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  1. Over the course of a full season, the optimal batting order provides only a few more runs than a random one. I imagine that a difference of, what, 3-4 spots for a single player is the definition of negligible. And if I had to guess, I’d bet that if any lineup decision is costing the Rangers runs, it’s batting Andrus 2nd or Mitch Moreland at all.

    Comment by Nick V — October 27, 2011 @ 11:19 am

  2. Don’t you get it yet? When Mike Napoli and Jeff Francoeur were born, God took all of Nap’s “It Factor” and gave it to Frenchy, (probably because he was so cool and kept everyone loose up in heaven). Forever will Napoli give managers that feeling of “meh…I can’t really explain it, but despite your obvious elite power and solid plate discipline, I just have this urge to bench you in favor of a .250 wOBA hitter. Sorry bro.”

    Comment by Telo — October 27, 2011 @ 11:20 am

  3. Man,

    Why not switch Napoli and Young ? It’s crazy.

    Both of these teams deserve to lose given their managerial idiocies. Call a draw.

    Comment by Scout Finch — October 27, 2011 @ 11:20 am

  4. But he’s a catcher. Rules say you’re not allowed to bat a catcher higher than 7th. And your #1 and #2 hitters need to play center, 2B, or SS. Rules is rules.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — October 27, 2011 @ 11:33 am

  5. guess I didn’t get the memo.

    Comment by Joe Mauer — October 27, 2011 @ 11:35 am

  6. You’re supposed to be 2nd anyway.

    Comment by Bryz — October 27, 2011 @ 11:38 am

  7. What about when Joe Torre batted A-Rod 8th for a game?

    Comment by AndyS — October 27, 2011 @ 11:39 am

  8. Sorry bro, not funny.

    Comment by Harry — October 27, 2011 @ 11:39 am

  9. You got another explanation? That doesn’t involve cocaine?

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — October 27, 2011 @ 11:42 am

  10. It’s an improvement over insulting the authors.

    Comment by Notrotographs — October 27, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

  11. Why not switch Napoli and Young? Young out-hit Napoli by .018 points this season, and has out-hit him by .040 points in his career.

    Comment by Ron Washington — October 27, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

  12. Ever heard of Pudge? In Texas we have.

    Comment by Jacob — October 27, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

  13. Re: Batting Napoli 8th.

    It worked.

    Comment by Sean — October 27, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

  14. Couldn’t disagree more. I mean, I see where you are coming from with a “big league hitters are good overall” type standpoint, but over the course of the season the guys hitting in the top of the order will get significantly more ABs than the guys at the bottom, so it does make a huge difference what the order is.

    Anyway, at this point if it were me I would (for tonight):

    Then again, I coach 12 year olds haha.

    Comment by Josh — October 27, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  15. But in the course of the World Series only 1 extra run could be really important. And he gets more at bats if he’s higher in the order.

    Comment by JC — October 27, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

  16. Nah, I don’t think insulting one of us is much improvement over insulting the author. Oh wait, you meant Telo was an improvement over Harry? Sorry. Never mind.

    Comment by Richie — October 27, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

  17. Making such a move long before would’ve been a good idea. At this point? Bumming out one of your performers in the middle of the playoffs just to change a batting order? Great idea if you’re playing with baseball cards.

    Comment by Richie — October 27, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

  18. The hindsight-aided “it worked” defense should be pretty old on this site by now.

    Comment by Matthias — October 27, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

  19. That is covered on page one of the Dusty Baker manual of lineup construction.

    Comment by Dizzy Valance — October 27, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

  20. Exactly, Richie!

    Comment by Bill — October 27, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

  21. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    Comment by Zach — October 27, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

  22. Exactly what? The goal is to win. If a player can’t take being pushed down in the batting order to give a better batter a better chance of helping your team win then he needs to go play beer league softball. This is the bigs and there’s no crying in baseball.

    Comment by Zach — October 27, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

  23. Sure, it’s a small difference. It’s also a difference that a team can get entirely for free. If Napoli gets one more at-bat in Game 6 or 7 because of being a few spots higher in the order, that could be a huge difference maker. It could also come to nothing, but the best percentage play would involve putting the team’s most productive hitter somewhere in the top half of the order.

    Comment by Ian R. — October 27, 2011 @ 6:29 pm


    you sure have…

    Comment by jim — October 27, 2011 @ 6:59 pm

  25. If this was a baseball card replay, of course you hit Napoli 3rd or 4th. But it isn’t a replay. And some hitters, for whatever reason, do NOT thrive in the 3rd or 4th slot in the lineup.

    Michael Morse hit .326 – .382 – .660 in the 5 spot in 141 at bats, but those numbers dropped to .298 – .366 – .532 in the 4 spot in 325 at bats. Why did his OPS drop 144 points? I don’t know, but it did. Jason Bay had a .576 OPS batting 4th but an .860 OPS batting 6th (over 100 plate apps in both scenarios). Why the huge discrepancy? I’m fairly sure nobody knows. But it happened.

    Mike Napoli had his best numbers while batting in the 8th spot during the regular season. I don’t know why, but he did. Maybe that is why RW is keeping him there for the playoffs. A bird in the hand and all that.

    Comment by Matt — October 27, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

  26. Yeah but A-Rod wasn’t the Yankees’ best hitter that year. Derek Jeter was the Yankees’ best hitter in 2006.

    Comment by Spunky — October 27, 2011 @ 11:37 pm

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