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2011 wOBA: By Batting Order

Posted By Bradley Woodrum On June 1, 2011 @ 4:00 pm In Angels,Astros,Athletics,Blue Jays,Braves,Brewers,Cardinals,Cubs,Daily Graphings,Diamondbacks,Dodgers,Giants,Indians,Mariners,Marlins,Mets,Nationals,Orioles,Padres,Phillies,Pirates,Rangers,Rays,Red Sox,Reds,Rockies,Royals,Tigers,Twins,White Sox,Yankees | 48 Comments

The following data is current through 5-30-2011.

If you, dear reader, are like me, then you agonize unnecessarily over every lineup on every team in every game. Aaron Rowand leading off?! Yargh! No! Carlos Gomez batting second for the Brewers?! WRONG. Aaron Miles batting anything?! Unforgivable.

Holding egos constant, inefficiency is the greatest enemy of success. With regards to lineups, however, teams can really only lose a handful of runs over the course of full season, but a handful of runs, in real terms, can mean the difference between the division or a boring October. So it’s a dicey proposition. A mismanaged lineup on the Royals team does not mean a whole lot because they will lose the division by several trillion runs. A few lost runs for the Rays, Yankees, or Red Sox, though, can mean the season.

The Book by Tango, MGL, and Dolphin pretty effectively uncovers the ultimate lineup. Sky Kalkman on Beyond the Boxscore did a dandy job of Cliffnoting the chapter here, but honestly, if you have not read The Book, then what are you doing here, reading my stuff?! Go purchase said tome and grow in wisdom!

Anyway, The Book, using Markov Chains and Rasputin Ropes and all other manners of mystical devices, determined the following, summarized by Kalkman:

…Here’s how the lineup spots rank in the importance of avoiding outs:

#1, #4, #2, #5, #3, #6, #7, #8, #9

So, you want your best three hitters to hit in the #1, #4, and #2 spots. Distribute them so OBP is higher in the order and SLG is lower. Then place your fourth and fifth best hitters, with the #5 spot usually seeing the better hitter, unless he’s a high-homerun guy. Then place your four remaining hitters in decreasing order of overall hitting ability, with basestealers ahead of singles hitters. Finally, stop talking like the lineup is a make-or-break decision.

Conventional, ol’ timey wisdom dictates you slot weaker hitters into the #1 and #2 slots, and we can definitely see that manifest thus far in 2011:

Average wOBA per Slot

It is important to remember these numbers tell the season’s story; they do not prophesy its end. If we wanted to anticipate future performances, we would probably find the player’s career averages more informative. On the aggregate level like this, though, we can see a glimmer of the team’s priorities, as well as a number of notable early hot streaks.

Let’s delve into the specifics now.

The NL:

I am actually a rather big fan of batting the pitcher 8th and do so whenever I get the chance (which would be, through yesterday, never). However, when we consider how the #7, #8, and #9 slots have decreasing importance, it is somewhat impressive to see NL managers rather effectively utilizing this descent. Some managers seem compelled to bat the catcher 9th no matter who he his, but maybe we are seeing an end to that frustrating and backward era?

Also of note: The Washington Nationals basically have had turkey sandwiches batting 1st and 2nd. The combo of Rick Ankiel, Ian Desmond, and Roger Bernandina have combined for an epically bad start to every Nationals game.

We also can see how Kosuke Fukudome and Starlin Castro have combined the league’s best leadoff slot, but a large portion of that success is due to Fukudome’s hot, high-BABIP start. And down in Frisco, the Giants pitchers have flexed some uncommon muscle. [Nevermind. I was looking at the Angels, who snuck into both charts.] Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner have combined for an impressive 5 doubles.

The AL:

Perhaps due to random fluctuations and uncommon cold stretches, AL hitters in the 7th slot are hitting worse (.294) than the average AL 9th slot (.300). The Twins, Mariners, and Orioles have certainly added to this unusual disparity, but the combo of Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland have certainly added a lot of oomph to the #7 group, so we definitely cannot blame Texas.

The Twins seem to be putting anti-optimization to the test. Their combo of #2 hitters has compiled an impressively terrible sub-.250 wOBA while their #6 hitters have nearly averaged .350 wOBA. It’s not that I think Jim Thome should be leading off, it’s just that I think there’s a better way to arrange this.

