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MJH on accountability
I was thinking about the lineup in a different way last night and I posed myself this question.
How do you arrange the lineup in such a way as to use your strong hitters to protect your weaker hitters as a general rule for seeking more run production, and this is what I came up with.
KinslerAndrus (protected by Kinsler and Hamilton)HamiltonBeltre (protected by Hamilton and Cruz)CruzYoung (I think hitting after Cruz is all the protection MY would need to be more productive)Torrealba (Protected to some extent by Young but mostly by Napoli/Moreland behind him)Napoli/MorelandBorbon (protected by Moreland/Napoli and Kinsler)
What do you think? Would you put Young in the 8 hole and 1st base platoon in the 6 hole. I like 1st base in the 8 hole because I think they would protect Borbon in the 9 hole better than Young.
Another good thing about this lineup is you get Borbon, Kinsler and Andrus back to back to back for speed with Andrus your good hitter with guys in scoring position right after them, and with Hamilton to protect Elvis. The more I think the more I like something like this because it spreads the talent evenly and protects all of the weaker hitters so that they will be more likely to succeed. The more I think about it the more I think it doesn't make too much sense to pack your weak hitters at the bottom of the lineup with your strong hitters at the top. It seems far better, if you have as many strong hitters as we do, to spread your offense evenly around the lineup protecting your weaker hitters with guys like Kinsler, Hamilton, Cruz, and Napoli/Moreland. I think an offense that depends on creating runs by stacking the top half doesn't have sufficient strength to protect its weaker hitters throughout the lineup. We do have that strength and we should use it so that our weaker hitters, who are not weak but weaker than our stronger hitters, can flourish.
Or this with Murphy in Borbon's place?
Kinsler Andrus (protected by Kinsler and Hamilton)HamiltonBeltre (protected by Hamilton and Cruz)CruzMurphy (.850 OPS against RHP last year, protected by Cruz and to some extent by Young)Young (protected by Murphy and 1st base)Napoli/MorelandTorrealba (protected by 1st base and Kinsler
This one's a bit harder because Murphy is such a better hitter than Borbon. Stronger lineup in general.
What sayest thou?
Assuming Young DHs full time, which I wouldn't do, but whatever, here is how I wouls stack them:
I think you might win a couple of games against lefties just by scaring the bejesus out of the opposing pitcher, possibly causing a mild heart attack. 1-7 that would be the most terrifying vsL lineup in recent MLB history.
I like that idea of stacking the lineup against LHP. I like our chances of scoring lots of runs. Maybe against LHP its better to just put Torrealba and Borbon at the bottom of the order to get that 1-7 punch, I mean, freight train.
Wash has said Andrus will drop to 2nd, Kinsler will lead off, and Young will drop to 6th.
So the lineup that protects weaker hitters is almost complete. All he has to do is put Torrealba in the 7 hole and Moreland/Napoli in the 8 hole, which is a somewhat unconventional move, but if they are going to be 8 anyways we might as well protect the 7 hole with them and bat Torrealba/Treanor 7th. Further, putting the 1st base platoon in the 8 hole also protects Borbon with Kinsler hitting behind him. All weaker hitters would be protected in that lineup. I think that would be a cool experiment.
Maybe switch Murphy and 1st base, but if 1st base is already 7th you might as well put them at 8th and have them and Kinsler protect your catchers in the 9 hole. I think they can do a better job of that than Murphy especially Napoli against LHP.
You can't "protect" weaker hitters...they go at the bottom. Period.
In the heart of your lineup, opposing managers might get limited on moves if you right-left-right them or studs might get pitched to or pitched around. But, no one is gonna pitch different to Traenor in the 9 hole because he's "protected" LOL
No offense but this is your typical over-reach in trying to re invent baseball as if people never thought of outlandish shit like "just let your pitcher hit...who cares if you lose your DH"....
You put your better hitters up top, weaker ones in the bottom, switch sides through the heart when you can and go from there...you don't stack your lineup based off how best to "protect" your 8 hole hitter.
