The 3, 4 and 5 Spots

glennhoffmania

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Just a minor nit that I've thought about since the Cespedes trade.  Considering that Napoli has a far better OBP than Cespedes, wouldn't it make more sense to bat him first so that Cespedes would hit with more men on as opposed to Napoli, who's a very patient hitter, batting behind the .300 OBP guy?
 

Hee Sox Choi

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glennhoffmania said:
Just a minor nit that I've thought about since the Cespedes trade.  Considering that Napoli has a far better OBP than Cespedes, wouldn't it make more sense to bat him first so that Cespedes would hit with more men on as opposed to Napoli, who's a very patient hitter, batting behind the .300 OBP guy?
Yes.  It makes no sense to me either but someone in the game thread thought it was because Papi was so happy to have a masher behind him to "protect him."  I've argued that it should be 3. Naps 4. Papi 5. Yoenis.  Having Naps get on base for WMB, X & the 6-9 Gang, seems like a bad strategy.
 

Harry Hooper

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Possibly it's all about maximizing Cespedes' comfort level for now, and maybe it changes when he signs the extension.
 

SouthernBoSox

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Hee Sox Choi said:
Yes.  It makes no sense to me either but someone in the game thread thought it was because Papi was so happy to have a masher behind him to "protect him."  I've argued that it should be 3. Naps 4. Papi 5. Yoenis.  Having Naps get on base for WMB, X & the 6-9 Gang, seems like a bad strategy.
Completely agree.  Napoli, Papi, Cespedes, seems to provide the most length to the lineup and put guys with high OBP in front of guys who can leave at any time.
 
Holt
Pedroia
Napoli
Ortiz
Cespedes
Nava
 
is a top 6 that can put in some work.  I like having Nava behind Cespedes because he's a tough at bat following what might be a short at bat.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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While I would probably do as SBS suggests, I can see the argument for putting a masher behind Cespedes to increase the amount of strikes he'll see and maybe drive some improvement in his OBP. It's not working so far, but it's an extremely small sample size that that likely doesn't mean anything.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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SouthernBoSox said:
Completely agree.  Napoli, Papi, Cespedes, seems to provide the most length to the lineup and put guys with high OBP in front of guys who can leave at any time.
 
Holt
Pedroia
Napoli
Ortiz
Cespedes
Nava
 
is a top 6 that can put in some work.  I like having Nava behind Cespedes because he's a tough at bat following what might be a short at bat.
 
 
I would agree as well - if this was my Strat-o-matic team .. but it isn't. As we all know, an efficiently designed lineup isn't much better than a random one - and the kinds of changes suggested here would results in even fewer improvements. 
 
So I think increasing the players' comfort zone is probably a lot more important. This goes to the point being made in the SABR conference thread about getting players to buy into advanced stats. Sometimes the potential marginal gains just aren't worth the aggro.
 
[Edit: speaking of "buying in" there is also the theoretical issue of lineup protection - and whether it even exists . Is Tom Tippet going to be telling David Ortiz that it's a myth and he would get just as many pitches to hit if JBJ was hitting behind him? Or - at least that the overall Offense would b just as good (when Ortiz gets the Barry Bonds treatment)]
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Snodgrass'Muff said:
While I would probably do as SBS suggests, I can see the argument for putting a masher behind Cespedes to increase the amount of strikes he'll see and maybe drive some improvement in his OBP. It's not working so far, but it's an extremely small sample size that that likely doesn't mean anything.
 
Does this strategy really work, though, when you're talking about a guy with a 40-ish O-Swing%? I mean, why throw actual strikes when you can count on the hitter to create them for you?
 

