and the anemic shortstop Eddie Brinkman at cleanup. Deliciously, Brinkman wound up in the middle of the afternoon's key rally, doubling home the tying run and scoring the game-winner in the Tigers' 3-2 victory.

Many have posited over the years that putting batters in reverse order of overall skill — something the renegade manager Bobby Bragan tried a few times in the 1950's and 60's, including having the slugger Eddie Mathews bat leadoff — would produce the most runs, by virtue of those hitters getting more plate appearances over the course of a season. But Pankin's model demonstrated that it was not quite so simple.

Strangely enough, Pankin found that the most efficient lineup (assuming Reyes led off, an inevitability) featured Lo Duca second, then Delgado, Wright, Cliff Floyd and then Beltran; the worst had Wright batting second and Beltran third. (Even allowing Beltran to improve from last year's disappointing New York debut did not change matters much.) The reason, it appears, comes in how managers gear their lineups toward first-inning potency, at the expense of later innings.

A Reyes-Wright-Delgado start did enjoy the best first inning — but carried with it a 59.3 chance that the Nos. 4 or 5 hitters (Floyd and Beltran) led off the second inning, costing that frame more than the first inning had benefited. With Reyes-Lo Duca-Delgado-Wright-Floyd-Beltran, the best hitters (Delgado and Wright) usually came up with either runners on base in the first or led off the next.

"You weaken the first inning a bit, but you strengthen the second," Pankin said.

It appears as if Pankin is on to something. According to Stats LLC, over the past five seasons, more runs were scored in the first (1.16) than second (0.97) innings. But the average of those two (1.06) was still lower than any inning until the seventh — when relievers start taking over — suggesting that managers are indeed overplaying their first-inning hands.

So perhaps Wright's supporters should not worry so much about where he hits — as long as he hits.

"I really don't care," Wright said. "I'm still going to go up there with the same approach hitting second that I'd be hitting seventh or fourth."

In the end, when it comes to lineups, it's mind over doesn't matter.


Constructing Lineups
by Dave Studeman
March 02, 2006

It's the latest craze on the Internet: constructing lineups (at least it was, until Barry Bonds dressed up as Paula Abdul). It all started a couple of weeks ago when Cyril Morong posted a regression analysis of how much to weigh On-Base Percentage (OBP) and Slugging Average (SLG) for each lineup position. Pretty quickly, everyone started using Cyril's analysis to construct lineups for their favorite teams.

The Pastime did it for Oakland, which inspired Ken Arneson to write a script to implement Cyril's findings, which inspired David Pinto to incorporate a lineup optimization tool on his blog, which further inspired many other blogs to apply the logic to their teams. Dan Scotto wrote a nice summary of the insights gained from Cyril's analysis.

Meanwhile, I was going around like a curmudgeon, telling people that a static regression model really shouldn't be used to construct something as dynamic as a lineup. I referenced Tom Ruane's excellent article on Retrosheet, which uses something called Markov Chains to evaluate the ideal lineup and concludes that lineup composition just doesn't much matter.

That seems hard to believe, doesn't it? It really doesn't matter if the pitcher bats first or ninth? I don't buy it, either. Plus, it's fun to talk about lineups. As baseball fans, they give us something to tinker with, and they provide important clues regarding how the manager thinks. I'd guess that many baseball fans love to debate their favorite team's lineup.

Luckily, I received a package Monday that contained a book called The Book. I've been waiting for The Book for about two years or so, when I first heard that Tangotiger (or Tom M. Tango ) and MGL (Mickey, Mitchel, UZR-guy) were planning to write a book together. They pulled Andy Dolphin into the effort, and the three of them took their sweet time writing it. The wait was worth it. They have written a book that every baseball manager and general manager should read, perhaps the best book of its kind since The Hidden Game of Baseball. And they included a chapter on lineup construction.

