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  1. I don’t have The Book in front of me, but don’t differences like these not matter *that* much? I understand the point and realize that having Bloomquist bat first is not optimal, but I doubt that something like this will “cost the D-Backs dearly.”

    Comment by max — April 13, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

  2. Interesting article, and very reminiscent of how the Angels in the mid- to late-1980s used their slow-footed DH (and former catcher) Brian Downing as the leadoff hitter. In his best years, Downing posted OBA > .380 on the strength of 80-100 walks and a dozen+ HBPs.

    Comment by Tung Yin — April 13, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

  3. Correct. Especially if he plays only until Drew returns. My guess is that re-arranging the lineup might add another 5 runs per 162 game, or around .03 rpg. You will never “see” that kind of difference. It is not like the D-Backs offense will sputter with him batting leadoff and flourish with someone else.

    That being said, unless Gibson has some other good reason to bat him leadoff, other than the fact that he is still fast, he should probably not do so.

    I’ll play around with my sim and see how many extra runs can be squeezed out using a different lineup.

    Comment by MGL — April 13, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

  4. Why all the hate? Bloomquist is a gamer and plays with more heart than anyone. ANYONE Every coach will tell you that a guy that leads the team in perseverance and guts is more valuable than a few percentage points. Baseball is far more than batting average and you seem to have a very shallow understanding of strategy. Take a look at the suicide squeeze bunt for a base hit that Bloomquist put down in the playoff last season and you may begin to understand a little more about his value.

    Comment by J Hall — April 13, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

  5. This was awesome. Thanks, J Hall, for making my day a little brighter.

    Comment by Diesel — April 13, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

  6. Yeah, “dearly” was a poor word choice, I should have gone with something less strong. Having said that, Bloomquist did get plenty of starts last season in the OF when Drew was in the lineup, and he hit leadoff then too. Kubel may be a more formidable roadblock to that happening again this year than Parra was last year, but between playing matchups in the OF and being cautious with Drew, Bloomquist may start 2-3 days a week even after Drew returns.

    Comment by Paul Swydan — April 13, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

  7. A very similar article was written last year when drew went down, yet the dbacks outplayed the giants by 10 games down the stretch. I think this article is overkill. Goldschmidt as a leadoff hitter is a waste of his power, imo. I’d choose CY over anyone but willie.

    Comment by Jason — April 13, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

  8. The suicide bunt is generally a bad idea j hall. just look at the name. Sure it worked that time but so often doesn’t.

    Comment by weezard — April 13, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

  9. I ran some sims versus a RHP.

    With Willie batting lead off and Goldy batting 6th, they score 4.716 rpg in 100,000 sims.

    If I switch them, it is 4.726 rpg, or 1.6 extra runs over 162 games. That is probably not even outside of a 2 SD margin of error for 100,000 games.

    I also ran Overbay in place of Goldy versus a RHP.

    With Willie leading off and Overbay in the 6 hole, they score 4.749 rpg, a 5.4 run improvement over Goldy per 162 games. So I assume they should be platooned, which is I think what Gibson is doing.

    If I switch Willie and Overbay in the lineup, I get 4.791, which is a 6.8 run improvement over having Willie lead off and Overbay bat 6.

    I’ll re-run the Willie, Goldie lineups again to get a larger sample size…

    Willie lead off and Goldy 6th: 4.713 rpg in another 200,000 games. Combine that with the original 4.716 in 100,000 games, and we have 4.714 in 300,000 games.

    Switch them and we get 4.723 in another 200,000. That is 4.724 in 300,000 games.

    The difference is still 1.6 runs per 162 games.

    So it doesn’t make much difference.

    Maybe Upton batting lead off might work, with his speed.

    BTW, the another change we can get by re-arranging Gibson’s lineup is to switch Hill and Blum. I don’t know if he does this all the time, but he had Blum batting 7th and Hill 8th. According to my projections, Hill is way the better batter. Blum is terrible – replacement level.

