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View Full Version : Great article in SI re: lineup construction



RedsManRick
04-09-2010, 12:39 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/sky_andrecheck/04/08/pirates.order/index.html?eref=sircrc

The whole article is worth a read, but here is my favorite section, given my recent crusade about putting speed lower in the order:


But the Pirates' unorthodox moves don't stop there. Batting leadoff is the un-leadoffish Akinori Iwamura. The second baseman doesn't fit the prototype for a leadoff man, considering that he has never stolen more than 12 bases in a season. The move is even more curious when you consider that McCutchen, Jones and Lastings Milledge all have stronger stolen base capabilities, yet are hitting further down in the order. But according to the statistics in The Book, the leadoff man's most important attributes are to be a very good hitter overall and to have the ability to get on base, which Iwamura is very adept at doing. In fact, the advantage of speed at the top of the order is actually somewhat mitigated by the fact that you don't want to risk getting thrown out stealing ahead of the best hitters in the lineup.

vaticanplum
04-09-2010, 12:51 PM
Interesting but not as ground-breaking as he wants it to be, I think. The purist in me says that you want to get your worst hitter, ie. the pitcher, to the plate the least, ie. bat him ninth. But statistically they make good points about having someone on base for the leadoff man...if you have a good leadoff man who gets on base of course. And of course if it was really a late game crucial situation and your no. 8-hitting pitcher was up, you'd just put in a pinch runner anyway I guess.

The thing I'm not sold on is McCutchen batting second. To wit: Despite the evidence, managers have refused to listen, and great players from Bonds to Pujols continue to hit in the No. 3 spot (which is suboptimal because they tend to often come to bat with the bases empty and two out). This just doesn't make any sense. The article has just told us that the important thing for your top hitters is not speed but OBP (which I agree with of course). And now they're saying that No. 3 is bad for strong hitters because the bases will be empty. What? What am I missing? I understand that McCutcheon is there because he's two spots removed from a player who is hopefully on base, but...he's also hopefully batting with a couple of dudes on base. Now we're going in circles, ugh.

Of course, this is the Pirates we're talking about, and all of this fuss is over obvious on-base machine Ronny Cedeno. Really, the dang team is just doing anything to get people to remember they exist.

Incidentally, articles like this do make me wonder what planet Dusty Baker lives on.

Cedric
04-09-2010, 12:59 PM
Guys with high OBP should bat leadoff? WOW that's groundbreaking.

RedsManRick
04-09-2010, 01:01 PM
Interesting but not as ground-breaking as he wants it to be, I think.

Groundbreaking for those of us who read The BOOK when it came out? Nope. Groundbreaking for the casual fan who thinks speed>OBP and that pitchers batting 8th are for geeks in their basements? Perhaps.

In any event, I'm not sure why you think he's trying to be groundbreaking at all. The goal, as I see it, is not break new ground, but rather to bring strategies based in analysis rather than gut to the masses.

nate
04-09-2010, 01:08 PM
Interesting but not as ground-breaking as he wants it to be, I think. The purist in me says that you want to get your worst hitter, ie. the pitcher, to the plate the least, ie. bat him ninth. But statistically they make good points about having someone on base for the leadoff man...if you have a good leadoff man who gets on base of course. And of course if it was really a late game crucial situation and your no. 8-hitting pitcher was up, you'd just put in a pinch runner anyway I guess.

The thing I'm not sold on is McCutchen batting second. To wit: Despite the evidence, managers have refused to listen, and great players from Bonds to Pujols continue to hit in the No. 3 spot (which is suboptimal because they tend to often come to bat with the bases empty and two out). This just doesn't make any sense. The article has just told us that the important thing for your top hitters is not speed but OBP (which I agree with of course). And now they're saying that No. 3 is bad for strong hitters because the bases will be empty. What? What am I missing?

In a "traditional" lineup where "speedy than on-basier" guys hit 1 and 2, it's more likely the 3 hitter comes up with the bases empty than the idea put forth in the article that if you have an "on base guy" hitting first, your best hitter can go in the 2 spot and avoid empty nesting.

In other words, it's not saying that the "new" method results in the 3-spot up with two outs and no one on. It's saying the traditional method results in that.


Incidentally, articles like this do make me wonder what planet Dusty Baker lives on.

The one where he got a discount on 1,000, pre-filled "1-CF, 2-SS" lineup cards.

nate
04-09-2010, 01:08 PM
Groundbreaking for those of us who read The BOOK when it came out? Nope. Groundbreaking for the casual fan who thinks speed>OBP and that pitchers batting 8th are for geeks in their basements? Perhaps.

In any event, I'm not sure why you think he's trying to be groundbreaking at all. The goal, as I see it, is not break new ground, but rather to bring strategies based in analysis rather than gut to the masses.

Did you post this from your basement?