I'm not quite done reading The Book, and I'll have to re-read several sections a few times. But I paid particular attention to lineup construction, and I thought I'd share some of The Book with you. The Book is filled with concise, logical analyses that culminate in strategic guidelines, called "The Book Says." Here's the most important strategic guideline for lineup construction:

The Book Says:
Your three best hitters should bat somewhere in the #1, #2 and #4 slots. Your fourth- and fifth-best hitters should occupy the #3 and #5 slots. The #1 and #2 slots will have players with more walks than those in the #4 and #5 slots. From slot #6 through #9, put the players in descending order of quality.

I'm only scratching the surface of the lineup chapter with this quote, but there's obviously enough meat here to fill 10 articles. Don't worry; I'm only going to write one today. For this article, let's apply The Book's guideline to some real teams, using Baseball Prospectus' statistical projections for next year.

I'll start with Oakland, since they started this whole thing. Just to make things easy, I'll assume that Jay Payton bats instead of Frank Thomas. Here's what I came up with:



Name BA OBP SLG Bats
Bradley .279 .355 .447 S
Johnson .272 .353 .462 L
Crosby .269 .346 .451 R
Chavez .271 .354 .479 L
Swisher .252 .347 .453 S
Ellis .283 .351 .426 R
Kotsay .277 .332 .414 L
Payton .267 .312 .415 R
Kendall .270 .333 .338 R


Dan Johnson in the second positon doesn't compute, does it? Perhaps the most important thing The Book tells us is that we should put our stereotypes of leadoff and #2 hitters aside.

First, the guys in the first two slots bat most often during the year; why waste those appearances on below-average hitters, or even average ones?

Secondly, The Book's key analysis was an assessment of the potential run value of each batting event in a lineup. They found that hits by the leadoff and second batters will typically generate more runs than hits from any other lineup position (other than cleanup). Hard to believe? I think most fans underappreciate the importance of power in these first two positions. These guys are only guaranteed to start an inning once, the first inning. Many other times, particularly in the American League, they will bat with runners on base.

In a nutshell, the first two positions bat most often and their hits create more runs than those in most other positions. This is why The Book recommends that you place two of your three best hitters in the first two lineup positions. Through a simple OPS rating, Chavez, Bradley and Johnson are projected to be Oakland's three best hitters.

If you're an A's fan, you probably think Mark Ellis is going to hit better than .283/.351/.426. If so, putting him in the leadoff position might work. In fact, the A's have such a balanced lineup that it's very hard to construct a "wrong" lineup. Perhaps the most important thing manager Ken Macha should do is make sure he has no lefty or righty batters in back-to-back lineup slots. By avoiding consecutive players batting from the same side, he will have a strategic advantage late in the game against opposing relief specialists.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have a very unbalanced attack, featuring Vladimir Guerrero and a bunch of hopefuls. Last year, Vlad batted third about two-thirds of the time and fourth the rest of the time. Here's what The Book suggests:


Name BA OBP SLG Bats
Rivera .277 .328 .432 R
Anderson .283 .314 .450 L
Kennedy .271 .332 .389 L
Guerrero .314 .376 .546 R
Kotchman .270 .328 .398 L
Figgins .274 .334 .383 S
Erstad .264 .314 .364 L
Cabrera .262 .307 .368 R
Molina .227 .273 .339 R


According to The Book, Vlad should bat cleanup. In fact, (on the surface), The Book suggests batting Adam Kennedy third! I may be applying The Book too literally here, but there is some method in the madness.

In the 1988 Baseball Abstract, Bill James found that teams score the most runs in the first inning and the fewest runs in the second. This makes sense when you think about it, because lineups are structured to score the most when the leadoff batter bats first. But he also found that the overall average of the two innings was less than the average of every other inning. In other words, the typical lineup was overemphasizing the first inning at the expense of the second inning.

