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Thread: Sabermetrics and the Batting Lineup

  1. #1
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    Sabermetrics and the Batting Lineup

    Hey guys, I was wondering if there was good study on the proper way a lineup should be constructed based on numbers...that is, to optimize run scoring opportunities? Such as having the highest to lowest OBP in terms of 1-9 etc etc


    Thanks

  2. #2
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    I read a study a few years ago that suggested that placing your guys in OB% order from best to worst was the most effective lineup. I can't quite remember the study, and a lot has changed in sabermetrics the past three years, so I don't know if that lineup idea would still hold up. Albert as leadoff hitter just seems so counterintuitive.
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  3. #3
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    Sounds simple enough...using the Yankees, against righties it would be:

    1. Matsui
    2. Damon
    3. Arod
    4. Giambi
    5. Posada
    6. Abreu
    7. Jeter
    8. Melky
    9. Cano

    and Lefties:

    1. Sexson
    2. A-Rod
    3. Matsui
    4. Giambi
    5. Jeter
    6. Damon
    7. Posada
    8. Cano
    9. Abreu

    looks very different than the norm lol

  4. #4
    Tango's book has a chapter dedicated to this. There is a way to optimize your lineup taking into consideration such things as high OBP guy, high SLG guy, speed guy, ground in to double play guy etc... We are talking a small fraction of runs per game and a few runs per season over what most current managers use. Lineup construction doesn't make a whole lot of difference as long as you aren't doing dumb things like batting the pitcher first and your best hitter 9th. The more important thing, is for the manager to play the best players (see Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre).
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  5. #5
    I would encourage that those interested read the Batting Order chapter in The Book (I wrote that chapter). It lays it all out for you.

    As for the overall effect, I show that if you slide in the pitcher between the traditional 3rd and 4th hitters, or if you put him in the cleanup slot surrounded by 8 exactly league average hitters, the overall effect is a loss of 0.10 runs per game.

    No manager does anything remotely egregious as this. A manager's decision on lineups (given that he's selected the 9 guys he wants) is .02 runs here, .02 runs there, per game. Consequently, a manager can improve say .02 to .10 runs per game, depending how bad he made the lineup.

    As noted above, more important than the order is the identities. And, since we are talking about apparently guys with enormous egos and an intelligence hard to administer that ego, how a player "feels" about batting 2nd rather than 3rd is important. This last sentence is dripping with sarcasm directed to people who think that a 30-yr old grown man acts like a baby.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tango Tiger View Post
    I would encourage that those interested read the Batting Order chapter in The Book (I wrote that chapter). It lays it all out for you.

    As for the overall effect, I show that if you slide in the pitcher between the traditional 3rd and 4th hitters, or if you put him in the cleanup slot surrounded by 8 exactly league average hitters, the overall effect is a loss of 0.10 runs per game.

    No manager does anything remotely egregious as this. A manager's decision on lineups (given that he's selected the 9 guys he wants) is .02 runs here, .02 runs there, per game. Consequently, a manager can improve say .02 to .10 runs per game, depending how bad he made the lineup.

    As noted above, more important than the order is the identities. And, since we are talking about apparently guys with enormous egos and an intelligence hard to administer that ego, how a player "feels" about batting 2nd rather than 3rd is important. This last sentence is dripping with sarcasm directed to people who think that a 30-yr old grown man acts like a baby.

    How many wins can ".02 runs here and .02 runs there" cost a manager for an entire seasons? Certainly enough to make sure you don't lose those ".02 here and there", right? Even if lineup consideration only costs 5-6 runs per seasons, that could be one or two losses that could potentialy propel the team into the playoffs. I see that it has little impact, but it still seems it is better to consider than not.
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  7. #7
    5 runs is 0.5 wins.

  8. #8
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    The folks at retrosheet ran some numbers, and it looks like it really doesn't matter a whole lot:

    http://www.pankin.com/markov/btn1191.htm

    http://www.retrosheet.org/Research/R...lineup_art.htm
    Last edited by Second Base Coach; 07-21-2008 at 07:49 PM.

  9. #9
    This website can give you the best lineup based on OBP and SLG.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thrower25usr View Post
    This website can give you the best lineup based on OBP and SLG.
    Nothing about SB, GIDP, strikeout rates, lefty/righty
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by RuthMayBond View Post
    Nothing about SB, GIDP, strikeout rates, lefty/righty
    GIDP would probably have to do with how many runner you have on when you come up. Speed plays a role too but I think its more about the situation. I suppose GB percentages could be weighed but I think a higher OBP or SLG would out weigh any effect of that. I don't think SBs make a big enough impact to make up for a few OBP points, especially if you only look at SB and not CS. Strikeout rates also play a small role than OBP and SLG. If you want you can use split stats but I don't think mixing up lefties and righties makes that big a difference.

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    Actually, I find theories on lineup making interesting.


    ANyhow as far as speed. I have always felt it would be more beneficial at the bottom of the lineup (6th spot down). My reasons for this is that generally you dont want to run into an out with your typical 3 and 4 hitters. And a leadoff man is just 2 spots away from that. So, OBP would be more important. Course, if you got some OBP/SB combo freak like Rickey Henderson of course lead him off. But, the reason I would rather have speed in my 6-9 spots (assuming DH) is that you generally have less down there and you need a spark every now and then.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Death to Crawling Things View Post
    Actually, I find theories on lineup making interesting.


    ANyhow as far as speed. I have always felt it would be more beneficial at the bottom of the lineup (6th spot down). My reasons for this is that generally you dont want to run into an out with your typical 3 and 4 hitters. And a leadoff man is just 2 spots away from that. So, OBP would be more important. Course, if you got some OBP/SB combo freak like Rickey Henderson of course lead him off. But, the reason I would rather have speed in my 6-9 spots (assuming DH) is that you generally have less down there and you need a spark every now and then.
    I basically agree with this. Back in '05, when it looked like Reyes was going to be a perennial sub 40 walk, .320-ish OBP guy, I was thinking the Mets should hit him 6th. It's not just about running into outs, it's about unnecessary risks. The likelihood of your middle of the order guys getting XBHs is greater than that of those at the bottom. So, there are many instances of "wasted" steals at the top. Hitters at the bottom of the line-up have a greater proportion of their hits as singles, meaning moving into scoring position carries more weight. Also, as you say, they are more likely to make an out as well, and therefore probably lessen the detriment of a CS. Of course in the NL, one deterrent to running down there is that you always want to make sure you turn over the pitcher's spot - and the sacrifice is often used instead of the steal.
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