:cool:

blumj
04-09-2010, 01:10 PM
Totally OT, but, you guys are probably going to really "hate" Iwamura.

bucksfan2
04-09-2010, 01:10 PM
Granted, Andrew McCutchen isn't Albert Pujols or Barry Bonds, but the move still gives the Pirates the best chance to win. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, even though Russell may be pulling all of the right strings, choosing a great strategic batting order can only take you so far. According to The Book, even great lineup strategy can only provide a team with 10 to 15 extra runs per season. That translates to just 1 to 1.5 wins. For as much as managers and fans agonize over possible batting orders, it's not going to make or break a season, and it certainly can't make up for poor players. In baseball, everybody eventually comes to bat, and because of that, the batting order can't have an enormous effect on the outcome of the game. Vastly more important, of course, are the players in the lineup, regardless of how they are arranged. Russell may be doing all he can, but he can't make gold out of lead just by shifting the order around. The result is likely to be another losing season, followed by media proclamations declaring the batting order experiment a failure. However, in reality, the 2010 Pirates will likely lose in spite of, rather than because of John Russell's clever and unusual lineup machinations.

The bolded part is what I find important. First off I do take some exception to the comment that Russell is pulling all the right strings. Well maybe to you he is pulling all the right strings, but to others he isn't. Batting the pitcher 8th is not anything groundbreaking, nor has it really proven to work better. We have seen Tony LaRussa go back and forth between this philosophy during his time his time in St. Louis.

I also think that he brings to light that all the debating over lineup construction is really not all that important. The difference between a traditional lineup and "The Book" lineup is 1 game, not a big enough deal for me to be worried.

As for the 2 vs 3 best hitter debate I don't quite get it. I get that in the first inning he is likely to come up to the plate with 2 outs and no runners on base. But using the 2 hole logic he is only guaranteed one inning in which he comes to the plate with less than 2 outs. And if you move a good OBP guy into the 9th spot what difference are you making? NL teams are always going to pitch around the pitcher. In effect what you are doing is limiting the number of at bats a good OBP guy is going to get by putting him at the bottom of the order. If the pitcher makes the last out in an inning you are back to the same philosophy of your best hitter coming to the plate with 2 outs and no one on.

Why not hit your best hitter 1st and two good OBP guys 8-9? Your getting your best hitter the most at bats possible while hopefully putting men on base for his 2nd and 3rd at bats. While you do move your P into the 7th spot how many times through a batting order do you expect him to make 2? I would imagine thats pretty much the same in regards to the 7 hole vs the 9 hole.

vaticanplum
04-09-2010, 01:11 PM
In a "traditional" lineup where "speedy than on-basier" guys hit 1 and 2, it's more likely the 3 hitter comes up with the bases empty than the idea put forth in the article that if you have an "on base guy" hitting first, your best hitter can go in the 2 spot and avoid empty nesting.

In other words, it's not saying that the "new" method results in the 3-spot up with two outs and no one on. It's saying the traditional method results in that.

How many teams really follow that now though? (um, do not answer that, Reds fans.) A few years back there was an article in SI about the groundbreaking approach of the White Sox in their reverting to the speed demon leadoff model with Scott Podsednik. (Which was ironic given what a power-hitting club they were at the time anyway, but whatever.)

I see your point though. I just can't think of many teams where they actually do reserve the 1 and 2 spots for the scrappy guys, or at least for the scrappy guys who...don't get on base.

vaticanplum
04-09-2010, 01:13 PM
Why not hit your best hitter 1st and two good OBP guys 8-9? Your getting your best hitter the most at bats possible while hopefully putting men on base for his 2nd and 3rd at bats. While you do move your P into the 7th spot how many times through a batting order do you expect him to make 2? I would imagine thats pretty much the same in regards to the 7 hole vs the 9 hole.

Because every game has a first inning?

Roy Tucker
04-09-2010, 01:21 PM
So how much of a difference does it make to bat the pitcher 8th?

oneupper
04-09-2010, 01:24 PM
So how much of a difference does it make to bat the pitcher 8th?

IIRC it was something like 2 runs a season.

bucksfan2
04-09-2010, 01:31 PM
Because every game has a first inning?

Yea but you get the heart of your order up from the get go.

Im being a little bit tongue and cheek but also a curious. You are guaranteeing your best player the most amount of at bats per game. Your also giving your best sluggers the top three amount of at bats in a game. Look at the Cardinals, would you rather face Pujols, Holiday, and Rasmus the most or Ryan, Shumacher, and Pujols?

Redsfan320
04-09-2010, 01:47 PM
Why not hit your best hitter 1st and two good OBP guys 8-9? Your getting your best hitter the most at bats possible while hopefully putting men on base for his 2nd and 3rd at bats. While you do move your P into the 7th spot how many times through a batting order do you expect him to make 2? I would imagine thats pretty much the same in regards to the 7 hole vs the 9 hole.

Very interesting idea. I certainly see the point.