One of the problems is that teams often put their highest OBP batter in the third position, but the #3 spot is the one LEAST likely to lead off the second inning. James said it, others agreed, and The Book confirms it. In addition, The Book found that the #3 hitter has more plate appearances with two out and nobody on. So the run value of every hit (except the home run) is lower in the third position than in any other of the top five positions. That's why they recommend putting your fifth-best hitter in the three spot. Whether or not you believe that, the Angels should bat Vlad fourth.

You may have also noticed that I have Chone Figgins batting sixth instead of leading off. Given the way the Angels approach offense (singles, baserunning and Vlad), this might not make sense. In fact, the Angels have such a skewed distribution of talent that several of The Book's guidelines should probably be adjusted for them. But batting your top basestealer in the #6 spot makes sense in a lot of cases. Consider the New York Mets.

The Mets will probably have four great hitters in their lineup this year, if they stay healthy (Delgado, Wright, Beltran and Floyd) and these guys should obviously be placed in four of the top five slots. Their fifth-best hitter will probably be the Nady/Diaz platoon in right field. Their next-best hitters are projected to be Reyes, Lo Duca and Matsui (or whoever plays second). As you can see, that leaves Reyes, who led the NL in stolen bases last year, in the sixth position, which is probably the best place for him.

First of all, Reyes will almost certainly have a lousy OBP this year, no matter how much he works at it. Secondly, a basestealer for the Mets will have more value batting sixth instead of first. Why? According to The Book, there are a couple of reasons:

* A stolen base has the most value when it's done in front of singles hitters who don't strike out too much. Lo Duca and Matsui may be the two most prolific singles hitters the Mets have in 2006, and Lo Duca doesn't whiff very often.
* A caught stealing does much more damage with a Carlos Delgado or David Wright at the plate than a Paul Lo Duca or Kaz Matsui.

The logic seems overwhelming to me. Bat Reyes sixth.

Let's return to the American League West one more time and look at one more contending team, the Texas Rangers:


Name BA OBP SLG Bats
Dellucci .261 .363 .495 L
Blalock .282 .348 .510 L
Young .306 .355 .471 R
Teixeira .289 .371 .561 S
Wilkerson .263 .362 .473 L
Mench .278 .341 .480 R
Nevin .270 .325 .456 R
Kinsler .270 .328 .451 R
Barajas .249 .293 .434 R


Mark Teixeira should bat fourth, not third, for the same reason Vlad should. Brad Wilkerson, projected to bat leadoff, fits best into the fifth slot, though he's not out of place as a leadoff hitter either. This lineup makes sense except for one thing: there isn't enough balance between left-handed and right-handed batters. When you have David Dellucci and Hank Blalock batting back-to-back, you leave yourself open to a two-batter LOOGY. LOOGY stands for Left-handed One Out GuY, which is a misnomer when he can stay in the game to face two batters.

One other thing of note: the #3 hitter typically has the most plate appearances with a runner on first and the hole between the second baseman and the first baseman open, so you would like a left-handed batter in the three spot if at all possible. As a result, you might want to switch Blalock and Young in the Rangers' order, grudgingly.

The Book endorses another off-beat strategy: the second leadoff hitter. Here is what The Book Says:

The second leadoff hitter theory exists. You can put your pitcher in the eighth slot and gain a couple of extra runs per year.

You gain more by having a good hitter bat directly before your top hitters than you lose by giving your pitcher a few more plate appearances each year. I'm not talking about Jason Marquis or Dontrelle Willis. I'm talking about your bad-hitting pitchers. Move them up a spot. In fact, this strategic guideline argues AGAINST moving Marquis and Willis up in the order.

A couple of extra runs doesn't sound like a lot, but if you follow theses guidelines, you could gain 10-15 runs over a full season. About a win a year. And it wouldn't cost you anything except grief from your local media.

In the beginning of this article, I mentioned Cyril Morong's analysis and all the subsequent attempts at lineup construction. Did you read Dan Scotto's review of Morong's analysis? If not, you may want to. Dan's summary and The Book are actually very much in sync. They both emphasize the importance of good hitters upfront, and they deemphasize the strategy of batting your best hitter third. What's more, they both endorse the "second leadoff hitter" strategy. I'll admit that I was skeptical, but The Book validates many of Dan's points.