Dave H posted this a few weeks ago. You should take a peek Joe.
I've been thinking about the lineup as it is currently constructed and I really like it from the standpoint of protecting weaker hitters.
Hitters Andrus, Beltre, and Young are all protected with very strong hitters in front of them as well as behind them. Torrealba is protected to some degree with Napoli/Moreland in front of him and Borbon is protected to some degree by Kinsler hitting behind him. I think this is the best lineup because it protects Young in addition to protecting Andrus and Beltre. Further, it gives you an awesome 1-7 punch with your 8 hole being more or less pretty weak. But if Borbon can start getting on base more you turn around right away with Kinsler and Adnrus for back to back to back speed and power behind them.
I think this lineup combines the traditional notion of stacking the top of your order with your best hitters while also protecting your weaker hitters in such a way as to maximize their productivity while taking pressure off of them.
I'm very excited about this lineup and look at it if Borbon sits.
When Borbon sits ALL of our weak hitters are protected by stronger hitters (I'm assuming Murphy should be considered stronger as he will be in the lineup against RHP against which he had an .850 OPS last year.
Weaker hitters Andrus, Beltre, Young, and Torrealba are all protected from in front and behind by strong hitters Kinsler, Hamilton, Cruz, Napoli/Moreland, and Murphy.
I like this idea very much.
Is it possible that the prerogative of protecting weaker hitters to maximize their production could outweigh all of that optimization stuff, especially when you have as many stronger hitters as the Rangers have?
It seems to me that hitting between excellent hitters could be the single best thing for a hitter other than perhaps hitting in a friendly park. As a result, if you have enough stronger hitters, it seems that this might be a good consideration in forming a lineup. I definitely agree to some degree that a manager should try to stack the top of the order to make run scoring more likely because of consecutive strong hitters, but I also think that protecting weak hitters is an important consideration. And especially when you have enough strong hitters to protect almost all of your weak hitters as the Rangers do.
How are you protected by hitting after anyone? The protection comes from the guy behind you.
I understand the math behind putting Hamilton in the 2 hole...but he is not a number 2 hitter. He is the prototype #3. Because I became a baseball fan in the mid 80's, I always picture Carney Lansford when I think 2 hole. Guy who can battle to get on base, move runners over, etc. I would bat Elvis and Kinsler at the top of the lineup (I don't care which leads off and which hits 2nd), Hamilton, Cruz, Beltre, Moreland (in front of Young to break up the RH parade), Young, Yorrealba, Borbon
Joe, not trying to be a jerk....have you played baseball? Highest level?
If you have a strong hitter in front of you it is possible you could get better pitches to hit because they may pitch around the strong hitter thinking there is a weaker guy hitting behind him. Especially if they walk the strong hitter in front of you or he gets on base it is likely you will get better pitches to hit because the pitcher's urgency to get someone out increases. Furthermore, if you have a strong hitter hitting in front of and behind you it creates an ideal situation for you because they are pitching around the guy in front of you thinking you are an easy out (which will lead to you getting better pitches to hit) and they are afraid of the guy behind you and thus really want to get you out while thinking that you are an easier out.
I think the misunderstanding comes from the fact that most of the time when baseballers talk about protecting a hitter they are talking about protecting one of the team's best hitters with an excellent hitter behind them. This results in the opposing team not being able to take the bat out of the hands of your team's best hitter because they don't want to walk him because of the hitter who follows him.
This post was not about how to protect your strong hitters, but rather about how to protect your weaker hitters to optimize their production. The assumption here is that hitters like Kinsler, Hamilton, Cruz, Napoli/Moreland, and Murphy need protection less and that trying to optimize the production of hitters like Andrus, Beltre, Young, and Torrealba/Treanor is going to be your best option for increasing run production. I realize this idea is a bit unorthodox but I like it and I think it makes sense. It requires a bit more thought than simply plugging it in to your baseball boxes though.