320

westofyou
04-09-2010, 01:56 PM
Theory is nice, but without executions it's just theory.
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/boxscore?gid=300408123&page=plays

Bottom 4th: Pittsburgh
- G. Jones walked
- R. Doumit singled to shallow right, G. Jones to second
- R. Church struck out swinging
- D. Young walked, G. Jones to third, R. Doumit to second
- A. LaRoche struck out looking
- P. Maholm struck out looking

0 runs, 1 hits, 0 errors

nate
04-09-2010, 02:08 PM
How many teams really follow that now though? (um, do not answer that, Reds fans.) A few years back there was an article in SI about the groundbreaking approach of the White Sox in their reverting to the speed demon leadoff model with Scott Podsednik. (Which was ironic given what a power-hitting club they were at the time anyway, but whatever.)

It's less groundbreaking when the guy is fast AND has a career .341 OBP.


I see your point though. I just can't think of many teams where they actually do reserve the 1 and 2 spots for the scrappy guys, or at least for the scrappy guys who...don't get on base.

Well...there's at least one!

:cool:

nate
04-09-2010, 02:17 PM
Theory is nice, but without executions it's just theory.
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/boxscore?gid=300408123&page=plays

Bottom 4th: Pittsburgh
- G. Jones walked
- R. Doumit singled to shallow right, G. Jones to second
- R. Church struck out swinging
- D. Young walked, G. Jones to third, R. Doumit to second
- A. LaRoche struck out looking
- P. Maholm struck out looking

0 runs, 1 hits, 0 errors

I'm not really putting much credence in a single inning example.

westofyou
04-09-2010, 02:21 PM
I'm not really putting much credence in a single inning example.

Nah you can't, but it does hit a hundred on the irony scale.

As I've said before the lineup thing is nothing new, Bobby Bragen tried a unique order based on batting average and batting the pitcher in the 7th or 8th slots for RBI opps for his 1-2 hitters in 1957, it also was with the Pirates.

lollipopcurve
04-09-2010, 02:39 PM
So much ironing of the underwear. Yeah, you might feel just that little bit more spry, but, still, it doesn't change who you are.

nate
04-09-2010, 03:16 PM
Nah you can't, but it does hit a hundred on the irony scale.

My scale could be using a different calibration.


As I've said before the lineup thing is nothing new, Bobby Bragen tried a unique order based on batting average and batting the pitcher in the 7th or 8th slots for RBI opps for his 1-2 hitters in 1957, it also was with the Pirates.

Yes, I read that with interest and looked it up that season. He never really tried it for long enough to tell if it worked. Nor, I imagine, would any ownership or fanbase tolerate something so "different" for any length of time (read: 2 losses.)

We can't compare an actual season with lineup x to the same season with lineup y. However, I do feel that on teams with disparate talent, the difference between the most optimal lineup and the less optimal lineup is large to warrant implementing former more often than the latter.

westofyou
04-09-2010, 03:23 PM
We can't compare an actual season with lineup x to the same season with lineup y. However, I do feel that on teams with disparate talent, the difference between the most optimal lineup and the less optimal lineup is large to warrant implementing former more often than the latter.

With Strat it can be done

RedsManRick
04-09-2010, 03:41 PM
Theory is nice, but without executions it's just theory.
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/boxscore?gid=300408123&page=plays

Bottom 4th: Pittsburgh
- G. Jones walked
- R. Doumit singled to shallow right, G. Jones to second
- R. Church struck out swinging
- D. Young walked, G. Jones to third, R. Doumit to second
- A. LaRoche struck out looking
- P. Maholm struck out looking

0 runs, 1 hits, 0 errors

Yup. One counter-example disproves the theory. I'll remember that next time Votto makes out #3 with runners on base...[/sarcasm] (I'm not sure if you were truly making this argument or just being sarcastic -- I assume the latter, but mean no offense either way...)

This is precisely the issue with these conversations. Human brains just aren't wired to see small advantages over long periods of time. Rather, we grab on to particularly memorable events that reinforce our existing biases. It's why we like speed at the top of the lineup. That one memorable time when you get the single, SB, sac bunt, sac fly makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and justifies all of the back-to-back outs.

People don't trust the analysis because it runs counter to a convention built upon and reinforced by anecdote and flawed logic. People then look for any other anecdotes which back up their doubts about the conclusions. They cite convention as sufficient evidence for the current method deserving the benefit of the doubt -- as if things which are wrong can not become incorrectly accepted as right.

The copious references to the Red Sox brief foray in to the bullpen by committee approach is another classic example of this. The underlying analysis rarely, if ever, gets attacked on its merits in any sort of rigorous manner -- no need to when you can just grab a counter-example and feel you've made your point.

Spring~Fields
04-09-2010, 03:42 PM
My scale could be using a different calibration.



Yes, I read that with interest and looked it up that season. He never really tried it for long enough to tell if it worked. Nor, I imagine, would any ownership or fanbase tolerate something so "different" for any length of time (read: 2 losses.)

We can't compare an actual season with lineup x to the same season with lineup y. However, I do feel that on teams with disparate talent, the difference between the most optimal lineup and the less optimal lineup is large to warrant implementing former more often than the latter.