Al Zarilla

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Harry Hooper said:
Possibly it's all about maximizing Cespedes' comfort level for now, and maybe it changes when he signs the extension.
Cespedes batting 3rd 4th and 5th was spread out pretty evenly with the A's. They do platoon quite a lot in the power positions though, with Moss sitting against lefties a lot. So their middle of the order hitter positions varied more than with most teams. Maybe they like him behind Ortiz for his speed and lower likelihood of GIDPs. Except he's tied with Nap there with 10. Bat him 5th.
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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Optimizing the lineup for the rest of 2014 seems less important than learning before the offseason rolls around which cards the team's actually holding right now.  
 
Put another way -- excepting Pedroia, Ortiz, and Napoli -- every other player is now auditioning for a 2015 role.  As well as being evaluated as a trade component.
 
 
 

seantoo

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BCsMightyJoeYoung said:
 
 
I would agree as well - if this was my Strat-o-matic team .. but it isn't. As we all know, an efficiently designed lineup isn't much better than a random one - and the kinds of changes suggested here would results in even fewer improvements. 
 
So I think increasing the players' comfort zone is probably a lot more important. This goes to the point being made in the SABR conference thread about getting players to buy into advanced stats. Sometimes the potential marginal gains just aren't worth the aggro.
 
[Edit: speaking of "buying in" there is also the theoretical issue of lineup protection - and whether it even exists . Is Tom Tippet going to be telling David Ortiz that it's a myth and he would get just as many pitches to hit if JBJ was hitting behind him? Or - at least that the overall Offense would b just as good (when Ortiz gets the Barry Bonds treatment)]
I recall that protection was a myth as viewed by most, if anything the protection comes from the previous batters. Batters getting on base in front of another batter is the best way not to be pitched around. Pitchers pitch to the current situation they are in and not worried about situations they could get in. If they worried about the next batter on deck pretty soon they wouldn't have to worry about pitching at all anymore.
 

derekson

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I'm surprised no one has put forth the idea that Cespedes should be batting 3rd with Ortiz at cleanup. The sabermetric lineup analysis has pretty much shown that your best hitters should bat 1st, 2nd, and 4th with lower OBP and high SLG guys at 3rd and 5th. I don't expect to see one of our best hitters batting first right now (at least not until Betts gets hot and establishes himself) but moving Ortiz to 4th and putting Cespedes' high power, lower OBP bat in the 3 spot makes a ton of sense. To whatever extent protection does or might exist, it'd also get him to see some better pitches batting ahead of Papi, at least possibly. It isn't a perfect setup since Napoli doesn't really fit into the #5 hitter mold here but he's clearly going to be 5th regardless and he's a good hitter with power, so it's not a big issue. 
 
The reason that a low OBP guy is better off batting 3rd is that the #3 spot in the order comes up more often than any other spot with 2 outs and nobody on base, which is the situation where OBP has the least value. So a guy who is more likely to make an out hurts the team less there, and if he doesn't make an out it's more likely he gets an XBH and generates a RISP opportunity for one of your best hitters batting in the #4 spot. The #3 spot in the order also leads off innings less frequently than #4, meaning OBP is more valuable in the #4 spot and obviously Ortiz has a better OBP than Cespedes.
 
Sep 13, 2006
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Per MLB.com's Ian Browne: "Cespedes could move behind Napoli in the order."
 
http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140819&content_id=90386104&notebook_id=90407576&vkey=notebook_bos&c_id=bos
 
Per Ian's column:
 
"...there could come a time -- perhaps soon -- when Farrell puts the disciplined tandem of David Ortiz and Mike Napoli back to back, and perhaps has the free-swinging Cespedes hitting behind them in the five-hole.
Farrell hinted at a possible lineup tweak when he was asked if it was beneficial to have Cespedes in between Ortiz and Napoli.
"That's a debatable point because you can say if David is going to be pitched selectively, then you want someone who's going to be equal to that selectivity behind him," said Farrell. "He's been accustomed to hitting in the four-hole. We tried to transition him in here with as much comfort as possible. That doesn't mean going forward, there won't be an alignment that flip-flops he and Nap. I'm not saying that's going to be tomorrow. We'll take a look at every combination that's available to us."