What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
Over 150 games, the #2 hitter gets about 87 more PAs than the #7 hitter. What's the logic behind giving Andrus 87 more PAs than Napoli?
Using wRC you can determine run value per PA for Andrus and Napoli. You can then subtract the difference and multiply by 87 to determine roughly the # of runs that it's costing the Rangers to allow Andrus to hit 87 more times per year than Napoli. Using 2011 stats, it will cost the Rangers 8.3 runs. Using either Bill James's or ZiPS's 2012 projections, it will cost the Rangers about 4.5 runs.
So continuing to hit Andrus 2nd and Napoli 7th will likely cost the Rangers somewhere between 4.5 and 8.3 runs this year. Roughly 10 runs equals one win. So it costs the Rangers between .5 and 1 win. That wouldn't have mattered last year, but in a year in which the race with the Angels could come down to the last day, this sort of mistake could be extremely costly.
What's really frustrating about this sort of thing is that an amateur fan with a few minutes to spare shouldn't be able to easily identify a way in which a professional baseball team with a $120 mil payroll could add a half a win. Every MLB team should be all over these kinds of simple optimization failures, particularly one as well run as the Rangers.
You're way off base on this one. Andrus is ideal as a number two hitter. Good bunter, good at hitting behind the runner, unselfish, not afraid to hit with two strikes, and good base stealer for double steals and to steal a base when Kinsler doesn't get on. Made to order no. 2 hitter.
MY seems the obvious #2 guy. HIs power is all but gone, high obp, he naturally hits to right anyway. I['d rather put EWlvis in the lineup at 8 and let him swing away more, not worry so much about moving Ian over.
re-post from a different topic...
Isn't one of the sabermetic principals that the only significance of batting order is to put your best hitters at the top of the lineup because at the end of the season it can equate to about 100 AB between the #1 spot and the #9 spot?
1. Hamelton (.895 OPS Projected)2. Napoli .8793. Cruz .8584. Beltre .8545. Kinsler .841-------------------------------6. Young .7847. Moreland .7648. L. Martin .7119. Andrus .704
I don't care how you shuffle the lineup, but I can't see how it makes sense to have any of our 5 studs batting any lower than 5th.
Who do you want up for our final out in the 9th
Napoli and Cruz orElvis and Young?
It may make sense from a paper standpoint to put the lineup like that, but all the power hitters are bunched together and all the on base guys are bunched together. The lineup is like it is because there will be a power hitter pretty much every inning, along with a chance for there to be a guy on base for said power hitter. We have too many good hitters to worry about where to place who. The lineup we have now is ideal for the style of play for Wash. A mix of base-stealers and Hr hitters.
You say "power hitter" and "one base guys" like you can't hit for power and get on base alot, and can't on base alot plus hit for power. That just simply is not true. For example, I think that every single batters in the first five of that lineup minus Cruz had a higher OBP than Andrus. And they hit for power. Seems like Andrus would be the guy you want to give the least amount of PAs in that group.
I regards to...
"You're way off base on this one. Andrus is ideal as a number two hitter. Good bunter, good at hitting behind the runner, unselfish, not afraid to hit with two strikes, and good base stealer for double steals and to steal a base when Kinsler doesn't get on. Made to order no. 2 hitter.
IMO, RFan isn't the one off base here. Some people seem to be under the impression that there is a CERTAIN skill set that every spot in the order HAS to have. Why is anything you listed exclusive to the guy that bats #2 in the lineup? I don't buy that. I think that hitting for power, getting on base, and effecient base running is what you want for EVERY spot in the order. Think about it this way, which line up would score more runs, A lineup with 9 Babe Ruths, or a lineup with 8 Babe Ruths and Elvis Andrus hitting second?
If we were under the impression that there is a CERTAIN skill set that every spot has to have we wouldn''t want Kinsler at the leadoff spot.
I think Andrus is right where he needs to be with him being able to move runners over consistantly for the sluggers behind him that will have a good shot at bringing in the run. He can get on base and steal second and do this all by himself. He can change a game at any time if he's on base by threat of his stealing. The pitchers have to decide if they wanna worry about him getting to second (or even third) or focus mainly on Hamilton or whoever else is up.
Everybody tries to put on paper what they think is the best by fantasy stats, but when it comes down to it there are way more factors that a math problem can't figure in to the equation. You can tell me all you want with stats and numbers but when it comes down to it a manager is there to judge swagger and emotion of players to see if they can handle situations. That is why they are managing baseball teams and not all of these "fantasy gurus".