I think stronger hitters need protection more than weaker hitters. It doesn't really matter whether guys are on base or who's up next, no one is pitching around Yorvit Torrealba or Borbon or Andrus. The real protection issue in this lineup is whether Hamilton and Cruz will ever see a good pitch. The one guy who may see a huge bump from his protection is Beltre. He's a guy people might actually pitch around in other circumstances but should see a ton of good pitches hitting in front of Nellie Cruz.
Of course, an any lineup spot you'd want a strong hitter in the spot ahead and the spot behind, whether that spot was a strong hitter or a weak hitter. Ideally, you'd have strong hitters 1-9...
But how are weaker hitters "protected" by having a strong hitter behind them? By your logic above, the pitcher "really wants to get him out." That's "protecting" him? If anything, you'd love the bat to be taken out of his hands....
It's also pretty silly to categorize Beltre as in the "weak" category in this lineup...as much criticism I give him (due to the contract size), he's a better, far more proven hitter than Murphy/Borbon part of your "strong" category. By such weird labeling of strong and weak, you essentially are taking two pretty conbential lineups and making them fit into your "outside-the-box" idea...
I never put Borbon in a strong category, and if I did it was a typo. That's really annoying when people just say you said something you didn't say.
I do think Murphy is a strong hitter against RHP though.
Beltre had a few strong years but he has also had many weak years. In my opinion he does not belong in the same category with Napoli against LHP, Hamilton, Kinsler, and Cruz. Further, the fact that he is a weak cleanup hitter makes him in need of protection, and I think hitting him between Hamilton and Cruz could give him the protection he needs to flourish as he did last year.
If a pitcher really wants to get a guy out he gives him pitches that are easier to hit, especially if he thinks he is an easy out, especially if he's thinking about Hamilton or Cruz coming to the plate next. Obviously a lot depends on just how good the pitcher is at getting guys out, but in general if the pitcher is pitching to contact or is under the impression this guy is a lot weaker than the guy in the hole the guy at the plate has an advantage.
The other thing is that I have not, in general, called the hitters who I think could use some protection "weak." I have said they are weaker, which means that they are weaker than our stronger hitters like Kinsler, Hamilton, Cruz, Napoli against LHP, Murphy against RHP, and even perhaps Moreland (we shall see). I actually thing a lot of the guys who I have said are "weaker" are good hitters, and not poor hitters. They are just not strong when comparing them to the "stronger" hitters in our lineup. I think Andrus, Beltre, and Young have a lot of potential and that protecting them could maximize run production.
You have too much time on your hands.
This stuff actually does not take me that long to type up.
Regardless, like I already said, you basically have come up with very conventional, old-school lineups...speed up top, your best hitters in the heart of the order and your weaker hitters at the bottom. You are just dressing it up with funny labels on people and theories about "protecting weak hitters" in order to make it fit your supposedly revolutionary "experiment"
You act like you're re-inventing the game of baseball or something, when all you are doing is making a very ordinary lineup.
I actually find the lineup, which also happens to be the lineup that Wash has put forward (I'm not saying he is doing it to protect weak hitters), actually not fully conventional although it is mostly conventional. If you were going totally conventional you would put Young, Moreland (assuming he is a singles machine again this year) or Napoli in the two hole as they are better hitters than Andrus (also Andrus had a poor obp last year). You would certainly not put Beltre (who has had many weak power years) in the cleanup role as that job would conventionally go to Cruz who is the best power hitter. Kinsler is the best leadoff we have and Hamilton is the purest hitter so they are in very conventional spots.