:clap::clap::clap::clap:

I agree with you. Why wouldn't the last bolded paragraph be right? Asking, not telling.

RedsManRick
04-09-2010, 03:54 PM
How many teams really follow that now though? (um, do not answer that, Reds fans.) A few years back there was an article in SI about the groundbreaking approach of the White Sox in their reverting to the speed demon leadoff model with Scott Podsednik. (Which was ironic given what a power-hitting club they were at the time anyway, but whatever.)

I see your point though. I just can't think of many teams where they actually do reserve the 1 and 2 spots for the scrappy guys, or at least for the scrappy guys who...don't get on base.

The White Sox example based solely in the practice of one backed by the gut feeling of a manager who wanted his team's strategy to reflect his own strengths as a player and personal predilections.

The current is based on a rigorous, published, and peer-reviewed analysis which lays its assumptions on the table and clearly demonstrates the method by which it concluded that its suggested approach was superior. SI was merely using the Pirates as context, not proof.

That so many people treat these approaches to arriving at a preferred strategy as equally valid is one the great frustrations of the analytically inclined.

Spring~Fields
04-09-2010, 03:55 PM
Yup. One counter-example disproves the theory. I'll remember that next time Votto makes out #3 with runners on base... (I'm not sure if you were truly making this argument or just being sarcastic -- I assume the latter, but mean no offense either way...)

This is precisely the issue with these conversations. Human brains just aren't wired to see small advantages over long periods of time. Rather, we grab on to particularly memorable events that reinforce our existing biases. It's why we like speed at the top of the lineup. That one memorable time when you get the single, SB, sac bunt, sac fly makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and justifies all of the back-to-back outs.

People don't trust the analysis because it runs counter to a convention built upon and reinforced by anecdote and flawed logic. People then look for any other anecdotes which back up their doubts about the conclusions. They site convention as sufficient evidence for the current method deserving the benefit of the doubt -- as if things which are wrong can become incorrectly accepted as right. T

The copious references to the Red Sox brief foray in to the bullpen by committee approach is another classic example of this. The underlying analysis rarely, if ever, gets attacked on its merits in any sort of rigorous manner -- no need to when you can just grab a counter-example and feel you've made your point.

Excellent and outstanding

nate
04-09-2010, 04:32 PM
With Strat it can be done

Maybe MLB is just some pantheon of dieties' ongoing strat game!

:cool:

membengal
04-09-2010, 04:43 PM
Maybe MLB is just some pantheon of dieties' ongoing strat game!

:cool:

Like Jenny Craig and Richard Simmons?

nate
04-09-2010, 04:46 PM
:clap::clap::clap::clap:

I agree with you. Why wouldn't the last bolded paragraph be right? Asking, not telling.

I'm just saying that when one has a lineup with a wide variety of talent, the "good" ways of putting the lineup together yield significantly better results than the "bad" ways of doing so. This translates into runs and wins over a season. The 2009 Yankees were going to score a ton of runs no matter how you ordered it. This is what happens when your "worst" regular still has a .331 wOBA and most every other starter with 400 PAs is at a heady .370 or above.

When you have a lineup where the talent is more homogenized, there is less difference between the best and the worst lineups.

bucksfan2
04-09-2010, 05:00 PM
I'm just saying that when one has a lineup with a wide variety of talent, the "good" ways of putting the lineup together yield significantly better results than the "bad" ways of doing so. This translates into runs and wins over a season. The 2009 Yankees were going to score a ton of runs no matter how you ordered it. This is what happens when your "worst" regular still has a .331 wOBA and most every other starter with 400 PAs is at a heady .370 or above.

When you have a lineup where the talent is more homogenized, there is less difference between the best and the worst lineups.

What your saying makes sense, but I don't think it applies to MLB. The reality is we are talking about the best of the best. Even the lowly Pirates have good major league players.

I think when you talk about optimal line ups vs sub-optimal lineups there just isn't that much of a difference. Its not like the sub-optimal lineups have the worst player hitting first (although the Reds did have WT there for a while) and their best player hitting last. To compound on that if you have a two players with .050 of OBP or BA that you are debating about you are talking about roughly one hit/walk per week.

RedsManRick
04-09-2010, 05:10 PM
What your saying makes sense, but I don't think it applies to MLB. The reality is we are talking about the best of the best. Even the lowly Pirates have good major league players.

I think when you talk about optimal line ups vs sub-optimal lineups there just isn't that much of a difference. Its not like the sub-optimal lineups have the worst player hitting first (although the Reds did have WT there for a while) and their best player hitting last. To compound on that if you have a two players with .050 of OBP or BA that you are debating about you are talking about roughly one hit/walk per week.

But even if the maximum difference is no more than 1-2 wins worth, why give away 1-2 wins? That's the question. There's such a vociferous, knee-jerk reaction to suggestions that conventional lineup construction ideas aren't ideal and that sabermetric guys might actually be on to something.