Meanwhile, it would be funny if it was not tragic: The Orioles best hitting has come from the 9th slot.

For you extra nerdy fans, I’ve also included the meat of my dataset, plus steals and such:


Arizona
Diamondbacks
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 257 9 13 6 .285 .344
2nd 247 7 12 2 .266 .301
3rd 238 10 9 4 .299 .370
4th 231 5 3 3 .336 .343
5th 228 9 4 1 .261 .316
6th 224 6 1 2 .299 .333
7th 219 5 4 0 .304 .353
8th 217 8 3 1 .327 .337
9th 212 3 0 0 .246 .205
Atlanta Braves
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 258 6 1 6 .289 .334
2nd 246 6 2 3 .279 .301
3rd 245 4 0 1 .277 .301
4th 239 7 1 0 .358 .367
5th 233 7 1 3 .205 .260
6th 228 9 1 1 .299 .348
7th 223 6 3 0 .258 .270
8th 217 6 0 0 .318 .354
9th 212 3 1 1 .231 .188
Baltimore Orioles
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 244 3 7 2 .261 .277
2nd 239 5 4 0 .257 .290
3rd 237 4 2 0 .293 .280
4th 230 5 0 0 .317 .329
5th 223 5 0 1 .272 .290
6th 218 6 5 1 .314 .339
7th 212 5 0 0 .238 .271
8th 202 9 3 0 .252 .343
9th 199 5 1 0 .352 .351
Boston Red Sox
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 254 5 17 6 .328 .354
2nd 254 4 14 2 .276 .310
3rd 247 9 0 0 .348 .377
4th 238 11 1 0 .306 .401
5th 234 7 2 1 .322 .406
6th 229 7 0 1 .286 .329
7th 225 6 2 2 .274 .298
8th 216 4 4 0 .291 .292
9th 210 6 2 2 .261 .312
Chicago Cubs
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 241 3 5 1 .402 .410
2nd 236 1 3 1 .319 .318
3rd 232 1 2 1 .332 .330
4th 226 3 0 1 .305 .326
5th 219 5 0 2 .338 .359
6th 215 11 0 0 .355 .403
7th 207 8 5 0 .302 .324
8th 201 4 0 2 .286 .300
9th 196 2 0 0 .242 .195
Chicago White Sox
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 261 0 9 8 .298 .305
2nd 256 5 2 2 .301 .330
3rd 251 10 2 4 .268 .341
4th 246 11 1 1 .302 .363
5th 242 7 0 0 .228 .289
6th 233 4 4 0 .241 .285
7th 222 6 3 3 .250 .284
8th 216 8 0 3 .289 .342
9th 209 3 4 4 .297 .295
Cincinnati Reds
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 269 8 17 2 .331 .327
2nd 262 6 7 0 .243 .300
3rd 251 6 4 3 .369 .421
4th 247 6 1 2 .277 .334
5th 242 15 4 1 .281 .369
6th 239 5 4 1 .331 .335
7th 231 6 1 3 .312 .329
8th 225 3 3 1 .270 .292
9th 218 5 1 0 .272 .253
Cleveland Indians
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 239 9 4 2 .310 .345
2nd 234 10 7 0 .306 .371
3rd 222 5 7 3 .321 .318
4th 217 7 1 1 .239 .317
5th 211 8 1 1 .350 .343
6th 209 3 2 2 .259 .262
7th 204 1 3 2 .306 .309
8th 200 6 2 1 .283 .326
9th 194 3 2 0 .301 .304
Colorado Rockies
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 251 0 4 6 .325 .302
2nd 247 2 5 2 .351 .339
3rd 244 9 6 1 .273 .329
4th 233 12 3 1 .219 .352
5th 227 11 2 2 .292 .386
6th 221 7 2 0 .311 .326
7th 214 5 6 1 .305 .344
8th 208 6 1 1 .270 .341
9th 204 2 0 1 .214 .166
Detroit Tigers
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 245 3 7 2 .288 .270
2nd 236 3 2 0 .313 .313
3rd 231 4 0 1 .234 .264
4th 228 11 0 1 .324 .407
5th 225 5 2 1 .294 .323