    If I switch those two batters and leave Goldy 1 and Willie 6th, the rpg is 4.737, whic is 2.2 runs per 162 better.

    Anyway, back to Upton batting first. If we put him first, Goldy 3rd, and Willie 6th (and leave Blum and Hill as in the original lineup), we get 4.698. OK, scrap that idea!

    Comment by MGL — April 13, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

  10. Goldschmidt is a waste of power but Chris Young isn’t? I’m not sure how you define power, but if it’s number of home runs, CY is going to have more.

    Comment by Johnny Come Lately — April 13, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

  11. The title of this article should probably read “Willie Bloomquist, Leadoff Player”

    Comment by Jack — April 13, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

  12. A team’s performance relative to another team is not justification for bad lineup decisions.

    Comment by mhad — April 14, 2012 @ 9:36 am

  13. With a .221 team ave, and Parra sitting on the bench you got to question why

    Comment by FredMertz65 — April 14, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

  14. I was about to praise you for a masterful parody until I realized you were serious.

    Comment by joser — April 14, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

  15. Any headline about Willie Bloomquist that doesn’t include “Gritty” isn’t worth writing.

    Comment by joser — April 14, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

  16. “We find that there is unanimous agreement that Justin Upton and Paul Goldschmidt are two of the team’s three best hitters, with Jason Kubel and Miguel Montero jockeying for third-best.”

    interesting there is no mention of chris young, who is at least the 2nd best hitter on the team.

    Comment by mcrubrub — April 14, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

  17. I’m not so sure about that. I think that by the end of the season, CY will have about 20, and Goldschmidt will be very, very close to that, if not past that

    Comment by imstillhungry95 — April 14, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  18. Well, that might be because the stats don’t back up your assertion that Young is the 2nd best hitter on the team. Maybe right this second, but over his career, hardly

    Comment by imstillhungry95 — April 14, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

  19. IMO, you want someone who plays smart. Someone who GETS ON BASE! Willie is one of the smartest, grittiest players in baseball, and having him leadoff is another reason why this team is winning! Gibby knows something about his players that no “book” could ever tell him. I say leave Willie as the leadoff, but I’d you are going to put someone else there to give Willie a break, make it CY or Kubel. Gotta get that runner on base.

    Comment by Kem — April 14, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  20. I don’t know what is funnier, the scare quotes around the word “book” or that you said he’s one of the “grittiest” players in baseball. Just how did you wind up here?

    Comment by Chiding Gently — April 14, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

  21. In sorry, I didn’t know I had to har a personal invite to read an article and have an opinion.

    Comment by Kem — April 14, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

  22. Yes I forgot that baseball games were won on grit and heart. Talent and being good at something has no bearing whatsoever.

    Comment by jerbear1985 — April 15, 2012 @ 1:40 am

  23. The issue is you want your best offensive players to have more at-bats than worse ones. If Goldschmidt or Upton or whoever are your best players, put them in a spot where they’ll get the most at-bats. Bloomquist is a poor on-base guy and a poor hitter overall, so he should never see more at-bats than his much better teammates.

    Comment by jerbear1985 — April 15, 2012 @ 1:45 am

  24. He can’t be.

    Comment by philkid3 — April 15, 2012 @ 3:18 am

  25. KEM, the point of the article is that Willie does not GET ON BASE particularly well. His OBPs the last 4 years are .308, .299, .317, and .321. His career OBP is .317. That makes him somewhere between below average and average at getting on base. He may be brilliant and gritty and a fantastic teammate, but that does not translate into GETTING ON BASE at a desirable rate for a leadoff hitter.

    Comment by Preston — April 15, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

  26. what would you call that area between below average and average?