The establishment of the sport seems so paranoid about having their expertise threatened that they will dismiss out of hand, without any careful consideration, ideas which could result in winning more games.

bucksfan2
04-09-2010, 05:28 PM
But even if the maximum difference is no more than 1-2 wins worth, why give away 1-2 wins? That's the question. There's such a vociferous, knee-jerk reaction to suggestions that convention lineup construction ideas aren't ideal and that sabermetric guys might actually be on to something.

The establishment of the sport seems so paranoid about having their expertise threatened that they will dismiss out of hand, without any careful consideration, ideas which could result in winning more games.

Were talking about in theory a 1-2 game difference. That 1-2 game difference could very well be made up in intangibles in lineup construction. My issue is that these non-conventional lineups have been tested out. St. Louis has done it. Milwaukee has done it. As WOY mentioned Pittsburgh did it years ago. But no team has stuck with a non-conventional for an extended period of time. And when you look at StL or Milwaukee the engine that drives them are Pujols and Fielder, non any advanced construction.

pedro
04-09-2010, 05:32 PM
But even if the maximum difference is no more than 1-2 wins worth, why give away 1-2 wins? That's the question. There's such a vociferous, knee-jerk reaction to suggestions that conventional lineup construction ideas aren't ideal and that sabermetric guys might actually be on to something.

The establishment of the sport seems so paranoid about having their expertise threatened that they will dismiss out of hand, without any careful consideration, ideas which could result in winning more games.


I think a certain amount of credence has to be given to doing things that are accepted by the players themselves, most of whom aren't advanced statitical thinkers. What's the cost of losing your teams confidence because they don't agree with what you are doing?

IslandRed
04-09-2010, 05:38 PM
But even if the maximum difference is no more than 1-2 wins worth, why give away 1-2 wins? That's the question. There's such a vociferous, knee-jerk reaction to suggestions that convention lineup construction ideas aren't ideal and that sabermetric guys might actually be on to something.

The establishment of the sport seems so paranoid about having their expertise threatened that they will dismiss out of hand, without any careful consideration, ideas which could result in winning more games.

Well, it's also possible that they disagree with the underlying assumption of simulation models, which is that individual performance remains at a fixed level regardless of the lineup combination. Players are human, after all.

I'm also not sure if the simulations account for platoon splits and situational reliever usage. If the "optimal" model puts together a row of same-handed hitters with poor platoon splits, but assumes performance will be unaffected, that's a problem. The obvious opponent countermeasure will result in them having more plate appearances against same-handed pitchers than they otherwise would, especially in high-leverage situations, and that's going to affect their baseline numbers, not to mention win expectancy.

pedro
04-09-2010, 05:40 PM
That's an excellent point Islandred

nate
04-09-2010, 05:41 PM
What your saying makes sense, but I don't think it applies to MLB. The reality is we are talking about the best of the best. Even the lowly Pirates have good major league players.

I'm not talking about good teams and bad teams. I'm talking lineups with talent that's quite varied and talent that's very similar.


I think when you talk about optimal line ups vs sub-optimal lineups there just isn't that much of a difference.

Well, if we're talking about a team that missed the playoffs by a game and had a guy hitting first because he was fast rather than good at getting on base, I wonder if there "just isn't that much of a difference."

These kinds of comments just boggle my mind. What "difference" is worth pursuing? In baseball, there isn't ANY single move one can make whether that's a player acquisition, a strategic move, a coach, etc. that will net you more than five games in and of itself. It's the sum of all moves that make a difference.

So you tell me, what amount of difference is worthwhile?


Its not like the sub-optimal lineups have the worst player hitting first (although the Reds did have WT there for a while) and their best player hitting last. To compound on that if you have a two players with .050 of OBP or BA that you are debating about you are talking about roughly one hit/walk per week.

Again, what kind of difference is worth pursuing? Hypothetically, the Reds could finish a game out and Dusty bats Stubbs leadoff with a .310 OBP and Cabrera's .320 2nd for 150 games when Dickerson ends up at .350. Is there a game or two difference in there?

I want my team hosting a blood drive for rocks.

nate
04-09-2010, 05:43 PM
Like Jenny Craig and Richard Simmons?

Or Daniel Craig and Gene Simmons.

nate
04-09-2010, 05:51 PM
But even if the maximum difference is no more than 1-2 wins worth, why give away 1-2 wins? That's the question. There's such a vociferous, knee-jerk reaction to suggestions that conventional lineup construction ideas aren't ideal and that sabermetric guys might actually be on to something.

The establishment of the sport seems so paranoid about having their expertise threatened that they will dismiss out of hand, without any careful consideration, ideas which could result in winning more games.

High five.

RedsManRick
04-09-2010, 05:51 PM
I think a certain amount of credence has to be given to doing things that are accepted by the players themselves, most of whom aren't advanced statitical thinkers. What's the cost of losing your teams confidence because they don't agree with what you are doing?

