Friday, December 14, 2012

Where To Bat Your Best Hitter - Part I


In this exercise I use my simulator to determine where to bat your best hitter in the lineup... but with a twist.  I am taking a team of nine hitters, eight of which are a typical speedy leadoff hitter (in this case I am using Michael Bourn) and the ninth is Albert Pujols.  Throw defense out the window in this exercise, just look at which lineup construction with eight Bourn's and one Pujols' would win you the most games.

There are only nine different permutations.  Pujols can bat anywhere from leadoff to ninth in these lineups.  Which slot do you think would be the best place to put Pujols.  My simulator takes in to consideration all offensive traits (hitting, speed) with the hitting projections coming from Bill James projections which are the only ones out at this point.

Results after the jump....

One million actual games were simulated with Pujols hitting first all the way down to ninth.  Here is how many games won using each lineup.

Pujols bats...
First: 479107 (rank #6)
Second: 479336 (rank #5)
Third: 487089 (rank #1)
Fourth: 485170 (rank #2)
Fifth: 480376 (rank #3)
Sixth: 479418 (rank #4)
Seventh: 478351 (rank #7)
Eighth: 476682 (rank #9)
Ninth: 477180 (rank #8)

It doesn't come as a big surprise that batting Pujols 3rd nets the most wins.  4th, 5th and 6th fall in order and then we skip back up to the #2 hole and then the leadoff spot.  Then a drop back down to the #7 spot and an interesting skip down to the #9 spot before the #8 spot brings up the rear.  The difference in wins per 162 games of batting Pujols in the most efficient spot (3rd) and the least efficient spot (8th) is approximately 1.6 wins.

In conclusion I am not sure if this really proves anything, but it does back up the popular notion that you should bat your best hitter third.  What constitutes best hitter?  I would go with wOBA but I suppose that needs to be looked at closer.  Next up, I will look at a team with 2 Albert Pujols' and see where the two sluggers should bat with 7 Michael Bourn teamates.

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