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wOBA By Batting Order: 2011 All-Star Break Update

Posted By Bradley Woodrum On July 13, 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 | 42 Comments

Whence we last examined yonder batting orders, we came away with several expected observations (Jose Bautista plays baseball like a video game, the Oakland Athletics do not care much for scoring runs, Rick Ankiel and Ian Desmond are not feared hitters, and so forth) as well as a number of curious findings (the Cubs lead-off combo was tops in the majors, the 7th hitters on AL teams were worse than the 9th hitters, NL managers effectively managed the bottoms of their lineups, and such).

Well, it is time again to delve back into that hopeless exercise and complain about the mismanagement or poor fortunes of our favorite teams. Before we continue, though, let us review a few things:

1) The optimal batting order: A subject widely debated, but to little gain. The worst batting order may ultimately only cost a team a game or two — but, still, we cannot help but prod, poke, and critique it. Tom Tango’s The Book fairly definitively defines the best batting order as: #1, #4, #2, #5, #3, #6, #7, #8, #9 in terms of importance of avoiding outs.

Read this on the matter: Optimizing Your Lineup By The Book, by Sky Kalkman

2) The optimal measuring tool: In my last article, a few people had trouble understanding my utilization of wOBA (weighted on base average). This too comes from Tango and is a most intuitive and useful tool. Think of it as smart batting average: Where batting average says homers and singles are worth the same, wOBA says, “Nay!” and then counts each non-out according to the runs it produces.

League average wOBA tends to hoover around .320 to .330. A .360 wOBA is good; a .400 wOBA is great; and a .290 wOBA is Yuniesky Betancourt.

Okay, so using wOBA, let’s examine the leagues as a whole again:

Average wOBA Per Slot

In my last post, I applauded NL managers for arranging the bottom of their lineup efficiently. That remains true; however, they still persist in giving sub-par hitters prime plate appearances in the #2 hole. This is a sport-wide affair, too.

The common perception is that the second hitter needs to be a no-power, sac machine like Alexi Casilla, but this belief originated in the Dead Ball Era, whence run scoring was as common as integration.

Overall, though, we are seeing the right-skewed bell curve common in traditional baseball theory, with the best hitters clustered in the 3, 4, and 5 spots and “little things” hitters in the 1 and 2 slots.

Now for the NL:

The first statistic I noticed the NL was the drastic and expected regression of the Cubs lead-off hitters. Kosuke Fukudome has continued to receive the largest share of PAs and has pulled his typical hot start trick. His wOBA by month tells the story.

Another observation worth observing is Aubrey Huff and his quite down year (.284 wOBA). It is reminiscent of his forgettable 2009 campaign — and could be an unfavorable portent for the 34-year-old slugger.

Meanwhile in San Diego, nine pitchers have elected to bat in lieu of position players.

[NOTE: The following passage and the later one concerning Alexei Ramirez are both off target and testaments to my need for corrective eye bespectaclement. It is the Marlins and Yankees that lead their respective sections, not the Phillies and White Sox.]

Here’s an example of how trying to produce the best ever batting order is like trying to catch fire in a bottle: Raul Ibanez is having a down year, and Carlos Ruiz is Carlos Ruiz, a catcher. Despite these two obstacles, the Phillies have mustered the most productive 6th spot in the NL. Go figure.

Enough of hitting pitchers! Let’s get freaky with tradition and go AL up in this beast:

Developing Story: Russell Martin needs a parachute:

He and Brett Gardner once combined for the second best wOBA in the MLB, but now that Russell Martin is playing like his 2009-2010 self, the Yankees’ #8 slot is no longer even second best in the AL. (Perhaps: Props to Girardi for not leaving him at #6 and #7 too long?)

Jose Bautista has actually gotten a little “cold” over the last month and a half, hitting a “mere” .400 wOBA in that span. By contrast, I am 0 for 8 with 8 Ks and 6 BBs in my semi-pro league. Could I be the next Bautista? Probably.

Eleven blocks south of my house, Alexei Ramirez his giving the White Sox the best #2 production of the league, causing droves of saberists to swoon. Ramirez’ impressive showing in a prime slot almost undoes the damage propagated day-to-day by lead-off hitter Juan Pierre (.289 wOBA, 13 SB, 10 CS). Almost.