A possibility, I concede. And it's possible that the benefit would be offset by lessened performance due to a loss of confidence from the players or from discomfort from the approach. However, that also sounds an awful lot like a potential excuse from somebody who doesn't want to argue the merits of the proposal and needs a counter-argument that relies on his unique knowledge.

I would love to be a fly on the wall when the manager posts the lineup as advocated by the sabermetricians. Presumably, the manager would give a bit of an explanation to the team first. And it would also not just be a random middle of the season change, but a planned change in strategic approach from the very beginning of the season. I'm legitimately curious about how much the players would complain.

I don't think it's really fair to paint "the players" as a group with a broad brush. I imagine some will understand it and love it. Some won't get it but will do what's asked of them. And some will grumble about the change. But at the end of the day, none of us really know how it would be/is received. I would think that there's more to be lost from not trying something at all than be giving it a go and changing back if necessary.

jmcclain19
04-09-2010, 05:56 PM
Ichiro played 146 games last year and had 678PA. Every PA he had last season was in the leadoff slot.

Franklin Guiterrez played in 152 games last year and had 629PA. 341 of his PA came batting 5th thru 9th while the others came batting 1st or 2nd.

Both were every day starters for the same team, and even with the 6 extra full games Gutierrez played in he still trails Ichiro by 50PAs.

It's a decent metaphor for how many ABs over the course of a season go to the top hitters.

pedro
04-09-2010, 06:01 PM
That's fair RMR, I just think it's a factor that should be considered.

As with any workplace strategies should take the personalities of those involved into account.

westofyou
04-09-2010, 06:04 PM
My bet is "some' who get would comprise of about 8% - 15% - The game is an insular thing and no attempt from the outside is an open arms affair.

There are loads of players diaries and 1on1 interviews that paint the mindset of the MLB player as being anything but open to change.

TRF
04-09-2010, 06:13 PM
My bet is "some' who get would comprise of about 8% - 15% - The game is an insular thing and no attempt from the outside is an open arms affair.

There are loads of players diaries and 1on1 interviews that paint the mindset of the MLB player as being anything but open to change.

This reminds me of the scene in Bull Durham where Crash is explaining how to give an interview. "Ya gotta know your cliches..."

so much of this game is based on the teachings of guys in their 50's that learned from guys in their 50's that learned the game from guys in their 50's. Change in baseball is an oxymoron.

Orenda
04-09-2010, 06:21 PM
A possibility, I concede. And it's possible that the benefit would be offset by lessened performance due to a loss of confidence from the players or from discomfort from the approach.

Changing strategy for some players might be calling for them to break lifelong habits and instincts when they try to change. I think that probably would make some guys more reluctant to change than the strategy itself.

As far as confidence in the strategy goes, I would think it would be an easy thing to get players to buy into. All you need to do is tell them to go look at the best teams in baseball.

If they don't buy into that, you could explain to them that being able to change could be better for their bottom-line. With more teams GM's valuing guys with OBP ability that is going to equate to fatter contracts.

blumj
04-09-2010, 06:25 PM
My bet is "some' who get would comprise of about 8% - 15% - The game is an insular thing and no attempt from the outside is an open arms affair.

There are loads of players diaries and 1on1 interviews that paint the mindset of the MLB player as being anything but open to change.

You have to get to them when they're still young enough that they're happy just to be there.

nate
04-09-2010, 06:27 PM
I would think selling a "new" tactical lineup would be an area Dusty excels.

Now, getting him to implement it...

RedsManRick
04-09-2010, 06:27 PM
Here are the comparative plate appearance totals by batting order for both the Reds and the NL average. They are more or less the same and there's no reason to suspect they would be otherwise, but I figure somebody would ask. The quick takeaway for me is this:

It's not about the net amount of times on base. The difference between batting your .350 OBP #1 or #2 and your .320 OBP guy #7 or #8 and vice versa is only 3 or 4 times on base. No biggie, right? Wrong. What matters is the composition of those times on base. In flipping those two guys, you take 22 times on base that would have occurred in front of your pitcher and you get them in front of the heart of your lineup instead.

It's critical to remember that the biggest value a guy provides in most of his at bats is his ability to create a base-runner for the guy coming up behind him. Teams get so focused on RBI conversion that they almost completely ignore RBI opportunity creation.

The lineups such as those proposed by the sabermetricians are geared to create as many RBI opportunities for your best hitters as possible. Doing that is a combination of getting guys on base ahead of them while getting them as many plate appearances as possible. (a critical nuance of this is realizing that a runner on 1st base is in scoring position) This is the fundamental shift that has to occur in the minds of managers.