When two entirely separate approaches arrive at similar conclusions, people should listen. Think they will?

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/constructing-lineups/

Outshined_One
04-30-2007, 12:38 AM
I think it boils down to the following...

Given a pool of nine players, there is not much difference in terms of your total runs scored. Assuming you have weak bats, they will inevitably hurt you either by not getting on base for other batters to drive in or they will hurt you by not producing when you have men on base. Inevitably, different lineups with the same guys will really not amount to much because there will not be much of a change in their core production. Yeah, some guys might have their runs and RBIs shift around, but the total runs that lineup scores will not vary much.

Now, you understand that this is nearly impossible to test outside of a vacuum over the course of a season due to how much turnover most rosters go through in a season. Guys get injured, traded, demoted, released, and so on quite frequently. Plus, a number of these players might have problems in a given game that could harm their production, be it illness, hangovers, or whatever.

However, I think this suggests that, when you are going into a given day with a certain pool of players, where you bat them will most likely not affect the outcome of the game.

What matters the most is not necessarily what order the batters hit in. Rather, what matters the most is who the batters are. If you have Neifi Perez in your lineup, it won't matter if you're hitting him leadoff or 9th. He's still Neifi Perez. He is still an absolutely terrible hitter who will be a detriment to your lineup no matter where he hits.

KronoRed
04-30-2007, 02:11 AM
For my part, I absolutely believe it does matter. Not necesarily every game, but over the course of a season you want to give you better hitters more ABs.


That's what it boils down to for me, your better players should lead your team in appearances at the plate.

mth123
04-30-2007, 07:18 AM
As I've posted in other threads. Good management is about resource allocation. In the case of a major league manager, one of the most important resources is plate appearances. At the beginning of a game each manager is given 27 plate appearances and, in the case of a line-up (and who plays), its about "spending" those plate apprearances wisely. You want the best hitters who are likely to be successful and acquire extra plate appearances (by not making outs) to be the ones who you "spend" them on most frequently. The guys who get on base and the guys who can do the most damage should be the ones who get the most ABs and therefore should be the guys at the top of the line-up.

If the Reds get a guy on base (and therefore earn an extra plate appearance) I want Hamilton to be the guy to get that extra plate appearance. If they earn another, I want Dunn to get it, etc.

Based on that, I do think high OBP guys should all be at the top. If you have multiple guys with high OBP, I'd go a little old school and hit the ones with big power after the others to increase the likelihood that some one is on base when that power comes up. But I would not put significantly lower OBP guys in front of higher OBP guys simply for the sake of hitting the power guys 3, 4, 5.

I've posted some suggestions in the past for the reds and some were in violation of my own thought process. I do think that this changes over the course of the year and guys who are "hot" can be moved up because they are the most likely right now to earn and do something with the extra plate appearances (this isn't about going with your gut, but actually for guys who are "going good").

blumj
04-30-2007, 09:00 AM
[QUOTE=Redsland;1324509]Bill James says lineup construction is "overrated." Generally speaking, it's hard to argue with Bill James. But in all honesty, his published work is a bit suspect now that he's on an MLB team's payroll. Misinformation and all that rot. [QUOTE]
Terry Francona has mentioned many times that whenever he asks Bill James lineup order question, James insists that the variation in run scoring isn't worth the aggravation of doing anything controversial. I really don't think you have to worry about misinformation coming from him on this (and IMO, not in general), since Francona does almost no lineup shuffling.

RFS62
04-30-2007, 09:05 AM
If I had Francona's personnel, I wouldn't do a lot of lineup shifting either.

blumj
04-30-2007, 09:43 AM
If I had Francona's personnel, I wouldn't do a lot of lineup shifting either.
Even when he had a lot of guys hurt last year, he seemed to be prioritizing stability over maximizing run scoring on any given day. Point being, I think that if Bill James was telling the world one thing and the Red Sox something else, it would probably show up in what they do. Their lineups are usually stable and generally fairly conventional.

