FanPost

Best Lineup - Pittsburgh Pirates

I am running a series at my blog on the most productive lineup construction for each MLB team and I just finished running the numbers for the Pirates. In this exercise I will use my simulator to play actual baseball games, in fact over 2 million games per lineup to find out which lineup is the most productive vs both a RHP and a LHP. My simulator pretty much takes into account all factors of a baseball game. What a simulation can do that a static model cannot do is measure the interaction in skillsets of each hitter and how they create run production. Bat a high OBP in front of a slugger? Bat the pitcher 8th? Put your best power hitter 3rd, 4th or 5th? Well, it all depends. No two teams are the same. Each lineup is compared in wins per 162 games against the default lineup from MLBDepthCharts. Player projections are taken from Bill James.

Below are the results...

Default lineup from MLB Depth Charts.

1. Starling Marte
2. Neil Walker (S)
3. Andrew McCutchen
4. Garrett Jones (L)
5. Pedro Alvarez (L)
6. Russell Martin
7. Travis Snider (L) << Gaby Sanchez vs LHP
8. Clint Barmes
9. Pitchers Spot

Best Lineup vs RHP
1. Russell Martin
2. Andrew McCutchen
3. Neil Walker (S)
4. Garrett Jones (L)
5. Pedro Alvarez (L)
6. Travis Snider (L)
7. Clint Barmes
8. Pitchers Spot
9. Starling Marte
Wins/162 Games Better Than Default Lineup: 0.84

Best Lineup vs LHP
1. Russell Martin
2. Andrew McCutchen
3. Garrett Jones (L)
4. Neil Walker (S)
5. Starling Marte
6. Gaby Sanchez
7. Clint Barmes
8. Pitchers Spot
9. Pedro Alvarez (L)
Wins/162 Games Better Than Default Lineup: 1.48

Skinny: The thing that pops up right away is that the simulator likes Russell Martin and his low batting average and decent OBP at the top of the order. The top four lineup spots are almost the same vs both RH/LH pitchers with Jones and Walker flopped at the 3rd and 4th spots. Marte who is projected by MLBDepthCharts to leadoff finds himself batting 9th against RHP and 5th against LHP. I am a little surprised at Marte batting 9th against RHP but there are a slew of left handed batters that bump him down, so it really comes down to batting 7th in front of the pitcher, or batting 9th where he comes in to play as a table setter (leadoff man) at the bottom of the order, kind of like Alvarez does against LHP.

And if you haven't noticed, batting the pitcher 8th and not 9th pretty much helps every single NL team.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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