yzerman1
Lots of debate on what the Brewers lineup should look like this year. I have a book called The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball by Tom Tango, Mitchel G. Litchman and Andrew Dolphin that has a chapter that deals with lineup construction. It is a new age baseball book that also looks at run expectancy, leveraging relievers, platoon splits I would highly recommend to Ron Roenicke. I am in a geek roto league where we have categories like FIP, wRC, and OPS+ so I find this book an excellent modern look at how baseball is now played.

With that said, here in a nutshell is how the Brewers should construct their lineup according to that book. The basic theme is this:

Your best three hitters should bat somewhere in the #1, #2, and #4 slots. Your fourth- and fifth-best hitters should occupy the #3 and #5 slots. The #1 and #2 slots will have players with more walks than those in the #4 and #5 slots. From slot #6 through #9, put the players in descending order of quality.

That is pretty simple. There is no way Scooter Gennett should ever be considered to bat 1st or 2nd in the batting order. I think we would all agree that Braun, Gomez, and Lucroy are the Brewers top 3 hitters. Hitters in the one, two and four spots have higher run values over the three spot when it comes to singles, doubles and triples (home runs come out about even). I want my first two hitters to be capable of drawing walks. Therefore, Lucroy and Gomez will take the top two spots, with Braun coming in at the cleanup position. Lucroy (10.1 BB%) and Gomez (7.3 BB%) walked the most among the Brewers last year, and since home runs are worth the highest run total from the cleanup spot, Braun is batting there. Lucroy leads off because he walks more and strikes out less than Gomez.

A couple of other little points about the lineup. The book also says this: The second leadoff hitter theory exists. You can put your pitcher in the eighth slot and gain a couple of extra runs a year. Tony LaRussa wasn't so crazy after all. The book also says: The propensity to ground into, or avoid, double plays is an important consideration for players at the extreme double play levels. It is also an important consideration for leadoff hitters in the NL. That plays when considering where to bat Ramirez and Lind. The three-hole hitter comes to the plate a lot more with two outs than the five-hole hitter, meaning he has a smaller chance of grounding into two outs. Since Ramirez has a knack for double plays, the three spot is best suited for him, with Lind following Braun in the five spot. So now here is the optimal Brewers lineup that would score the most runs:

Lucroy
Gomez
Ramirez
Braun
Lind
Davis
Gennett
Pitcher
Segura

There is no way the Brewers will do this. I also don't agree with this lineup even though it statistically would be their best lineup. I would flop Gomez and Lucroy and not hit the pitcher 8th. I struggle with the balance between the human element in the game and what all the new statistics say about the game. This is a purely by the book lineup, feel free to disagree with it, as I have done with parts. Davis may be a better hitter than Davis but I like the right handed Davis hitting between the two left handed bats. This is why clubs have analytic departments to point out all advantages even if the differences are microscopic.
If you want to drink all day, you have to start in the morning.
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mickjagger
Not too far off, Yyzerman. Roenicke announced Tuesday or Wednesday his batting order to open the season would be:

1. Gomez, CF
2. Lucroy, C
3. Braun, RF
4. Ramirez, 3B
5. Lind, 1B
6. Davis, LF
7. Gennett, 2B
8. Segura, SS
9. Pitcher
Wisconsin Sports Network Hall of Fame Inductee, 2012
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blade12
The batting order doesn't worry me near as much as knowing that, as happened last, year Roenicke preferred to bring in Smith and Thornburg daily even with 6-8 run deficits early in the year when he had WCW sitting in the pen not pitching for a month at a time.
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traviswilson
What does the book say about how many more plate appearances the #1 or #2 position order get versus #4 and #5?
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10/22/2010 -- 598,210 pageviews for WSN
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yzerman1
traviswilson wrote:
What does the book say about how many more plate appearances the #1 or #2 position order get versus #4 and #5?



Each lineup spot gets about 2.5 percent more appearances than the one after it over the course of a season, or roughly another plate appearance every 8-9 games or 15 at bats over a season. Another point to consider when deciding between who bats first and who bats second is this fact. You don't want to put your best overall hitter, someone who gets on base but also hits for power, in the leadoff spot, because his first plate appearances come with the bases empty and the remainder will come with fewer men on base because he's hitting behind the No. 8 and 9 hitters. Historically the leadoff spot has far fewer PAs with men on base (36 percent, with no other spot below 44 percent) than any other lineup position, making it an ideal spot for a high-OBP but low-power hitter. That again probably means Lucroy leads off and Gomez should hit second.

Over the past 10 years the last out was made by the No. 2 batter 11.7 percent of the time. That means in about 19 games a year, the No. 3 hitter was left standing in the on-deck circle which furthers the argument for getting your best hitters more at bats. The No. 3 hitter, on average, leads off the fewest number of innings, which is another reason not to put one of your higher OBP guys there.
If you want to drink all day, you have to start in the morning.
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