IslandRed
04-30-2007, 11:42 AM
Even when he had a lot of guys hurt last year, he seemed to be prioritizing stability over maximizing run scoring on any given day. Point being, I think that if Bill James was telling the world one thing and the Red Sox something else, it would probably show up in what they do. Their lineups are usually stable and generally fairly conventional.

Good point. Maybe the lesson is, if there's no significant advantage to building your batting order the traditional way, there isn't any significant harm either.

SunDeck
04-30-2007, 12:10 PM
The guys who get the most bases and the most pitches need to get the highest number of at bats in a game. That should be intuitive, but we need stats I guess to prove it. (Sigh).

Batting order matters insofar as it may make sense to have the faster guys hitting in front of good hitters. But if those fast guys don't get on base it doesn't make a whole lot of difference (duh). For instance, if Adam Dunn is not protected he will get walked, which is a base no matter how you look at it. However, since he runs like he's carrying a piano, then I would rather put him in a position to hit the ball rather than take a walk, probably third or fourth in the order. But not sixth...heavens no. The guy needs to be one of the players who are getting that extra at bat. I wouldn't drop him down below fourth.

Anyway, so in the sense that you need to maximize the at bats for the guys who get bases and who see pitches, then yes, batting order matters. Otherwise, the act of tossing guys into all sorts of places, or of the every once in a while used good hitter in the eight hole; these things are probably over managing. Just get the bats in the hands of the guys who use them best as often as possible and move on.

Ltlabner
04-30-2007, 12:28 PM
Simple answer, high OBP and SLG guys at the front end of the order to get more PA over the course of a year.

Involved answer. I really think there is something to be said for stability and people having assigned roles. It works in the bullpen, why wouldn't it work in the batting line up? I have to belive that even at the professional level if a guy is slated into the #4 spot he's going to swing for the fences just because its "clean up" (and without regard for his natural skill set at the plate).

Also, I think guys like the confidence of knowing that regardless if they have a 0-4 night they aren't going to suddenly be batting 8th. These guys are all competitive and I know I sure would consider it a "demotion" or "punishment" if I was a big stick who suddenely found himself hitting behind the pitcher. That has to have some effect on them mentally. Why give them something else to worry about. Slate them in a spot, and send them out there so they can focus on the pitcher.

Not to mention that the day by day changes to chase a "hot bat" is not likely to net any real gains and likely hurt the team over time. I don't buy into running out a wacky line up just to "shake things up". What the heck does that even mean? Besides, even if it works, it's likely a short term boost that over time will not hold up (and that assumes the manager will continue to run said wacky line up out there more than once).

Too many managers create a line up for the short term when they should be constructing it for the long term.

RANDY IN INDY
04-30-2007, 04:06 PM
Too many managers create a line up for the short term when they should be constructing it for the long term.

What if said lineup isn't working because your personnel isn't performing like they are expected. Doesn't take long for a season to go down the tubes. Then it is the manager's job.

Far East
05-01-2007, 12:44 AM
"...the #3 hitter has more plate appearances with two out and nobody on. So the run value of every hit (except the home run) is lower in the third position than in any other of the top five positions. That's why they recommend putting your fifth-best hitter in the three spot."

Using this and other Bill James' guidelines, does Hatteberg's OBP warrant a trial at the top of the order (although he just might miss being one of the top 4 hitters)?

Then the guy most likely to get plate appearances with 2 outs and nobody on base being a (career, at least) singles hitter -- Gonzalez (arguably, at least the Reds' 5th best hitter during his curent streak) batting third

Player --- OBP --- SLG -- AVG

HATTEBERG .375 .448 .310
HAMILTON .365 .609 .266
GONZALEZ .372 .519 .329
DUNN .363 .511 .261
GRIFFEY .380 .390 .254
PHILLIPS .327 .465 .263
ENCARNACION .294 .260 .221
ROSS .213 .232 .179

Dunn, in the #4 spot, will either bat in the first inning with a runner or more on base or will lead off the 2nd inning to possibly draw his base on balls to start that inning with a baserunner.