    Comment by Rob — April 15, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  27. Last year on Stephen Drews stats page I posted a message saying that I wanted Fangraphs to make an article about Stephen Drew and how much of a better hitter he was in his career when batting leadoff. As a leadoff hitter Stephen Drew is one of the best hitting Shortstops in the league. But when he hits anywhere else he’s just an average player.

    in 2008 Drew was moved to leadoff permanently after all-star break. had total of 335 AB’s batting 1st. .313 AVG .361 OBP .528 SLG .889 OPS

    2009 183 AB’s batting 1st. .301 AVG .352 OBP .541 SLG .893 OPS
    2010 184 AB’s batting 1st. .310 AVG .374 OBP .538 SLG .912 OPS

    Most of these at bats batting leadoff were in the 2nd halfs of seasons. It’s too bad that the coach can’t decide to put him there to start the season and let him have a great full season! Looking at all his seasons so far, his best one was 2008, which just happens to be the year he had the most AT BATS LEADOFF!! That year after moved to leadoff around all star break, he had an amazing second half. I hope when he comes back from this injury he is immediately put into the leadoff spot and kept there. Im not even a Diamondbacks fan! but this has been bothering me since 2009!

    Comment by Tim Wing — April 15, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

  28. Below Average

    Comment by AA — April 16, 2012 @ 3:39 am

  29. I’ve seen rearanged lineups (in lineup simulators) vary by as much as 50 runs over 162 games. Thats serious.

    Batting your worst hitter leadoff will have a lot more of an impact than 5 runs.

    Forgetting even the lineup construction issues, just swapping 100 or so ABs of bloomquist for Goldschmidt/upton is worth a lot more than 5 runs.

    Comment by RC — April 16, 2012 @ 10:00 am

  30. Everyone’s welcome here, and I don’t think he’s implying that you shouldn’t be here. He’s just wondering how you got to this site, thee advanced statistic baseball site on the internet, when you think grit is a major reason to bat someone leadoff.
    Also you claim it’s important to get on base, yet you ignore the fact that bloomquist has THE WORST ON BASE PERCENTAGE as anyone who’s had at least 300 at bats with the Diamondbacks in the last 3 years.

    Comment by kingoriole — April 16, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

  31. I’d probably just bat Upton first. Almost anyone is defensible as the leadoff man in that lineup other than Bloomquist, really.

    Comment by Brian — April 17, 2012 @ 10:47 am

  32. Well that was just lazy! I’m glad anyone else would be good enough for you, that’s nice.

    Comment by SKob — April 17, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

  33. I like the post about Drew. Assuming we are only talking about the lineup until he gets back anyway, I will defend Bloomquist in this way – he’s fast! Yeah, yeah, I know the author talked about that already, but let’s be honest here, when does the best player bat leadoff if he’s not fast or has lots of power? And if Goldshmidt is so special, why does he bat sixth? Oh right, becasue Gibson’s not that smart, I remember.

    Even though there are planty of big bats in this lineup, this is still the NL and it’s still a small ball mentality. If the leadoff guy gets on, you want him distracting pitchers with movement and you want him to have the chance to get to second without another hit. Just 1 more hit from the 2-4 guys gets a run on the board. That’s why fast guys bat first – if they get on, 1 hit can score a run. That might not be a big deal to stat geeks, but a manager should give a shit! Everybody is worried about getting to 7 or 8 runs, but 1 or 2 is good enough sometimes. It’s 1 or 2 that win you games. You think Goldschmidt taking an extra walk every forth game gets you somewhere special? I’m not buying that!

    I know what this site is about, but analyzing substitute leadoff hitters is a bit odd and everybody posting about how the stats should be driving the decision on where to hit who in the lineup is really nerdy! I like stats as much as the next geek, but speed leading off wasn’t my idea and using stats to defy that mentality seems like a waste of time.

    Comment by SKob — April 17, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

  34. I see the argument from both sides, however, the one unaccounted for and hard to accurately materialize stat is clutch performance. I think clutch is more qualitative than quantitative, that being said, Hill and Bloomquist are the top two on this club. This is why I would advicate for Willie and Hill being 1-2.

    Comment by willie bloomquist — November 20, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

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