6th 220 9 4 0 .310 .365
7th 216 2 0 2 .280 .281
8th 207 9 2 0 .296 .332
9th 199 2 2 1 .290 .276
Florida Marlins
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 245 4 6 4 .291 .296
2nd 239 2 5 4 .242 .282
3rd 233 3 8 5 .297 .307
4th 229 7 1 0 .338 .379
5th 223 8 0 1 .320 .356
6th 214 13 1 0 .320 .411
7th 211 4 0 2 .300 .304
8th 204 3 1 1 .297 .291
9th 196 0 2 0 .257 .197
Houston Astros
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 252 1 21 2 .346 .321
2nd 242 2 8 1 .296 .301
3rd 239 7 3 0 .376 .376
4th 233 5 4 0 .260 .308
5th 226 4 2 1 .372 .338
6th 223 2 0 2 .268 .242
7th 217 5 2 0 .308 .321
8th 211 4 1 1 .304 .319
9th 202 3 2 0 .299 .256
Kansas City Royals
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 256 7 13 1 .228 .315
2nd 252 8 6 2 .295 .346
3rd 246 7 4 1 .333 .364
4th 238 5 5 1 .297 .324
5th 233 7 3 0 .290 .343
6th 228 3 4 2 .341 .328
7th 220 5 7 0 .299 .307
8th 214 2 2 1 .248 .315
9th 208 1 7 5 .304 .289
Los Angeles Angels
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 267 3 13 4 .316 .327
2nd 261 8 7 2 .335 .359
3rd 254 3 7 3 .317 .346
4th 249 9 2 2 .260 .319
5th 241 2 2 2 .282 .291
6th 234 6 4 1 .311 .322
7th 229 9 3 1 .296 .317
8th 225 4 1 3 .293 .298
9th 218 3 5 1 .299 .275
Los Angeles Dodgers
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 251 1 9 2 .262 .267
2nd 245 2 4 1 .358 .334
3rd 236 5 2 1 .372 .358
4th 235 12 14 3 .354 .390
5th 231 5 2 0 .274 .282
6th 226 4 1 2 .268 .265
7th 220 6 0 0 .245 .282
8th 216 2 1 1 .329 .289
9th 206 3 0 1 .165 .193
Milwaukee Brewers
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 252 9 6 2 .346 .368
2nd 243 7 9 3 .275 .295
3rd 236 12 13 1 .336 .424
4th 232 11 0 0 .290 .390
5th 229 3 0 1 .274 .298
6th 221 2 2 1 .280 .269
7th 217 5 4 1 .226 .246
8th 210 5 3 0 .340 .345
9th 204 4 2 0 .256 .222
Minnesota Twins
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 239 2 4 1 .326 .353
2nd 232 3 4 0 .213 .244
3rd 228 4 2 0 .304 .303
4th 219 5 0 0 .303 .318
5th 217 4 4 1 .275 .308
6th 213 7 2 1 .297 .346
7th 210 3 2 0 .252 .257
8th 201 1 1 1 .210 .214
9th 193 1 4 1 .268 .269
New York Mets
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 253 1 19 4 .354 .363
2nd 244 3 7 2 .272 .297
3rd 234 9 9 0 .292 .354
4th 228 6 3 1 .320 .348
5th 225 4 2 0 .312 .325
6th 221 6 3 3 .285 .339
7th 216 3 1 2 .364 .354
8th 212 4 4 1 .288 .283
9th 207 1 1 1 .209 .172
New York Yankees
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 250 2 6 2 .289 .298
2nd 241 14 7 3 .273 .377
3rd 237 16 0 1 .257 .395
4th 230 10 3 1 .289 .350
5th 225 9 5 1 .285 .347
6th 219 4 2 3 .241 .278
7th 211 8 1 1 .195 .296
8th 206 10 8 1 .350 .435
9th 199 7 10 3 .260 .326
Oakland Athletics
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 259 2 15 6 .258 .292
2nd 249 3 2 1 .259 .301
3rd 246 2 2 1 .290 .293
4th 238 9 3 0 .304 .334
5th 233 3 3 1 .263 .291
6th 228 4 3 0 .250 .307
7th 226 2 4 1 .256 .271
8th 219 3 1 0 .319 .317