So for Andrus being the #2 hitter is his ability to steal? What about the ability to hit for extra bases, or get on base in general (which, after a quick look, I sold short earlier). You know, if Napoli had the same amount of PAs last year as Andrus, and hit at the same rate, he would have had about 40 more HRs than Andrus and about 11 more Doubles. I think that would be more valuable than any amount of steal that Andrus could accumulate.
And yes there are factors that the math doesn't figure. Like, for example, the handedness of the batters, and the potential problems we could face having so many right handers clumped together. But the problems with trying to build a batting lineup around "swag and emotion" is that they are what we like to call INTAGIBLES. I mean, is there any evidence that suggests that the spot someone hits in the BO actually has an effect on what he does, or is that just speculation? If not, then I say give the better offensive player more PAs.
And if you trust Professional Swag Estimation over math based analysis, well, then lets agree to disagree.
Walks are no good unless there is someone behind them to knock them in. Hits are good anywhere, because they drive in runs more than walks do. Walks are almost worthless to drive in runs. To me, this means that Napoli needs to bat HIGHER. I would bat him 4th. If Moreland returns to form, I would move him up also. I would move Young, who gets few walks, and Beltre, who is very good, but gets few walks, DOWN.
I agree with the posts that look at WAR and who you would want to get the at bats. I do not agree with the posts who think that a second place batter has to have a particular skill set.
There's nothing inherently wrong with a walk. You can't blame the player (or the walk I guess) that nobody knocked him in. If nothing else, it gets the pitch count up a bit, and it forces the pitcher to throw from the stretch.
It's pretty much Baseball gospel that it's the job of the 1 and 2 spots to make sure #3 hitter comes up to the plate with a man on base.
Of all the problems this team has, batting lineup isn't a big worry. We're going to score runs.
There's no reasoning that leads to the conclusion that you should take the bat from Mike Napoli, a v. good hitter, and put it in the hands of Elvis Andrus, a below-average hitter. Elvis's baserunning doesn't come close to making up the difference between the two.
Tom Tango thoroughly analyzes batting order in The Book. He shows that there's usually a tradeoff between # of PAs (higher at the top of the order) and # of men on base (higher as you get lower in the order until you reach the #5 spot). Tango's basic conclusions are that the best 2 hitters on the team should hit #2 and #4. The #4 hitter comes to the plate with runners on base more than anyone else. The #2 hitter doesn't have as many runners on base but gets more PAs.
The next 3 best hitters on the team should hit #1, #5, and #3, respectively. The leadoff hitter should be a guy who has a high OBP and gets a lot of doubles, triples, and walks. The problem with the #3 spot is that the guy hitting #3 comes to the plate with 2 outs more frequently than any other hitter on the team. So that guy should be a good hitter, but not as good as the #5 hitter. Also, the #3 hitter should be a guy who hits a lot of HRs b/c the HR is most valuable relative to other types of hits when there are 2 outs.
From #6 through #9, put the hitters in descending order of quality. The reason is that as you move down the order, each player gets 2.5% fewer PAs than the player before him and, at that point in the lineup, has fewer men on base.
If the Rangers were to optimize their lineup in this way, it would probably look something like this: Kinsler, Hamilton, Cruz, Beltre, Napoli, Young, Moreland (when healthy), Andrus, and Gentry. We could debate, e.g., where MY should hit. But Andrus shouldn't hit 2nd, and he shouldn't hit ahead of Mike Napoli. The #2 slot is for one of the top 2 hitters on the team, not a singles-hitting speedster. Over 150 games, hitting Napoli 7th and Andrus 2nd takes 87 PAs from Napoli and gives them to Andrus. That's just wrong.
By the way, I don't play fantasy baseball and I'm not a statistician.
Tex Pantego, I agree that the Rangers will score runs regardless of batting order. But if the manager can squeeze out (or save) 30 to 50 more runs per year by following simple sabermetric principles like optimizing the lineup, that's an extra 3 to 5 wins that could make the difference in September. Sabermetrics and managers can't work miracles. If the world's best sabermetrician and manager teamed up, they couldn't take the Astros to the WS. But they probably could squeeze out an extra 3 to 5 wins above the manager they replaced. That's $15 to $25 mil in value on the FA market. Basically, it'd be like adding another Josh Hamilton to the team.
There are many arguments to make on all sides of the issue. One thing I would add is that an added benefit to having Andrus #2 over Young is his speed. If Both Kinsler and Andrus get on, a double by Josh scores 2. If Kinsler is out but Andrus gets on, he can steal 2B and a single gets him home. So I don't really think it's as much of a failed strategy as RFan claims here.
