Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lineup Analysis

Yesterday's Orioles lineup seems to be more or less what the club is planning to roll out for Opening Day. How did Dave Trembley do?

The lineup, with CHONE projections for OBP and SLG:

1) Roberts .358/.427
2) Jones .349/.497
3) Markakis .373/.484
4) Tejada .330/.435
5) Scott .337/.471
6) Wieters .355/.460
7) Atkins .327/.412
8) Pie .332/.435
9) Izturis .301/.334

According to the Baseball Musings Lineup Analysis tool, Trembley didn't do terribly, but there is room for improvement. This lineup projects for 5.133 runs per game, while the optimal lineup projects for 5.157, a difference of 3.888 runs over the course of a season: a bit less than half a win.

How can we reasonably improve the above lineup? Well, Roberts leading off and Cesar Izturis batting 9th are no brainers. Given what we saw for the importance of the number two slot in the lineup, we should also move Nick Markakis into the number two hole. The tool then likes some combination of Scott, Wieters and Jones in the numbers 3, 4 and 5 slots, with Tejada, Atkins and Pie rounding out the bottom half of the order. Since we want to break up lefties, let's put those six guys in this order: Wieters, Jones, Scott, Tejada, Atkins, Pie (feel free to swap Pie and Atkins if you would like). That lineup works out to 5.155 runs per game, tied for the fourth most optimal lineup. The moral of the story? Batting Tejada cleanup instead of further down in the order is likely to cost the Orioles somewhere between 3 and 5 runs this season. Keep that in mind when Jim Palmer extols the virtues of Tejada's proven run producing abilities right before another inning-ending double play.

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