9th 215 3 5 5 .288 .306
Philadelphia
Phillies
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 255 6 12 1 .290 .327
2nd 249 5 7 1 .317 .359
3rd 244 3 6 1 .255 .294
4th 239 13 0 0 .298 .348
5th 234 4 6 3 .257 .289
6th 225 9 2 1 .285 .355
7th 216 3 1 0 .276 .287
8th 208 1 2 0 .277 .251
9th 206 1 2 1 .328 .234
Pittsburgh Pirates
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 237 8 15 5 .296 .361
2nd 228 4 9 2 .320 .323
3rd 223 5 3 2 .256 .306
4th 223 5 2 0 .277 .317
5th 220 4 2 1 .236 .254
6th 214 11 1 2 .329 .393
7th 203 2 1 2 .315 .293
8th 199 2 1 2 .290 .276
9th 192 0 1 1 .215 .140
San Diego Padres
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 249 2 12 7 .295 .288
2nd 245 2 14 1 .301 .296
3rd 239 0 6 1 .260 .253
4th 237 5 1 0 .248 .267
5th 228 9 3 1 .305 .329
6th 219 8 7 0 .364 .373
7th 215 2 6 1 .240 .242
8th 208 2 1 1 .286 .284
9th 201 3 3 2 .217 .193
San Francisco Giants
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 241 2 7 2 .350 .326
2nd 236 2 2 2 .321 .308
3rd 233 4 4 2 .260 .279
4th 227 4 6 1 .270 .282
5th 219 10 2 2 .307 .378
6th 216 7 5 1 .252 .312
7th 210 3 2 4 .248 .267
8th 208 3 4 0 .285 .299
9th 199 2 1 1 .261 .202
Seattle Mariners
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 241 0 13 4 .293 .301
2nd 237 1 8 5 .215 .249
3rd 232 6 5 0 .264 .312
4th 229 3 2 0 .291 .288
5th 223 7 1 2 .306 .341
6th 220 5 3 3 .309 .327
7th 213 3 3 5 .296 .266
8th 206 1 4 1 .223 .232
9th 197 2 3 1 .319 .309
St. Louis Cardinals
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 262 0 7 1 .319 .305
2nd 255 5 4 2 .406 .397
3rd 249 9 4 0 .268 .351
4th 246 7 1 3 .387 .398
5th 240 12 3 1 .331 .413
6th 235 7 4 3 .311 .342
7th 234 3 1 2 .358 .368
8th 222 1 4 1 .280 .282
9th 212 1 1 0 .202 .188
Tampa Bay Rays
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 247 4 12 8 .257 .292
2nd 239 5 4 2 .286 .309
3rd 230 6 6 0 .344 .358
4th 226 7 5 1 .241 .302
5th 221 13 4 1 .338 .400
6th 215 5 8 4 .318 .325
7th 208 1 3 0 .264 .281
8th 198 8 1 3 .278 .312
9th 195 3 4 0 .248 .265
Texas Rangers
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 250 7 14 2 .267 .361
2nd 247 2 13 2 .304 .307
3rd 238 3 6 0 .362 .355
4th 233 9 1 2 .270 .364
5th 229 6 1 1 .265 .292
6th 221 13 2 4 .226 .342
7th 215 11 3 1 .295 .377
8th 210 9 1 0 .262 .338
9th 203 4 9 2 .272 .317
Toronto Blue Jays
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 257 5 7 4 .286 .319
2nd 251 6 8 4 .335 .333
3rd 245 20 5 2 .315 .487
4th 242 7 6 1 .294 .315
5th 233 4 6 1 .314 .337
6th 231 6 3 0 .199 .252
7th 220 3 5 3 .289 .308
8th 213 3 6 2 .325 .329
9th 211 5 5 4 .280 .309
Washington Nationals
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 244 4 13 0 .233 .257
2nd 238 2 9 1 .254 .257
3rd 232 7 6 2 .326 .364
4th 225 8 3 0 .248 .321
5th 218 7 2 4 .255 .298
6th 211 10 4 3 .338 .345
7th 207 5 5 3 .309 .337
8th 202 4 1 1 .257 .274
9th 193 0 1 1 .254 .201

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