Since my previous examination of these splits, the Boston Red Sox have produced perhaps the most gaudy of statistics. Since June 1st, the top of their lineup has hit:

#1: .397
#2: .443
#3: .440
#4: .426
#5: .404

Be still, my Tangoish heart.

***

As before, here are some of the details from my data set:

Updated Through 7/12/11 (the 2011 All-Star Break)





Arizona
Diamondbacks
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 430 17 17 9 .276 .343
2nd 417 12 12 5 .238 .281
3rd 406 15 13 6 .338 .386
4th 395 9 7 4 .333 .354
5th 385 13 7 2 .275 .309
6th 378 11 4 2 .257 .299
7th 370 10 4 0 .298 .338
8th 363 9 5 1 .325 .322
9th 355 6 0 1 .282 .245
Atlanta Braves
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 423 8 12 9 .284 .310
2nd 410 11 2 4 .278 .308
3rd 406 12 3 2 .279 .320
4th 397 17 2 1 .344 .376
5th 386 13 1 5 .243 .295
6th 375 15 3 1 .277 .319
7th 367 9 4 0 .247 .278
8th 354 7 1 2 .291 .316
9th 348 5 1 2 .230 .196
Baltimore Orioles
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 413 12 7 2 .270 .306
2nd 404 9 8 1 .320 .339
3rd 393 10 3 1 .280 .291
4th 382 8 0 0 .288 .303
5th 373 11 3 2 .258 .292
6th 366 14 6 1 .324 .355
7th 355 15 0 3 .262 .320
8th 344 12 6 1 .245 .320
9th 338 6 2 1 .359 .334
Boston Red Sox
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 430 11 26 10 .334 .372
2nd 427 9 18 3 .307 .364
3rd 418 16 0 0 .387 .403
4th 406 18 1 0 .319 .411
5th 396 17 3 2 .310 .405
6th 382 9 1 1 .284 .316
7th 374 11 3 2 .302 .328
8th 362 5 4 1 .271 .269
9th 354 11 2 2 .275 .327
Chicago Cubs
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 425 5 9 2 .358 .368
2nd 416 3 8 2 .342 .335
3rd 411 7 3 1 .294 .313
4th 400 14 0 1 .294 .347
5th 388 16 1 2 .302 .349
6th 377 14 2 0 .337 .375
7th 364 10 8 2 .289 .287
8th 354 7 0 2 .322 .319
9th 346 3 1 0 .210 .168
Chicago White Sox
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 430 1 16 10 .291 .298
2nd 421 6 3 2 .302 .317
3rd 412 15 3 4 .256 .339
4th 403 23 1 1 .301 .381
5th 395 8 0 0 .255 .279
6th 382 9 4 1 .229 .283
7th 366 10 5 4 .277 .308
8th 356 13 0 4 .310 .354
9th 346 4 5 6 .268 .273
Cincinnati Reds
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 449 15 22 5 .337 .324
2nd 437 9 7 3 .272 .305
3rd 419 13 6 4 .374 .411
4th 410 8 4 6 .269 .310
5th 400 24 4 3 .271 .365
6th 394 10 4 2 .309 .338
7th 384 11 2 5 .299 .328
8th 373 5 4 2 .302 .321
9th 362 5 2 1 .276 .236
Cleveland Indians
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 414 11 8 3 .307 .320
2nd 407 12 11 0 .323 .351
3rd 390 9 11 4 .306 .317
4th 380 13 2 1 .250 .329
5th 370 10 5 3 .327 .335
6th 364 7 3 3 .270 .275
7th 354 5 5 2 .301 .306
8th 346 8 2 1 .261 .292
9th 336 5 3 1 .299 .297
Colorado Rockies
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 426 6 11 8 .341 .321
2nd 418 6 8 4 .322 .325
3rd 413 13 7 3 .323 .349
4th 400 18 7 3 .249 .350
5th 388 17 2 2 .290 .369
6th 377 14 4 0 .281 .320
7th 361 7 11 2 .297 .335
8th 353 8 2 2 .251 .297
9th 345 3 2 1 .218 .186
Detroit Tigers
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 431 5 14 4 .320 .303
