Originally Posted by scott91575
I will just do a quick case study with lifetime stats of Votto vs. Ludwick, and doubles/triples/home runs for Votto with man on 1st vs. singles, doubles, triples, and home runs for Luwick and 2 men on.
Man on first and Votto up
Votto has a double or triple 7.8% of the time (so 1 run assuming Hamilton scores every time).
Votto hits a HR 3.6% of the time (so 2 runs).
Man on first and second with Ludwick up
Ludwick hits a single 15.7% of the time (Hamilton scores)
Ludwick hits a double or triple 6.6% of the time (so Hamilton scores and say Votto scores half the time, or 1.5 runs)
Ludwick hits a HR 4.9% of the time (3 runs)
It's not even close. Just the simple fact Ludwick's chance of hitting a single doubles the runs vs. Votto's double says enough. Yet add in the fact Luwdick only hits a double or triple 1.2% less and actually has a higher chance of a home run, there is no doubt first and second with Ludwick up is way superior than 1st with Votto up. It's so massive a difference no one in their right mind would walk Votto unless the man on second is the tying or winning run late in the game.
Yes, there are the times Votto hits a single or walks, and then Ludwick gets a hit. Yet is a percentage of a percentage and doesn't make up for the difference.
Votto is not superman. He makes outs more than 50% of the time there is a man on first. I would take a Hamilton steal, a Votto walk, and Ludwick up any day of the week vs. Hamilton sitting on first with Votto up. If Hamilton can steal bases 75% of the time, the Reds run chances go up.
A couple of points
Your 75% success rate is pretty high. Higher than I've seen quoted a lot of the time. Its a lot more realistic (but still a little low when Votto and Ludwick are coming up IMO). One thing these equations omit is the times picked-off. When a runner is picked-off going back to the base he occupies, it's not counted as an SB attempt or as a CS. Those outs are just as much a lost opportunity and are directly a result of the running game. You add those outs to the mix and the success rate over 75% is pretty difficult to maintain. Lower in the order, those steals help get the runner around the bases, where he otherwise wouldn't have, much more often than in front of the better hitters (because they will get him around without the steal a lot more often than weaker hitters would). From that perspective, the steal has more value and the out doesn't represent as big a lost opportunity lower in the order. The break-even rate would be lower and more doable. I get the percentages you are throwing out there, but if you do the math (all the math, including runs lost when Hamilton is out), the success rate (pick-offs included) in front of Votto and Ludwick needs to be about 80% to result in extra runs. I haven't done the same analysis in front of Cozart and Hanigan, but I'm guessing the success rate needed to result in extra runs would drop into the 60s. If I have time, I'll give it a try.
All that said, if Hamilton has the same OBPs as a big leaguer as he's shown in the minors, he should lead-off and not hit lower in the order. For me the OBP and not the steals are the reason to hit him in front of Votto and Ludwick.