I agree that once the player has reached a particular base, it's a lot better if he's a good runner. But that ignores the more important part of the equation, which is the frequency with which he reaches base and whether he typically hits singles, doubles, etc. If it were just about speed, then Gentry should hit second over Andrus. Or for that matter, the Rangers should sign Usain Bolt.
I can't think of a single circumstance in which I'd rather have Elvis Andrus at the plate than Mike Napoli. Andrus is a guy who bunts and slaps singles in the hope that he can reach base and maybe steal or be driven in. Napoli is a guy who crushes the ball. Last year, Andrus created .12 runs per PA. Napoli created .21 runs per PA. I'd take Napoli every time. I don't care if he's slower. He creates more runs and that's what it's all about. Take 87 PAs away from Andrus and give them to Big Mike and the team scores more runs. Doesn't matter whether it goes against conventional wisdom or whether Napoli has the conventional skill set to hit high in the order. Napoli is a run-creating machine and Andrus isn't.
Ok, you made a fair point. My argument was pitting Andrus against Young at the #2, not Napoli - I mean surely you don't think they would bat Napoli 2nd - you mean that if Napoli was moved up he'd get more PA.
It probably doesn't matter, though, since Texas will routinely roll out one of the top offenses regardless of what order they bat in. Another thing I'd point out is that yes - Napoli has + power and he always has. On the other hand, if you think he's gonna hit .320 overall and .390 over half a season again - you are a lot more idealistic than I am. He's more of a .230 - .260 hitter in his career, and chances are he comes down to earth. Andrus is probably a .250 - .280 hitter, and his OBP is only slightly less than Napoli's overall for their careers. So if you're making a case for Napoli's power, I agree. But if you are making a case for average and OBP, it's not that big of a deal.
Another thing to consider is that one factor that might have contributed to Napoli's great season was his place low in the order where he saw good pitches. push him up to 4 or 5 and he might not replicate it. Maybe he's a "run creating machine" because of all the guys in front of him whom he routinely knocked in. Who knows?
So like I said - you have a good point, but I don't think it's such a big deal as you are making it here. Of course, I could be wrong - I always reserve the right to be wrong. :)
Wow, this is the best thread in awhile. I don't know who to agree with! Very, very interesting.
Please carry on.
none of your arguments mean anything...Andrus is doing what his job is in the batting order. His job is to get on base and score runs by having the hitters behind him hit him in. The best example of this is Ichiro, he has plenty of talent and ability to hit the ball out of the part, but that's not his job (will be this year if he hits 3rd). Ichiro's job as the lead off guy is to get on base anyway possible and create havoc! So him being a team player (like Andrus) by hitting the runners over and once again getting in the pitchers head to make mental mistakes to the "sluggers". A lot of his outs are productive outs to help out his team and not his stats so people think he should be an all mighty 2 hole hitter. He is there with the same goal as the rest of his team mates. Napoli hitting in the 2 hole will not do most of this...he may hit more HR, but who is to say with those extra plate appearance his averages don't go down....i mean the more appearances he has at the plate the more often he will have chances of failure and he has never had nearly that many plate appearances. Him popping out to center and leaving the guy in front of him on first while the guy behind him hits a single actually may make us score less runs in the long run...these are things your stats can not prove.
THINGS THAT MAY LOOK GOOD ON PAPER DON'T NECISSARILY MEAN THEY ARE THE SMARTEST CHOICE....JUST ASK THE GOVERNMENT!
we could argue this until the day we die. i see both sides of the light, but at the end of the day i think Andrus is best suited as our #2 hitter.
Everyone (almost) loves Washington's personality, but no one can figure out his game decisions. In this case we are talking about his batting order.
I have read the above, and I would favor Kinsler, Hamilton, Beltre, Napoli, Moreland, Cruz, Young, Gentry and Andrus. This gives Hamilton, Beltre and Napoli, who are definitely 3 of the top 4 hitters on the Rangers (and among the best in all of baseball) more at bats, at the expense of Andrus, who isn't.
I believe Hamilton is the best batter, perhaps, and Napoli, even if he regresses, is the next best, given his power and walks. Kinsler and Beltre are next best. (Young sometmes hits for a high average, but lower power and is getting older, so he arguably is not one of the best 4 hitters on the Rangers, especially given that he is older now also.)