2nd 419 8 2 0 .295 .311
3rd 411 13 0 2 .306 .339
4th 396 19 1 1 .319 .404
5th 386 6 3 1 .314 .330
6th 377 16 8 1 .326 .372
7th 371 7 1 3 .307 .313
8th 357 12 3 0 .288 .311
9th 348 4 2 1 .281 .257
Florida Marlins
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 427 5 20 7 .302 .318
2nd 416 2 6 4 .246 .270
3rd 402 7 9 5 .285 .304
4th 395 15 4 1 .339 .388
5th 385 14 1 1 .286 .330
6th 372 17 5 1 .342 .381
7th 367 8 1 3 .261 .286
8th 355 7 1 1 .280 .298
9th 344 0 3 0 .259 .191
Houston Astros
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 429 1 35 5 .351 .321
2nd 414 4 12 1 .287 .303
3rd 408 11 5 1 .388 .386
4th 396 8 5 2 .280 .329
5th 384 5 2 1 .323 .303
6th 379 5 0 3 .308 .286
7th 367 7 5 0 .335 .333
8th 359 5 1 1 .263 .275
9th 345 4 5 1 .270 .227
Kansas City Royals
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 435 9 18 4 .272 .317
2nd 427 12 12 3 .309 .345
3rd 416 9 6 1 .348 .359
4th 404 6 9 3 .300 .318
5th 393 15 7 3 .297 .360
6th 384 5 8 3 .325 .313
7th 372 5 8 2 .261 .267
8th 360 3 8 4 .290 .320
9th 353 2 16 6 .306 .295
Los Angeles Angels
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 431 6 17 6 .311 .319
2nd 418 12 12 4 .302 .331
3rd 405 3 11 5 .341 .344
4th 398 19 4 3 .269 .340
5th 387 2 5 2 .280 .284
6th 376 8 9 1 .299 .312
7th 369 15 5 2 .305 .339
8th 359 7 5 3 .305 .301
9th 347 4 7 2 .284 .257
Los Angeles Dodgers
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 422 1 19 5 .309 .300
2nd 412 5 6 2 .333 .324
3rd 400 9 2 1 .352 .353
4th 395 22 27 3 .343 .403
5th 389 6 4 0 .298 .295
6th 377 4 6 2 .277 .261
7th 369 9 1 0 .237 .280
8th 359 3 1 1 .274 .262
9th 345 4 5 3 .233 .229
Milwaukee Brewers
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 427 17 7 2 .318 .366
2nd 414 12 12 7 .309 .320
3rd 402 17 20 5 .345 .415
4th 393 22 0 0 .297 .407
5th 387 3 2 1 .250 .255
6th 375 6 3 1 .275 .286
7th 366 9 7 2 .261 .281
8th 356 11 4 1 .300 .322
9th 344 6 4 0 .244 .220
Minnesota Twins
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 406 2 12 6 .321 .336
2nd 396 5 12 1 .247 .274
3rd 388 10 5 0 .300 .324
4th 375 9 2 1 .302 .330
5th 366 9 4 2 .293 .321
6th 362 11 3 4 .310 .333
7th 355 5 5 3 .278 .274
8th 342 1 3 1 .231 .219
9th 328 2 4 3 .292 .289
New York Mets
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 438 4 34 7 .356 .377
2nd 425 4 13 2 .268 .290
3rd 409 14 12 0 .311 .369
4th 398 7 7 3 .310 .326
5th 391 7 10 1 .309 .334
6th 383 10 6 3 .326 .353
7th 375 4 1 5 .346 .350
8th 367 4 5 2 .287 .290
9th 357 4 1 1 .221 .184
New York Yankees
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 418 4 17 4 .299 .325
2nd 405 23 16 8 .284 .377
3rd 396 25 2 1 .235 .377
4th 388 14 5 1 .328 .366
5th 379 16 6 1 .298 .366
6th 372 9 3 4 .240 .297
7th 360 12 6 4 .258 .330
8th 349 12 13 5 .325 .389
9th 335 8 13 4 .249 .271
Oakland Athletics
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 420 2 25 9 .270 .280
2nd 405 6 4 3 .273 .298
3rd 398 5 8 4 .279 .313
4th 390 11 6 0 .278 .296
5th 379 4 4 2 .273 .292
