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Ben and Sam banter about hustle and drug suspensions, then talk about how Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, and Giancarlo Stanton have been pitched this season.

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Has the Yankees' sole healthy slugger suffered because of the players batting behind him?

The more I learn about baseball, the more I think that much of the perceived divide between traditional baseball types and statheads—which is itself overstated—stems from some subset of each side overstating its case. Take clubhouse chemistry, the subject of frequent battles between people on opposite sides of the analytical aisle. A player (or former player) might insist that team chemistry is more important than talent, or that chemistry might be worth 20 wins. And a stathead, frustrated by an inability to measure it and without having experienced it himself, might say (or at least be said to say) that chemistry doesn’t matter.

It seems likely that the truth lies somewhere in the middle: chemistry can help, but probably not so much that it could make a last-place team into a first-place team. If either side said that, the other wouldn’t argue. Instead, extreme and polarizing claims from the pro-chemistry camp prompt equally extreme and polarizing claims from the anti-chemistry camp, and vice versa.

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April 15, 2013 10:15 am

Profiles in Lack of Lineup Protection


Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

Can Giancarlo Stanton succeed without a good cleanup hitting behind him?

A few days before the season started, I wrote about Marlins manager Mike Redmond’s decision to consider batting Placido Polanco in the cleanup slot. Most of the article was about where Polanco would rank among historically terrible cleanup hitters, but it ended with this:

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Ben and Sam discuss how the Marlins' lack of lineup protection has affected Giancarlo Stanton so far.

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