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Thread: Set line up vs ever changing ?

  1. #1
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Set line up vs ever changing ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  4. #3
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Set line up vs ever changing ?

    I prefer a set lineup, change players in and out of course, but I don't like the every day a guy moves from 3rd to 8th
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  5. #4
    Member CTA513's Avatar
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    Re: Set line up vs ever changing ?

    Quote Originally Posted by KronoRed
    I prefer a set lineup, change players in and out of course, but I don't like the every day a guy moves from 3rd to 8th
    I would have to think that the players dont like lineups that change almost daily. It seems like anytime someone starts hitting they get bumped to another spot, I know I would hate that.

  6. #5
    Haunted by walks
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    Re: Set line up vs ever changing ?

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou

    Even the great 8 only played together for 78 times or so over the 75-76 season.
    And yet we know them as the great 8 and the Big Red Machine, and people can still recite the batting order, because they were able to establish such a strong identity. Then they didn't have to play together in every single game. Of course, the BRM was unusual, and we're spoiled.

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

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

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

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

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

  7. #6
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    Re: Set line up vs ever changing ?

    Any lineup that doesn't "execute" (whatever your definition is) doesn't look like a good lineup.
    When all is said and done more is said than done.

  8. #7
    Raaaaaaaandy guttle11's Avatar
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    Re: Set line up vs ever changing ?

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

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

    A lineup of...

    LaRue
    Hatteberg
    Kearns
    Pitcher
    Griffey
    Phillips
    Dunn
    Lopez
    Encarnacion

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

    If Kearns bats fourth one day, leadoff the next, and 9 the next, his role doesn't change.
    Last edited by guttle11; 05-30-2006 at 03:19 PM.
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  9. #8
    Member VR's Avatar
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    Re: Set line up vs ever changing ?

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

    Several elements are key;

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

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

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


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

  10. #9
    Making sense of it all Matt700wlw's Avatar
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    Re: Set line up vs ever changing ?

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

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

  11. #10
    Please come again pedro's Avatar
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    Re: Set line up vs ever changing ?

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

    I just don't think it's helpful for guys to be jumping slots in the order from night to night.
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  12. #11
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Set line up vs ever changing ?

    No problem with platoons, but it seems like Narron is randomly selecting the order.

    EdE - 8th...EdE - 8th


  13. #12
    Miami Redhawks Redhook's Avatar
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    Re: Set line up vs ever changing ?

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

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

    A lineup of...

    LaRue
    Hatteberg
    Kearns
    Pitcher
    Griffey
    Phillips
    Dunn
    Lopez
    Encarnacion

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

    If Kearns bats fourth one day, leadoff the next, and 9 the next, his role doesn't change.
    I agree that in general it is your job to not make outs. That's obvious.

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

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

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

    If Freel plays, he leads off and the lineup adjusts from there. But Lopez-Eddy should stay the same pretty much every day.
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  14. #13
    Kmac5 KoryMac5's Avatar
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    Re: Set line up vs ever changing ?

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

  15. #14
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    Re: Set line up vs ever changing ?

    Tonites lineup...

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

    Narron like tinkering with the number 2 slot.
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  16. #15
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Set line up vs ever changing ?

    Wasn't Narron all about splitting up the lefties earlier in the season? Seems like that plan went out the window.


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