It actually is a toss up who should hit 5 - 7, among Moreland, Cruz and Young. I favor Moreland for 5th, because except for his wrist injury, he is improving, and he has high walks. As to CF, I favor Gentry, who i think will be a 3 WAR player or more on a full season (2 of which would be for defense), above playing Murphy. To me, Murphy looks like a 1.5 WAR player on a career average but one must remember that the trouble with playing Murphy is that it would also reduce Hamilton's value by about 1.5 WAR by making Hamilton shift to center, thus making Murphy a zero. Borbon, to me looks like a bust. His defense, walks and base running are no where near as good as Gentry, and Borbon can't hit LHP either and doesn't hit well on the road either. Moreover, Gentry hits RHP better than Borbon anyway, so a platoon is counterproductive offensively and defensively. The batting order would be R L R R L R R R R which breaks up the lefties. If Borbon platoons or if Murphy plays, then the eighth position in the order would be L, making it R L R R L R R L R.
Anyway, if Washington makes any sense at all by batting Andrus second, maybe Washington is doing it because he thinks Andrus will greatly improve this year. Indeed, Andrus is getting better and is still young. Maybe (maybe?) he will have a higher OBP than Napoli this year. Still, with all his power, I would give Napoli more at bats, by moving him higher in the order as described above and by playing Torrealba less, and when Napoli is not catching, by letting Napoli play all the time, vs LHP and RHP at either first base, instead of Moreland, or DH, instead of Young. If the team can get 600 PAs for Napoli this year WATCH OUT! HOLY COW!
Napoli, for some reason, is still getting second class treatment. True, the Rangers treat him better than the Angels did, but not as well as he has earned. Why does he bat so low in the order? Why didn't the Rangers sign him to a contract in the off season? He is cheaper than Hamilton, plays a harder positon, and has a Helluva OBP and power, even if he regresses some. After factoring in the probable replacements, the team will likely lose more WARs if Napoli walks after this season, than if Hamilton does!
Oh, Wash likes to bunt. Maybe that explains it!
I wonder how many WARs Wash is worth. I would give him 8 WAR for team attitude and everything, but - 3 for in game management. (But then again, I am sure not an expert at this!)
WWJDD?, thanks for the discussion. You're right that I'm not arguing that Napoli should hit #2. I think he should hit #3 or #5. My main points are that (a) Andrus should hit 8th, not 2nd; (b) Andrus shouldn't hit before a much better hitter like Napoli; and (c) the #2 hitter should be one of the top 2 hitters on the team, not the 8th worst hitter. I also agree that Napoli won't be as good this year as last, but even using his career #s, he's a better hitter than Andrus. And with respect to your point about Napoli's run creation having to do with who hit before him, that's not the case. The run creation #s I cited are based on wRC. wRC is calculated using wOBA and a player's wOBA doesn't depend on who bats before him. Napoli is a better run-creator (in the sense that I'm using the term) than Andrus b/c he's a better hitter.
Steev, I think you have a strong bias against statistics. Statistics just summarize the past. They tell us what happened. They're facts; no reason to be mad at them! As to your point about roles. I think Andrus's role is to be the best hitter he can be. If he could hit like Mike Napoli, he would. He doesn't b/c he can't, not because he bats #2 and Ron Washington has told him that the #2 hitter isn't supposed to hit like Mike Napoli. (By the way, I agree with Tom Grieve that Ichiro can't hit for power. If he could, he would. The run value of the average HR is 1.4, the triple is 1, the double is .75, and the single is .5. If a player can hit for power and not have his batting avg. fall to pieces, it makes no sense for him to hit singles instead. It doesn't matter where he's at in the order.)
"none of your arguments mean anything...Andrus is doing what his job is in the batting order. His job is to get on base and score runs by having the hitters behind him hit him in"
And Napoli gets on base (signifigantly) more than Andrus, which sort of nulls that point.
"The best example of this is Ichiro, he has plenty of talent and ability to hit the ball out of the part(sic), but that's not his job (will be this year if he hits 3rd). Ichiro's job as the lead off guy is to get on base anyway possible and create havoc! him being a team player (like Andrus) by hitting the runners over and once again getting in the pitchers head to make mental mistakes to the "sluggers".
Again, it seems we are getting into "spots in the batting order need certain skill sets" territory again, as well as treating your perception of intagibles as infallible truths. The fact of the matter is, if Ichiro had replace 30 of his walks/singles with HRs/triples then the Mariners would have scored more runs. Period. Same goes for Andrus. And as far as "havoc" goes (which I am sure there is no evidence floating around out there that this is actually true), I would bet my testicles in a wager with nothing to gain that the alledged "havoc" created by any player sitting on first after a single does not match the run production value of a home run. Also, the Ichior may not have been the best example because the Mariners have been last in the league in pretty much every offensive catergory (or bottom three) for the past THREE YEARS!