6th 373 6 5 1 .255 .291
7th 364 6 4 3 .222 .260
8th 350 6 1 0 .290 .307
9th 345 4 7 7 .288 .293
Philadelphia
Phillies
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 430 11 20 2 .279 .332
2nd 419 7 12 1 .310 .350
3rd 412 6 12 1 .276 .313
4th 403 19 1 0 .299 .347
5th 394 9 7 4 .240 .306
6th 380 11 3 1 .274 .332
7th 368 8 2 1 .278 .299
8th 356 5 2 0 .273 .280
9th 348 2 2 1 .290 .218
Pittsburgh Pirates
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 413 9 21 9 .338 .362
2nd 399 4 17 3 .302 .295
3rd 389 8 8 6 .327 .363
4th 385 11 4 1 .257 .321
5th 379 5 4 2 .264 .276
6th 369 13 3 2 .324 .356
7th 353 5 2 2 .295 .287
8th 344 3 2 3 .291 .268
9th 333 1 3 1 .277 .191
San Diego Padres
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 422 6 17 11 .298 .305
2nd 415 2 25 5 .279 .279
3rd 404 1 9 2 .326 .293
4th 394 8 2 0 .272 .280
5th 385 10 4 1 .276 .297
6th 372 9 11 1 .346 .339
7th 362 3 11 1 .281 .281
8th 350 5 5 1 .269 .267
9th 340 4 5 2 .235 .200
San Francisco Giants
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 426 3 12 7 .320 .307
2nd 417 3 4 3 .303 .301
3rd 412 8 5 2 .276 .295
4th 398 8 7 1 .295 .310
5th 388 13 3 2 .297 .341
6th 375 11 8 2 .295 .341
7th 363 5 5 10 .268 .295
8th 360 6 4 0 .271 .294
9th 346 2 1 1 .236 .206
Seattle Mariners
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 406 1 23 4 .296 .296
2nd 399 1 13 6 .237 .253
3rd 392 12 5 1 .263 .316
4th 386 4 3 0 .248 .259
5th 372 10 3 4 .260 .307
6th 366 12 3 3 .256 .290
7th 354 7 6 6 .295 .273
8th 341 2 8 2 .211 .220
9th 329 6 7 1 .322 .312
St. Louis Cardinals
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 432 1 7 5 .303 .304
2nd 422 7 6 3 .349 .340
3rd 412 22 5 0 .253 .374
4th 404 23 1 3 .323 .411
5th 396 15 4 1 .321 .372
6th 387 12 4 6 .300 .326
7th 381 4 2 2 .306 .323
8th 364 2 5 2 .308 .288
9th 350 3 1 0 .243 .222
Tampa Bay Rays
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 415 7 15 12 .288 .321
2nd 402 7 10 2 .312 .341
3rd 389 12 7 1 .297 .333
4th 382 13 7 3 .241 .304
5th 373 18 8 3 .332 .386
6th 363 10 15 6 .308 .329
7th 354 4 6 2 .260 .285
8th 340 11 1 6 .250 .279
9th 332 5 7 0 .254 .256
Texas Rangers
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 435 14 23 3 .271 .374
2nd 426 3 25 4 .315 .321
3rd 413 14 8 1 .336 .366
4th 399 16 1 2 .272 .352
5th 391 11 2 1 .298 .332
6th 379 24 5 7 .253 .358
7th 370 15 4 2 .286 .333
8th 361 10 2 1 .315 .345
9th 350 5 18 2 .287 .310
Toronto Blue Jays
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 433 9 10 4 .291 .336
2nd 424 11 12 6 .326 .325
3rd 412 31 5 3 .310 .453
4th 407 16 6 1 .295 .335
5th 395 9 10 2 .274 .302
6th 389 10 4 0 .229 .273
7th 375 7 6 4 .304 .321
8th 359 8 14 3 .283 .295
9th 352 6 8 7 .273 .287
Washington Nationals
Order PA HR SB CS BABIP wOBA
1st 427 7 20 2 .244 .275
2nd 418 5 19 2 .290 .290
3rd 409 10 10 2 .291 .333
4th 398 13 5 0 .271 .310
5th 385 16 6 6 .300 .342
6th 373 15 6 3 .312 .327
7th 359 9 5 3 .299 .331
8th 350 4 3 2 .252 .256
9th 338 4 4 2 .267 .239

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