Remember that this thread is more about what is (statistically) most likely to work, not about comparing some lineup's #3 hitter (Gonzalez, in this example), let's say, with other traditional ones that "sound" more potent and featured the likes of Mantle, Mays, Aaron, Bonds, Abreu, Pujois, or some other team's best hitter at #3. Because they too were more likely than not to get to the plate in the first inning with the bases empty.

mth123
05-01-2007, 07:31 AM
"...the #3 hitter has more plate appearances with two out and nobody on. So the run value of every hit (except the home run) is lower in the third position than in any other of the top five positions. That's why they recommend putting your fifth-best hitter in the three spot."

Using this and other Bill James' guidelines, does Hatteberg's OBP warrant a trial at the top of the order (although he just might miss being one of the top 4 hitters)?

Then the guy most likely to get plate appearances with 2 outs and nobody on base being a (career, at least) singles hitter -- Gonzalez (arguably, at least the Reds' 5th best hitter during his curent streak) batting thi

Player --- OBP --- SLG -- AVG

HATTEBERG .375 .448 .310
HAMILTON .365 .609 .266
GONZALEZ .372 .519 .329
DUNN .363 .511 .261
GRIFFEY .380 .390 .254
PHILLIPS .327 .465 .263
ENCARNACION .294 .260 .221
ROSS .213 .232 .179

Dunn, in the #4 spot, will either bat in the first inning with a runner or more on base or will lead off the 2nd inning to possibly draw his base on balls to start that inning with a baserunner.

Remember that this thread is more about what is (statistically) most likely to work, not about comparing some lineup's #3 hitter (Gonzalez, in this example), let's say, with other traditional ones that "sound" more potent and featured the likes of Mantle, Mays, Aaron, Bonds, Abreu, Pujois, or some other team's best hitter at #3. Because they too were more likely than not to get to the plate in the first inning with the bases empty.

This is a good post, but this can be taken a step further. The number 3 hitter comes up with 2 outs and none on so much because teams consistently screw-up with the choices to lead-off and hit second. Decisions to put a speedy base stealer at lead-off no matter what the OBP may be (think decent average, no walk, OBP challenged Juan Pierre) and a "bat handler that can hit behind the runner or get a bunt down" at the 2 spot (think of some one like Aaron Miles) leads to low percentage OBP guys hitting first and second. I think this is a huge contributor to the #3 spot so frequently coming up with 2 outs and none on.

I'd rather stick with my best OBP guys in the top 2 spots regardless of speed and power (but given relatively similar OBP, I'd hit the speedier at 1 and the more powerful at 2 in a perfect world). Then the condition leading to 2 out and none on at the 3 spot would disappear. Moving Alex Gonzalez there is treating the symptom (the #3 spot coming up with 2 out and none on) and not the disease (too many outs in the 1st and 2nd spots).

Ltlabner
05-01-2007, 08:27 AM
What if said lineup isn't working because your personnel isn't performing like they are expected. Doesn't take long for a season to go down the tubes. Then it is the manager's job.

Some changes may need to be made if a player is really slumping or is injured. But the changes should be made with an eye towards the long term instead of "we'll give this a try tonight and if it doesn't work will try something different tomorow".

In theroy anyway, if a manager matches a players skills with a role in the line up correctly, players have the best chance of being successful and avoiding slumps (or at least, avoiding slumps because they are miscast for their role and they are not being successfull, which often leads to pressing and a downward spiral).

GAC
05-01-2007, 10:08 AM
Some changes may need to be made if a player is really slumping or is injured. But the changes should be made with an eye towards the long term instead of "we'll give this a try tonight and if it doesn't work will try something different tomorow".

