Saturday, February 25, 2006

I like this webpage...

In it, you plug in the players in your lineup to discover the optimal lineup card. Before you ask, according to this Baseball Musings program, the optimal lineup would be:

1) Abreu
2) Utley
3) Lieberthal (Yes, Mike Lieberthal)
4) Howard
5) Burrell
6) Rollins
7) Rowand
8) Pitcher
9) Bell

According to last years' stats, such a lineup would score 4.774 runs per game. In 2005, the Phils scored 807 runs, which comeS to 4.98 runs per game. So based on this optimal projection, the Phils could see some dropoff, mostly due to losing Lofton and Michaels, I suppose. Or maybe due to Pinch Hitters. The difference is about 33 runs for the season, which might translate to 3 games difference. Not an immaterial dropoff.

Some interesting items in the lineups. In every single optimal lineup (the program shows the top and bottom 20) Abreu was listed as the best choice for leadoff. Lieberthal was listed as high as second and as low as ninth. Bell was listed as the last hitter about 50% of the time. Howard was listed as the #4 hitter 100% of the time in the optimal lineups. Utley was far and away the top #2 hitter listed, followed by Burrell.

In the worst lineups, the pitcher was always listed as the #1 hitter. David Bell was the second worst choice. Number three? Jimmy Rollins! When you consider that every time the pitcher leads off the inning we're going Pitcher Rollins to lead off the inning, Having JRoll as the leadoff man might prove to be very costly to the Phils, according to this.

Please note that I did absolutely zero research into the methods this program uses to calculate the optimal lineup, and I know for a fact it does not consider left/right matchups when considering lineups. Also the difference between the absolute best lineup and the absolute worst is less than a run a game, and if you were to always bat the pitcher last, it's far less than that.

Play around with this and post your most interesting discoveries.

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