Playing Manager: How Would You Make This Lineup?
By Stuart Jones
This is going to test your loyalty to reading this post: this lineup is not that of the San Francisco Giants. Aaaaaand it’s just me here talking now. Well, anyway, let’s role play where you’re the manager and you have a lineup to make. Simple enough goal. Let’s look at the candidates and NO you CANNOT just enter Buster Posey in here because you feel like it, BECAUSE HE’S A MAN (j/k he’s totally not, right, @MLB?). I’ve labeled each player with a letter, given you season stats and recent extremely small sample size stats just in case two players were really giving you fits for that third or fifth spot. We will assume the pitcher will bat ninth… or if you want to have the pitcher bat 8th, OK, that’s fine.
They’re all sorted by wOBA, as you’ve noticed. Take those numbers in. Now arrange it on your own. Does speed matter the most to you? Do you swear by wOBA like I do? Is OBP a “nerd Moneyball” stat that you think is overvalued? If I’m thinking of the typical sports fan, this is how I think most people organize their lineup:
H, C, A, E, B, D, F, G
Maybe I’m wrong about the common fan, and if I am, I apologize. Because you didn’t ask, here’s mine:
C, B, A, E, D, F, G, H
I love OBP, HR, and wOBA, and my lineup is probably going to look pretty unconventional. But you know what has two thumbs and doesn’t care about that kind of lineup tradition? This guy…. and lots of guys and gals, frankly. Let’s look at the lineup that was trotted out on Tuesday, September 11th by the manager with these players:
Yes, it’s the rival Dodgers! Looking at the common fan and my lineup, how do the guesses measure out?
F (no/no), H (no/no), D (no/no), A (no/no), E (no/no), B (no/no), G (no/yes), C (no/no)
All this means is we don’t make the lineups the same as Donny Baseball, not that we are smarter or stupider than him (although it still could be the case when it comes to making a lineup). So that means that these stats with the player letters look like this:
Maybe you’re feeling a little betrayed by the numbers. Maybe if you saw how these guys look at the plate you might change your lineup. All three people that read this might have a different lineup than from what I made. To tease you more with numbers, here’s what Baseball Musing‘s 1989-2002 Model for Lineup Construction says about the three best lineups:
Poor Mark Ellis gets bumped for Kershaw. It’s a good thing computers don’t make lineups because sometimes you’ll get this stuff that based it off of wOBA and SLG… but then again who am I to say this lineup wouldn’t destroy the competition?
Truth to the matter is there are several ways a lineup can be made, and you’ve had the chance to experience a couple. If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that why in the heck is AJ Ellis constantly batting eighth (more than half their games)?!?? Maybe it’s Ned Coletti’s way of still helping the Giants by telling Don Mattingly it’s going to create the best lineup, by putting the guy who gets on base at the second-highest rate on the team, right before the pitcher.
Well played, Ned Coletti. Well played.