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Thread: Lineup construction

  1. #1
    Making sense of it all Matt700wlw's Avatar
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    Lineup construction

    Where should your best hitters bat?
    November 22, 2006


    Where should your best hitters bat?

    John Dewan's Stat of the Week™
    November 22, 2006

    Lineup construction is one of the most scrutinized areas in baseball. Who should bat leadoff? Who's in the cleanup spot? However, when it comes down to it, several people (including me) have done studies that have shown that lineup construction is, for the most part, immaterial. As long as you generally have your best hitters near the top of the order, the order doesn't matter.


    Nevertheless, it's fun to look at and, despite these studies, one can't help but feel it makes a difference. Here's some fuel for the fire on the side of the notion that the lineup matters.

    Where should your best hitters bat? One school of thought is to put your best hitter at the top of the order because he'll get more at-bats that way over the course of the season. Your second best hitter bats second. And so on down the order. Here are the average plate appearances per lineup position based on the 2006 MLB season:

    Lineup Position Plate Appearances
    1 767
    2 749
    3 732
    4 714
    5 697
    6 680
    7 661
    8 643
    9 625

    As you can see, each higher spot in the order means 15 to 20 or more plate appearances over the course of the season.

    But let's look at another element. How often does each lineup position come up with men on base?

    Lineup Position Number of Times With Men on Base
    1 259
    2 323
    3 351
    4 363
    5 333
    6 314
    7 304
    8 293
    9 288

    The number four position has the most over the course of a season. In fact, it's 104 times more than the leadoff position, quite a significant difference. The third spot in the order is not far behind.

    What does this tell me? Your best hitters should bat in the number three and number four spots in the order. Put the speedier (and/or higher on-base) of the two in the number three slot. Follow that up with your next best on-base guys in the number one and two spots. Five through eight (or nine)? Go with the best to worst with the remaining players.

    It's the formula I've used playing Strat-O-Matic baseball for the last 25 years. The studies say it doesn't matter that much and maybe it doesn't. But it matters to me, and to about 98% of all baseball fans.

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  3. #2
    Member Ron Madden's Avatar
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    Re: Lineup construction

    Always put the best hitters or on base guys at the top of the order.

  4. #3
    Member NJReds's Avatar
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    Re: Lineup construction

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Madden View Post
    Always put the best hitters or on base guys at the top of the order.
    ...unless you have a guy with the nickname "scrappy" "speedy" or "dusty." That guy bats second no matter what.

  5. #4
    Member Ron Madden's Avatar
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    Re: Lineup construction

    Quote Originally Posted by NJReds View Post
    ...unless you have a guy with the nickname "scrappy" "speedy" or "dusty." That guy bats second no matter what.

    Sad.. but true.

  6. #5
    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: Lineup construction

    Which would mean based on our current personnel....

    Denorfia/Freel
    Hatteberg
    Dunn
    EE
    Griffey
    Phillips
    Ross
    Gonzalez

    One word immediately comes to mind.... HELP!

    We desperately need another big bat in this lineup, even moreso IMO than a #3 starter. I never thought I'd say that.

  7. #6
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    Re: Lineup construction

    Looks like Dunn should bat 2nd, 50 more plate apperances and only 10 less men on base than batting 5th.

  8. #7
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    Re: Lineup construction

    I would go with

    Freel
    Dunn
    Griffey
    EE
    Hat
    Phillips
    Ross
    Gonzalez

  9. #8
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Lineup construction

    I'd do:

    Deno/Freel
    Dunn
    EE
    Junior
    Hatteberg (Wilson vL)
    Phillips
    Ross
    AGon

    Sure, Hatty could hit #2, but when the lineup is turning over and outs are at a premium at the end of the game, I don't want Hatteberg getting a 4th or 5th at bat instead of Dunn or EE.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  10. #9
    Member Ron Madden's Avatar
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    Re: Lineup construction

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I'd do:

    Deno/Freel
    Dunn
    EE
    Junior
    Hatteberg (Wilson vL)
    Phillips
    Ross
    AGon

    Sure, Hatty could hit #2, but when the lineup is turning over and outs are at a premium at the end of the game, I don't want Hatteberg getting a 4th or 5th at bat instead of Dunn or EE.
    I wish Narron would see it this way.

  11. #10
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    Re: Lineup construction

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I'd do:

    Deno/Freel
    Dunn
    EE
    Junior
    Hatteberg (Wilson vL)
    Phillips
    Ross
    AGon

    Sure, Hatty could hit #2, but when the lineup is turning over and outs are at a premium at the end of the game, I don't want Hatteberg getting a 4th or 5th at bat instead of Dunn or EE.
    Seems pretty good to me. I take it, Wilson is Craig Wilson. I'd love to see that lineup, but it is too obvious for JN.

    Here's an updated note on Craig Wilson from mlb4u.com
    Teams are beginning to show interest in him. Reds, Red Sox and Cardinals could be the favorites to land him, though the Blue Jays, Brewers, Orioles, Rangers, Astros and Mariners could all also have interest.
    Last Updated: 12:12 PM - Nov 22, 06 Source: Jerry Crasnick

  12. #11
    post hype sleeper cincinnati chili's Avatar
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    Re: Lineup construction

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt700wlw View Post
    But let's look at another element. How often does each lineup position come up with men on base?

