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Had a thought regarding real-life batting orders...

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Had a thought regarding real-life batting orders...

Postby tinfoilxtouch » Fri Aug 10, 2007 7:37 am

So I was just thinking about the concept of batting orders, and the concept of having your best batters hitting with men on base as opposed to just having them bat as many times as possible...

If you really wanted to give your best hitters a chance to get up with men on base, wouldn't it make sense to group your lousy hitters in the middle (6-8) of the order, so your VERY best (1-4) hitters will all have a good chance to drive men in? The majority of runs are driven in by singles or doubles, not dingers... so even if your leadoff is a guy like Ichiro with no pop, he could drive tons of guys in... except he's hitting after the 7-8-9 automatic outs.

I guess my point is that guys who get 200+ hits a season should be used to do more than get on for the people after them. If your #4 hitter has 40 dingers with a .310 OBP, why bother having stacking good hitters after him instead of before your .330 leadoff guy?

On the surface this might seem like the P in the 8th vs 9th hole, but I'm actually saying this might even be true in the AL and for the 7-8 spots.

Of course, there might be a study proving this to be wrong floating around. Or maybe I'm just tired and shouldn't be questioning 100 years of accepted theory. Just seems wrong guys who put the ball in play 90% of the time should bat after the freaking 9th best hitter.
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Re: Had a thought regarding real-life batting orders...

Postby Bloody Sox » Fri Aug 10, 2007 8:05 am

I can kind of see where you are going... three problems:

1. As you pointed out, if you bat a good hitter at the bottom of the order, you are taking away at bats for him, which you don't want to do. 90-100 fewer at bats for a "good" hitter would more than outweigh the benefits you might gain by batting him 9th.

2. The bigger problem is: Who do you bat 9th, and why wouldn't the same thing apply to him? You'd want to put someone "good" in the 9-hole who can get on base for Ichiro, using your example. That would likely mean your second hitter. But then you'd just be robbing that guy from the opportunity to drive in Ichiro.

3. Doubles and HRs result in more runs driven in than singles. A 3-4 hitter might not get Ichiro's 200+ hits, but he'll likely get 175. Of those 175, his number of XBH is going to be a lot higher than a leadoff guy and thusly, more RBIs. Also, if you move a slow 2-hitter to the 9-hole, he'll likely be on first (or not at all) when the leadoff guy gets up and a leadoff guy is not going to drive in a guy from first with a single.

Also, keep in mind that a lot of teams actually do bat their #2 type hitters in the 9-hole for this reason: see Pedroia, Lugo, Crisp for the Sox this year. Lugo and Crisp also give the extra SB advantage that lets the leadoff guy get those RBI opportunities. This is why teams often bat speedy guys 9th.
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Re: Had a thought regarding real-life batting orders...

Postby RynMan » Fri Aug 10, 2007 8:48 am

There's been a ton of research done on this topic. The conclusion is that it's basically irrelevant how you setup the order. Over the course of a season, it probably equates to a few runs difference between the most efficient, and inefficient batting orders. Theoretically, you would score more runs if you ordered the hitters in descending order of on-base ability, as it stretches out rallies. But the research has shown that in general, the standard lineup (1 & 2 leadoff type hitters that get on base, 3/4/5 mashers) produces close to the highest number of runs.

So basically, you can draw the order out of a hat, and it doesn't really make a difference.
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Re: Had a thought regarding real-life batting orders...

Postby tinfoilxtouch » Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:23 am

RynMan wrote:There's been a ton of research done on this topic. The conclusion is that it's basically irrelevant how you setup the order. Over the course of a season, it probably equates to a few runs difference between the most efficient, and inefficient batting orders. Theoretically, you would score more runs if you ordered the hitters in descending order of on-base ability, as it stretches out rallies. But the research has shown that in general, the standard lineup (1 & 2 leadoff type hitters that get on base, 3/4/5 mashers) produces close to the highest number of runs.

So basically, you can draw the order out of a hat, and it doesn't really make a difference.


Interesting. It really suggests Eckstein 4th and Pujols 1st would be the same as the flip? I would think you need at least SOME grouping of your best hitters.
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Re: Had a thought regarding real-life batting orders...

Postby hot4tx » Fri Aug 10, 2007 5:02 pm

Also if you loaded up your poop after your .310-40HR hitter so you could have the 8-9-1-2-3-4 string going, your cleanup hitter would get Bonds treatment and be walked every time he came up.

Ichiro is kind of a 3/1 hitter, not a prototypical leadoff hitter. You are right in wanting to have guys on when your 200+ hits guy comes up, regardless of if he has power or not. That's why typically they say the #3 hitter is the best "pure" hitter. An Ichiro, M Young type who gets tons of hits per year. Ideally you want a hitter that uses walks alot to keep his OBP high, while maybe not the best hitter leading off. But he also has to be fast. Problem is Seattle doesn't have a better leadoff option than Ichiro... he's cross between a leadoff and 3rd hitter.

The second hitter also just needs to be an "ok" hitter, but one that has a high enough OBP. Again, that's increasingly harder to find.

The clean up hitter obviously is the HR-threat that hits for average (usually your superstar).

The 5th hitter has to be a good enough hitter and have enough power to make opponents pay if they try to pitch around Mr Clean-up.

Then teams try to get their next-best hitter left to hit 6th for more protection both for the 5th hitter and cleanup.

So I guess if they swapped the pitcher to bat 7th and then had better 8th and 9th hitters in the NL that would follow your argument and make sense, accept that would give the pitcher more AB to hurt your offense or to hurt himself.

In the AL you see fast guys hitting 9th that would be great leadoff guys but their OBP is too low - like C Patterson.
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