Reds
Order PA LessPrv %ofPrv Less#1 %of#1
1 757 na na na na
2 732 -25 96.7% -25 96.7%
3 716 -16 97.8% -41 94.6%
4 698 -18 97.5% -59 92.2%
5 690 -8 98.9% -67 91.1%
6 676 -14 98.0% -81 89.3%
7 663 -13 98.1% -94 87.6%
8 637 -26 96.1% -120 84.1%
9 618 -19 97.0% -139 81.6%
AVG -17 97.5%


NL AVG
Order PA LessPrv %ofPrv Less#1 %of#1
1 762 na na na na
2 743 -19.4 97.5% -19.4 97.5%
3 725 -17.5 97.6% -36.9 95.2%
4 709 -16.4 97.7% -53.3 93.0%
5 693 -16.1 97.7% -69.4 90.9%
6 675 -17.8 97.4% -87.1 88.6%
7 657 -17.7 97.4% -104.8 86.2%
8 638 -19.6 97.0% -124.4 83.7%
9 618 -19.3 97.0% -143.8 81.1%
AVG -18.0 97.4%

RedsManRick
04-09-2010, 06:29 PM
Changing strategy for some players might be calling for them to break lifelong habits and instincts when they try to change.

I think you are vastly overstating the case. Is it really that much differnt to bat 9th instead of 8th? Or 2nd instead of 3rd? What habits and/or instincts are you asking them to change?

I understand that people in the game are change averse. Baseball most certainly isn't the only industry like this; most of them are. Most people change out of reactive competitive necessity, not a inherent drive for self-improvement.

What I find funny is the idea that this is such a radical change. It really isn't. You still play the game the same way. You still have the same pieces on the board capable of doing the same things. You've just positioned them a little bit differently.

IslandRed
04-09-2010, 07:27 PM
That's fair RMR, I just think it's a factor that should be considered.

As with any workplace strategies should take the personalities of those involved into account.

Yep. It's not that it can't be done, it just has to be sold. I think everyone agrees that mental attitude affects performance and if the team doesn't buy into it, it's going to matter. And it has to work. Any time a manager goes strongly against conventional wisdom, the early returns need to prove he was right. Theory is a difficult thing to cling to when the losing streak nears double digits, most of the clubhouse believes the newfangled batting order is responsible for his slump, and the star hitter (who, in the grand scheme of things, is harder to replace than the manager) is wondering in print why people can't leave well enough alone.

pedro
04-09-2010, 07:33 PM
Yep. It's not that it can't be done, it just has to be sold. I think everyone agrees that mental attitude affects performance and if the team doesn't buy into it, it's going to matter. And it has to work. Any time a manager goes strongly against conventional wisdom, the early returns need to prove he was right. Theory is a difficult thing to cling to when the losing streak nears double digits, most of the clubhouse believes the newfangled batting order is responsible for his slump, and the star hitter (who, in the grand scheme of things, is harder to replace than the manager) is wondering in print why people can't leave well enough alone.

I'm reading Joe Posnanski's book on the 1975 Reds right now and he talks about how Sparky kept Griffey from stealing as much as he could have because it bothered Joe Morgan. Now, I'm not sure if that's because Morgan, a LHH who hit behind Griffey, liked to have the hole opened opened up by the firstbaseman holding the runner on first or for some other reason but I still found it interesting.

RedsManRick
04-09-2010, 09:34 PM
Yep. It's not that it can't be done, it just has to be sold. I think everyone agrees that mental attitude affects performance and if the team doesn't buy into it, it's going to matter. And it has to work. Any time a manager goes strongly against conventional wisdom, the early returns need to prove he was right.

I've heard this insistence many times, but I've never really heard the "so what". If it it doesn't work out right away, what's going to happen? Will players play worse? Will they just complain louder?

I wish I had that much sway over my boss/ employer.

westofyou
04-09-2010, 09:43 PM
I've heard this insistence many times, but I've never really heard the "so what". If it it doesn't work out right away, what's going to happen? Will players play worse? Will they just complain louder?

I wish I had that much sway over my boss/ employer.

One thing for sure, the detractors will crucify you in the press.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_of_Coaches




The College of Coaches was an unorthodox strategy employed by the Chicago Cubs in 1961 and 1962. After the Cubs finished 60-94 in 1960, their 14th straight second-division finish, Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley announced in December 1960 that the Cubs would use eight coaches as managers, rather than the traditional one-manager approach. Wrigley argued at the time, "Managers are expendable. I believe there should be relief managers just like relief pitchers." He also contended that the manager system led to constant turnover.

he Cubs front office argued that under this system, players would be exposed to the wisdom and experience of eight coaches instead of one field manager. Four would serve in the minors, while four would serve with the Cubs. Each member would serve as "head coach" before rotating back to the minors. The original "faculty" of the College of Coaches included El Tappe, Goldie Holt, Bobby Adams, Harry Craft, Verlon Walker, Ripper Collins, Vedie Himsl and Charlie Grimm.

The original idea was for the eight men to rotate through the entire organization from the low minors all the way to the Cubs, ensuring that players would learn a standard system of play. In practice, players were often confused by this system[citation needed]. There was no discernible pattern in the coaching rotation, and occasionally the various coaches were at odds with each other. Each coach brought a different playing style and a different lineup.

