With the Royals struggling to score, Ned Yost looks to the stats for assistance.
"Innovation in baseball almost never accompanies talent. Innovations in baseball usually arise from those 75- to 85-win teams that are desperately trying to find a way to scratch out two more wins. We all know what wins baseball games is good baseball players. When you have the players, you're going to stick to proven strategies because you're more afraid of screwing it up than you are anxious to gain a small advantage."—Bill James, The Bill James Gold Mine 2008
On Wednesday, Sam Millerwrote about how lineup construction in baseball tends to change very slowly, if at all. Managers mostly fill out their lineup cards according to the same principles that governed their predecessors’ decisions decades ago, with little regard for more recent research that’s revealed some of those decisions to be suboptimal. For example, although Sam found some circumstantial evidence that this might be beginning to change, the no. 2 hitter still tend to be a team’s best bat-control guy, not its best, well, batter.
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Where do you bat a player who's his team's only home run threat?
The heavyweight of the 818 is pissed. So saidGiancarlo Stanton’s Twitter feed after most of his remaining brothers from what was still a pretty bash-less offense were taken away from him in the Marlins-Blue Jays swap.
Lonely in the offense last year despite the presence of Jose Reyes and John Buck plus partial seasons of Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez, Stanton became even lonelier after the trade. His extreme power in a poor lineup and a difficult home run ballpark for normal human beings will give him an outside shot at the highest percentage of a team’s home runs hit by one player in the expansion era.
Few players have made their major-league debuts in the cleanup spot, and the A's Yoenis Cespedes wasn't one of them.
Yoenis Cespedes has often batted third or fourth in the Oakland A’s lineup this spring, which isn’t surprising, because the A’s don’t otherwise have anything like a cleanup hitter. Of the other eight players in their starting lineup for Wednesday morning’s opener against the Mariners, only three players have ever started a game batting fourth: Kurt Suzuki (60 times), Seth Smith (nine), and Brandon Allen (once). If Cespedes doesn’t lead the Oakland A’s in home runs this year, something will have gone very wrong or very right. But it was Smith, not Cespedes, who batted fourth against Felix Hernandez in the opener, and this also isn’t surprising, because players making their major-league debuts in the cleanup spot are all but extinct. Since 1980, just nine players have made their debuts in the cleanup spot, and over the past half-dozen years only one player—29-year-old Barbaro Canizares—has. San Jose Mercury News:
Jim Leyland's habit of tossing out a new lineup every day may be costing the Tigers in the playoffs.
In last night’s ALCS Game Four against the Rangers, Tigers manager Jim Leyland trotted out his eighth different lineup in eight playoff games. I’ve never quite understood why some managers change their lineups so frequently, and while you could give Leyland a pass for the postseason based on the injuries his team has been dealt—Magglio Ordonez and Delmon Young—Leyland was one of the game’s greatest offenders during the regular season too, filling out his lineup card 127 different ways through 162 regular-season games.
Mulling a vote for the senior circuit's skipper of the season, plus noting the AL's deserving winner.
If, in my first year in the BBWAA, I got to vote for the AL Rookie of the Year, one of the advantage of being in a two-team market was that in the next, I got to change teams and be one of the Chicago voters for NL Manager of the Year.
A series that will feature spectacular pitching may come down to the tiniest advantages to decide the winner.
So, let's see, for an initial checklist for maximum LCS entertainment potential, is there anything missing? Record-wise, the two best teams in National League? Check, even if we allow for the fact that the Giants weren't one of the top two teams in Clay Davenport's adjusted standings. The two best rotations in baseball? Check. Heck, it even features two of the three best defensive units in the league (via PADE), with only the already-vanquished Reds separating the Giants and Phillies. And the offenses are... well, OK, this whole clash of the titans thing only goes so far, because they're not both among the best in the league. The Phillies are, tying for third in the league in team-level True Average, but the Giants finished back in ninth place, even with Brian Sabean's ticky-tack trades to accrue incremental improvements.
With Opening Day a little more than a week away, here is a look at the projected rosters for each of the 16 National League clubs following conversations with club executives and media members. Keep in mind these are projected rosters and subject to change. American League lineups are here. You can also look at the fantasy depth charts at any time to see our latest updated projections.
With Opening Day a little more than a week away, here is a look at the projected rosters for each of the 14 American League clubs following conversations with club executives and media members. National League lineups are here. You can also look at the fantasy depth charts at any time to see our latest updated projections.
The NLCS features two evenly-matched clubs, but how the managers line up their rotations could make all the difference.
The Phillies claimed their second NL East title in as many years by embarking on a 13-3 tear to end the season, once again storming past a shell-shocked Mets club. They made short work of the Brewers in the Division Series, and come into the Championship Series with arguably the most potent lineup of any of the four remaining teams along with the top starting pitcher in Cole Hamels.