    Lineup Position Number of Times With Men on Base
    1 259
    2 323
    3 351
    4 363
    5 333
    6 314
    7 304
    8 293
    9 288
    Good stuff. I would strongly suspect that the leadoff position has more than 259 in the American League (with the DH) and less in the NL.

    There was a sophisticated study about 5 years ago about this.

    While I don't think it makes a BIG difference, I generally believe that "the book" is wrong on this stuff. In the NL, the primo hitters should bat 2nd. In the AL, they should leadoff. By primo, I mean the Barry Bondses of 2003, Albert Pujols of the first half of this year, etc.

    Those of you who have Diamond Mind, Strat, etc. can simulate this and see what happens. The team scores more runs, all things being equal.

    The problem is the "human" element. Try telling Barry Bonds in 2003 that he should bat 2nd. It might get into his head and affect performance.
    How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids

  13. #12
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Lineup construction

    Quote Originally Posted by cincinnati chili View Post
    Good stuff. I would strongly suspect that the leadoff position has more than 259 in the American League (with the DH) and less in the NL.

    There was a sophisticated study about 5 years ago about this.

    While I don't think it makes a BIG difference, I generally believe that "the book" is wrong on this stuff. In the NL, the primo hitters should bat 2nd. In the AL, they should leadoff. By primo, I mean the Barry Bondses of 2003, Albert Pujols of the first half of this year, etc.

    Those of you who have Diamond Mind, Strat, etc. can simulate this and see what happens. The team scores more runs, all things being equal.

    The problem is the "human" element. Try telling Barry Bonds in 2003 that he should bat 2nd. It might get into his head and affect performance.

    Speaking of strat

    BTW Here's Doms teams line by order and then mine. he scored 99 more runs then my team, .61 more runs a game.

    Code:
    Batting 1   .247  .350  .477  .827
    Batting 2   .279  .349  .502  .851
    Batting 3   .275  .369  .567  .936
    Batting 4   .273  .347  .482  .829
    Batting 5   .260  .337  .556  .893
    Batting 6   .281  .356  .481  .837
    Batting 7   .231  .296  .445  .741
    Batting 8   .248  .318  .424  .742
    Batting 9   .161  .227  .227  .454
    
    
    
    Batting 1   .258  .330  .431  .761
    Batting 2   .230  .330  .405  .735
    Batting 3   .253  .338  .498  .836
    Batting 4   .262  .361  .548  .909
    Batting 5   .253  .326  .426  .752
    Batting 6   .263  .318  .396  .714
    Batting 7   .235  .290  .337  .627
    Batting 8   .243  .299  .331  .630
    Batting 9   .172  .226  .223  .449

  14. #13
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    Re: Lineup construction

    Unfortunately, Narron's lineup will probably look like this a lot...

    Deno/Freel
    Gonzalez (I'm not kidding...remember Royce Clayton?)
    Junior ("because he's earned it" will be heard a lot)
    EE
    Dunn
    Phillips
    Hatteberg (Wilson vL)
    Ross

    Even though Dunn produced well batting 2nd last year until Narron just decided to change things. And he's enamored with flip-flopping lefties and righties. Once EE has one 0-4 and error, he will change places with Hatte and become our everyday catcher. Nick Esasky will come off the bench and the closer will be Ted Power.

  15. #14
    Something clever pahster's Avatar
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    Re: Lineup construction

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Speaking of strat

    BTW Here's Doms teams line by order and then mine. he scored 99 more runs then my team, .61 more runs a game.

    Code:
    Batting 1   .247  .350  .477  .827
    Batting 2   .279  .349  .502  .851
    Batting 3   .275  .369  .567  .936
    Batting 4   .273  .347  .482  .829
    Batting 5   .260  .337  .556  .893
    Batting 6   .281  .356  .481  .837
    Batting 7   .231  .296  .445  .741
    Batting 8   .248  .318  .424  .742
    Batting 9   .161  .227  .227  .454
    
    
    
    Batting 1   .258  .330  .431  .761
    Batting 2   .230  .330  .405  .735
    Batting 3   .253  .338  .498  .836
    Batting 4   .262  .361  .548  .909
    Batting 5   .253  .326  .426  .752
    Batting 6   .263  .318  .396  .714
    Batting 7   .235  .290  .337  .627
    Batting 8   .243  .299  .331  .630
    Batting 9   .172  .226  .223  .449
    Ouch. Your lineup blows, WOY. :

  16. #15
    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Re: Lineup construction

    I think these make the most sense too me, at least the way the roster is set-up at the moment.

    Vs. RHP
    Freel CF
    Hatteberg 1B
    EE 3B
    Dunn LF
    Griffey RF
    Phillips 2B
    Ross/Valentin C
    Gonzales SS


    Vs. LHP
    Freel CF
    Phillips 2B
    Dunn LF
    EE 3B
    Griffey RF
    Wilson/Perez/Whoever 1B
    Ross/Valentin C
    Gonzales SS
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

    --Woody Hayes


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