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Monday, July 10, 2006

Ideal Lineups [Courtesy of Baseball Musings]

The brilliant minds behind Baseball Musings have developed a Lineup Analysis tool that SABR-geeks can use to try and maximize offensive output in a starting lineup. Using the basic arrangement that Scrap Iron's been running out most days lately, here's what the Lineup Analyzer spits out as the most productive batting order (based on OBP and SLG numbers thus far in 2006):

Ensberg - 3B
Berkman - RF
Biggio - 2B
Lamb - 1B
Burke - CF
Pitcher - P
Everett - SS
Wilson - LF
Ausmus - C

The Analyzer estimates that this lineup would average 5.263 runs per game based on their numbers thus far this season.

It would be rather LaRussian of Scrap to move the Pitcher up to the #6 hole in the batting order, eh? Obviously, speed is considered irrelevant in this highly SABR-influenced approach, but when your speed guys (Everett, Taveras) get on-base at a 25-30% clip, their speed is pretty much nullified anyways, a notion that is lost on the majority of major-league managers. From running a few samples through the Analyzer, it appears that in general, the ideal lineup has two to three OBP-savvy hitters stacked at the top, followed by the two best sluggers on the team (RBI potential). Then the sixth slot is almost an offensive vacuum, followed by the seven (OBP) and eight (SLG) positions. Having a slappy hitter in the #8 spot is considered a waste in the NL because the odds of a pitcher driving in a runner from 1st base are quite slim, so it makes more sense, according to this system, to have a slappy guy hit seventh and a guy hitting eighth who could potentially bring him home with one swing (hence Wilson in the #8 hole).

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the worst possible lineup (averaging 4.774 runs per game) would be:


Interesting that Biggio's in the #3 hole in both of these lineups.


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