Without firm and consistent leadership, chaos reigned in the Cubs' dugout. The head coach position rotated among four different men in 1961 and three more in 1962 — two of whom were holdovers from 1961 — and all seven had losing records, despite managing teams with future Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, and Lou Brock.

RedsManRick
04-09-2010, 09:52 PM
One thing for sure, the detractors will crucify you in the press.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_of_Coaches

Absolutely. But the press is always looking for something to nitpick. Letting them have any influence on how you run your team sounds like a pretty poor way to do business. Of course, I don't think making out a lineup card that's not completely traditional would have quite the impact of a comprehensive management restructuring.

I'd say that the Pirates have come off pretty well in their press coverage so far.

IslandRed
04-09-2010, 11:21 PM
I've heard this insistence many times, but I've never really heard the "so what". If it it doesn't work out right away, what's going to happen? Will players play worse? Will they just complain louder?

I wish I had that much sway over my boss/ employer.

Pretty much the entire recorded history of team sports suggests that when the team tunes out the coach/manager or doesn't believe in what they're doing, it stands a pretty good chance of affecting the team's performance. File it under "self-fulfilling prophecy" if nothing else.

Yeah, I wish I had that much clout too. If I was harder to replace and made a lot more money than my boss, and our customers liked me a lot more than him, then maybe I would.

I will agree that the Pirates are exactly the type of team that can give this sort of thing an extended trial, no one expects them to win either way. You're not going to see the Yankees on the cutting edge of these things.

Orenda
04-10-2010, 05:13 AM
I think you are vastly overstating the case. Is it really that much differnt to bat 9th instead of 8th? Or 2nd instead of 3rd? What habits and/or instincts are you asking them to change?

I understand that people in the game are change averse. Baseball most certainly isn't the only industry like this; most of them are. Most people change out of reactive competitive necessity, not a inherent drive for self-improvement.

What I find funny is the idea that this is such a radical change. It really isn't. You still play the game the same way. You still have the same pieces on the board capable of doing the same things. You've just positioned them a little bit differently.

I wasn't talking about position in the batting order. I was referring to hitting approaches. For example I think players who have been so good that they have been able to justify their free swinging or lack of plate discipline are going to struggle when all of a sudden they are told to be more selective especially if it doesn't yield success right away.

I think we were talking about different things. And you VASTLY overstated your post.

RedsManRick
04-10-2010, 10:45 AM
I wasn't talking about position in the batting order. I was referring to hitting approaches. For example I think players who have been so good that they have been able to justify their free swinging or lack of plate discipline are going to struggle when all of a sudden they are told to be more selective especially if it doesn't yield success right away.

I think we were talking about different things. And you VASTLY overstated your post.

What does changing the lineup order have to do with changing hitting approaches? Apparently we were talking about different things...

Roy Tucker
04-10-2010, 11:11 AM
A question in my mind is do hitters have a different approach at the plate depending on where in the batting order they hit?

For instance, if Scott Rolen batted leadoff, would he be more prone to taking pitches and just make contact as opposed to batting cleanup where he'd be more prone to swinging and look for balls to drive more.

Or does a guy just go up to the plate and look for pitches he can handle and get a good swing on no matter where in the order he is?

nate
04-10-2010, 03:07 PM
A question in my mind is do hitters have a different approach at the plate depending on where in the batting order they hit?

They probably do with varied degrees of success. I think Barry Larkin was a good example of a guy who could change his approach based on where he hit.

Redsfan320
04-10-2010, 03:22 PM
Something else slightly off-topic is that I tried a very interesting lineup in 2K10 today, as I wanted to rest a lot of my starters. I believe it was:

1. Rolen 3B
2. Gomes RF
3. Nix CF
4. Phillips 2B
5. Francisco 1B
6. Hernandez C
7. Janish LF
8. Cabrera SS
9. Harang P

It actually worked out very well, as I scored 9 runs, when I usually score 3-6 using basically what the real Reds use, except with Cabrera hitting eighth, Gomes or Dickerson hitting 2nd, and Francisco hitting 7th as my starting catcher.

320

westofyou
04-10-2010, 03:24 PM
They probably do with varied degrees of success. I think Barry Larkin was a good example of a guy who could change his approach based on where he hit.

He hated to lead off too, hated it.

RedsManRick
04-10-2010, 04:12 PM
He hated to lead off too, hated it.

He slugged about 50 points lower when leading off too. Though there's a bit of chicken and the egg going on there. Was he hitting leadoff because he wasn't slugging or was he not slugging because he was hitting leadoff? I'm guessing it was a combination of the two.

mth123
04-10-2010, 07:38 PM
He slugged about 50 points lower when leading off too. Though there's a bit of chicken and the egg going on there. Was he hitting leadoff because he wasn't slugging or was he not slugging because he was hitting leadoff? I'm guessing it was a combination of the two.

I think its because he hated it. He said many times he'd hit anywhere in the line-up except after the pitcher.