" lot of his outs are productive outs to help out his team and not his stats so people think he should be an all mighty 2 hole hitter. He is there with the same goal as the rest of his team mates. Napoli hitting in the 2 hole will not do most of this...he may hit more HR, but who is to say with those extra plate appearance his averages don't go down....i mean the more appearances he has at the plate the more often he will have chances of failure and he has never had nearly that many plate appearances. Him popping out to center and leaving the guy in front of him on first while the guy behind him hits a single actually may make us score less runs in the long run...these are things your stats can not prove."
Yes, you are right. Statistics cannot prove your speculation wrong. I for one would like to think that Napoli's 67 point lead in OBP, whooping 270 point lead in SLG and 121 point lead in wOBA would be lost if he had 233 more plate apearences. Seeing as, 2011 included, Napoli's worst offensive year is still, to date, better than Andrus' best.
Hell, you even went on to speculate on a single event (popping out to CF one time with a runner on first). Which is crazy in itself, seeing as this one event would not hurt us very much in "the long run", and that there is no reason- I repeat NO REASON- to think that Andrus would be any more productive in that situation.
Funny, ain't it? Of all the decisions a manager has to make, batting order probably has the least significance. And yet it generates furious debate and heated passions. Yawn...
Rfan, I've been thinking about the batting order the last four months to the point of obsession. Scratching my head as to why Wash hit Elvis 2nd and Napoli 8th in the playoffs as I read "The Book" by Tom Tango. (GREAT sabre/stat book with a wonderful chapter on batting order --also you don't have to be a statistician to understand it.) Basically, it says teams should have their three best hitters in the #1, #2, and #4 hole and your fourth and fifth best hitters in the #3 and #5 hole. The #1 and #2 hole players should take more walks and ideally the #4 and #5 spots have more power. The 6-9 spots should hit in descending order.
I love Elvis and he did have a .347 OBP last year, but his lack of power (only slugging .361) doesn't cut it for hitting 2nd. In fact, you could argue he would be a great candidate to hit 8th or 9th to set up Kinsler in later innings. Giving Elvis 80-100 more ABs than Napoli is crazy. I wonder how many runs we would score with a lineup like this:
#1 Kinsler#2 Young#3 Hamilton#4 Beltre/Napoli#5 Napoli/Beltre#6 Cruz#7 Moreland#8 Gentry/Andrus#9 Andrus/Gentry
I bet we would score 850 runs and win 100 games. There is leeway here and there and we can nitpick a few spots, but in any permutation, Andrus should hit 8th or 9th. Would love to see this lineup stay healthy and get the top five 600-650 plate appearances each. Of course, Elvis could hit 12-15 HR this year and hit a lot more doubles and then we can go back to the drawing board with a wonderful problem of having a young SS that is developing power, but for now, I think this is our best opening day lineup.
It won't happen though and it's frustrating. As a previous poster wrote, for all Wash does to make this team better in the clubhouse, teaching, and attitude, the game management leaves a lot to be desired.
The baseball lineup should be more than just a statistical order from greatest hitter to worst, yes on paper batting Napoli 2nd would give you more runs, but there are things you need out of a two hole guy. He needs to be able to get on base (which Napoli does better than elvis, but elvis OPB has incresed for 3 years now), you need to be able to steal, and do it sucessfully. He needs to be able to set up the heart of the lineup with runners in scroing position, if Napoli gets on first he is staying there. Elvis on the other hand can steal and pick up extra bases on balls in the gap. A number 2 hitter isnt really a power hitter, he is supposed to set up for the power hitters and be driven in, Elvis did the last year scoring 96 runs. Elvis can bunt, steal, be agressive, and put the bat on the ball, all things you need a 2 hole hitter to do.
Napoli is the reason the Rangers lineup is so deadly, on most teams you go through the 3-4-5 guys and you get a little break, but with the Rangers they have the hearts of the lineups with the 6-7-8 guys as well, if Napoli moves to second the effectiveness of the 3-4-5 hitters would go down as they would have a few less oppurtunities, and the 6-7-8 guys would "give a break" to the pitcher.
It's not all about the stats, there is a lot more to the game than that, and thats what managers see. On the surface yes, there game is all about scoring runs, but in reality it is much more complicated than that.
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