But if a player is slumping or even injured, isn't moving a player or two around possibly necessary for the short term? If I see player really struggling at the plate, while another guy has gotten hot further down in the lineup, why not, even if it's only for a week, switch those two? You're taking that slumping player out of a pressure position to aid in possibly helping him get his swing/timing back, while also taking advantage of that hot player.

If it is helping the team to win, even in the short term, what's the problem?

For instance. Simple question. Did it hurt or help this team batting Gonzo farther up in the lineup over the last week? Whose position in the batting order did he take that hurt this team during that time?

And I doubt very much that Gonzo will stay there seeing his history offensively. But IMHO, I don't think you always base lineup construction on player(s) history. I'm not saying it isn't instrumental - just not "written in stone".

Ltlabner
05-01-2007, 12:50 PM
But if a player is slumping or even injured, isn't moving a player or two around possibly necessary for the short term? If I see player really struggling at the plate, while another guy has gotten hot further down in the lineup, why not, even if it's only for a week, switch those two? You're taking that slumping player out of a pressure position to aid in possibly helping him get his swing/timing back, while also taking advantage of that hot player.

If it is helping the team to win, even in the short term, what's the problem?

No, I wasn't clear. Of course, you may have to make adjustments because of injuries and whatnot. I'm talking more about how managers micro manage their lineups trying to eek out some advantage for that night or pitching matchup when over the long haul they chase their tails and likely eliminate whatever positives they acheived by also making mistakes, poor performance, etc.

I'd rather see a line up constructed that will produce more runs over the long haul of a season, than a line up constructed to get more runs one particular game. Managers, no matter how good, just can't get it right every single night if they change their lineups daily. So, over time, are they really acomplishing anything other than jerking players around? When I say "short term" I mean managers who try to tailor their line ups on a night by night basis.

I'm not a huge fan of "riding the hot player". If they are hitting well in the 8 hole for a week, it doesn't imply they will hit equally well in the 4 spot for a week. If a player has success for some length of time (and I'm not sure what that would be) then I'd be cool with moving them up in the order. But players streaks are so short-lived (relative to the whole season) that by the time you recoginize a player is on, and redjust the order, he is likely to be comming back down. What does that accomplish?

RANDY IN INDY
05-01-2007, 03:00 PM
Youneverknow.

Ohioballplayer
05-01-2007, 04:22 PM
"...the #3 hitter has more plate appearances with two out and nobody on. So the run value of every hit (except the home run) is lower in the third position than in any other of the top five positions. That's why they recommend putting your fifth-best hitter in the three spot."

Using this and other Bill James' guidelines, does Hatteberg's OBP warrant a trial at the top of the order (although he just might miss being one of the top 4 hitters)?

Then the guy most likely to get plate appearances with 2 outs and nobody on base being a (career, at least) singles hitter -- Gonzalez (arguably, at least the Reds' 5th best hitter during his curent streak) batting third

Player --- OBP --- SLG -- AVG

HATTEBERG .375 .448 .310
HAMILTON .365 .609 .266
GONZALEZ .372 .519 .329
DUNN .363 .511 .261
GRIFFEY .380 .390 .254
PHILLIPS .327 .465 .263
ENCARNACION .294 .260 .221
ROSS .213 .232 .179

Dunn, in the #4 spot, will either bat in the first inning with a runner or more on base or will lead off the 2nd inning to possibly draw his base on balls to start that inning with a baserunner.

Remember that this thread is more about what is (statistically) most likely to work, not about comparing some lineup's #3 hitter (Gonzalez, in this example), let's say, with other traditional ones that "sound" more potent and featured the likes of Mantle, Mays, Aaron, Bonds, Abreu, Pujois, or some other team's best hitter at #3. Because they too were more likely than not to get to the plate in the first inning with the bases empty.

GREAT POST Far East, good info!!!!!!