I don't remember ever saying I was trying to be revolutionary or something. I was just thinking about the order, about Andrus possibly being in the 2 hole, Beltre in the 4 hole, and Young's potential place, the arrangement of the weaker and stronger hitters, and I thought that this could be an ideal order for protecting the weaker hitters and thus maximizing their production. What would be sort of unconventional is if Wash put the catcher in the 7 hole to protect him with Napoli/Moreland in the 8 hole, which would also be ideal for Borbon who would then be hitting between two great hitters most of the time. However, it is probably best, and yes, more conventional, to protect Young with Napoli/Moreland hitting 7th and then your catcher 8th with Borbon at the bottom. The great part about when Borbon sits is that Murphy hitting 9th can protect your catcher in the 8 hole especially against RHP. All around stronger lineup with Murphy in there but defense suffers (assuming Borbon plays better CF than he has been this spring). That would probably also be somewhat unconventional, to put Murphy in the 9 hole instead of the catcher, but I like having Murphy before Kinsler and I like the idea that he can protect the catchers to some extent. Hell of a lineup when you are thinking of putting Murph in the 9 hole, and your worst hitters are your catchers. Wash is very blessed indeed.
I think they should all use protection.
I am new to baseball. In my country we have real sports such as rugby and cricket. But I must ask because I am not familiar with your terminology. What is a 2-hole??
Joe - Here's the thing. No study has shown a measurable statistical contribution from lineup protection. Many people still believe it exists at least situationally. That being said, if lineup protection does indeed exist, it would work both ways. Trying to protect your weakest hitters would most likely do as much to harm your best hitters as it would to help the weak ones. The only thing you can be sure it would do is take at bats away from your stronger batters and give them to the weak ones. To maximize run production, the best plan is to get the most at-bats to your best hitters.
Jimi - Which country is yours?
As far as the possibility of this scheme damaging your strong hitters I think that would be more the case if you actually had weak hitters hitting in front of and behind them. Andrus, Beltre, and Young, are not weak hitters. I have called them "weaker" because they are not as strong as our stronger guys but they are not poor hitters. It is possible that the stronger guys could suffer to some degree but considering the relative strength of the hitters being protected (assuming they are not slumping) that could be outweighed by the maximization of run support from your weaker guys. I think with a lineup this strong from top to bottom the focus needs to be more on parity and engaging your guys who have a lot of potential rather than stacking and protecting your stronger guys who are likely going to do pretty well anyways. That is what you do if your lineup is weak with only a few great hitters in it. Further, I guess the idea is that pitchers will pitch around your stronger hitters taking the bat out of their hands if there is a weaker guy behind them. That could easily lead to more walks and more opportunities for the guys hitting behind these hitters like Andrus, Beltre, and Young. It will also result in better pitches for these guys to hit, and its not like these are poor hitters by any stretch although we definitely hope Andrus improves a lot over last year and Young as well while Beltre will likely regress to some degree.
As far as taking away at bats from your stronger hitters I think this would only be the case in opting for Andrus in the 2 hole rather than Napoli against LHP or Moreland. As far as whether Cruz hits 4th or 5th that is probably not that big of a difference in at bats. Its definitely something to consider but it doesn't seem to me like a overriding concern. However, I will say that it would become more of a concern if Andrus continues as he did last year with Napoli or Moreland tearing it up in the 7 hole. You might have to consider a switch at that point but I think the hope is that if Andrus can hit between Kinsler and Hamilton and start swinging away more he will improve significantly. Anyways, I think the consideration of getting maximum at bats to your best and hot hitters definitely weighs heavier on your mind the more discrepancy there is between a guy who is getting a lot of at bats and a guy who isn't getting as many but who is tearing it up. If Napoli or Moreland are in the 7 hole tearing it up and Andrus is slumping in the 2 hole, the longer that goes on the more it seems you need to make a change. But again, the hope is that Andrus will flourish there and improve.
I also think part of Wash's thinking in putting Andrus in the two hole is his speed, and because you get Borbon, Kinsler, and Andrus back to back to back for speed right in front of Hamilton, Beltre, and Cruz.
I still get no reply of explanation on a 2-hole thing. Is a 2-hole lesser than a 3=hole person?
In case you are sincere which I highly doubt:
When someone speaks of the batter in the 1 hole 2 hole or 3 hole and so forth they mean that person is hitting 1st 2nd 3rd.... (and so on) in the 9 man batting order.
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