Next up on my look at each teams most efficient lineup is the Chicago Cubs. In this exercise the methodology is to use my simulator to find out which lineup wins the most games vs RH and LH pitchers. I do this by making the team of interest the "away" team, playing against a "make believe" team whose stats don't change from one sim to the next. In fact no stats (or input projections) change for either team, the only difference from one simulation to the next is the lineup of the team of interest. For player projections, I am using Steamer projections which are available on Fangraphs. The lineup results will only be as good as the projections. I am not a subject matter expert on every teams personnel but I try to use MLBDepthcharts as a guidance as to which players are starters and I tend to avoid hitting LH back to back when reasonably possible. Keep in mind, the results are not intended to match what a certain teams manager is most likely to do during the season.
AL: Angels | Rangers
See the results after the break.
Best Lineups via Simulator
|.....||vs RHP||vs LHP|
|1||3B-Luis Valbuena||3B-Luis Valbuena|
|2||SS-Starlin Castro||LF-Junior Lake|
|3||CF-Ryan Sweeney||CF-Ryan Sweeney|
|4||1B-Anthony Rizzo||1B-Anthony Rizzo|
|5||RF-Nate Schierholtz||RF-Justin Ruggiano|
|6||2B-Darwin Barney||SS-Starlin Castro|
|7||C-Welington Castillo||2B-Darwin Barney|
|8||LF-Junior Lake||C-Welington Castillo|
|9||Pitchers Spot||Pitchers Spot|
Probable lineup via MLBDC:
Castro - Valbuena - Rizzo - Schierholtz/Ruggiano - Lake - Sweeney - Castillo - Barney - Pitcher
Skinny: The two biggest surprises here are the simulator liking Ryan Sweeney hitting third and Luis Valbuena leading off against both RH and LH pitchers. Valbuena probably has the best base on balls skill set, slightly better than Anthony Rizzo. The OBP skill really boosts Valbuena's value as he would likely be a number eight hitter without it. Going by the Steamer projections, Ryan Sweeney is the Cubs second best hitter against RHP, slightly better than Nate Schierholtz. The Cubs best hitter is obviously Anthony Rizzo and the simulator likes Rizzo batting cleanup in both scenarios. Starlin Castro, a likely candidate to hit leadoff for the Cubs in the 2014 season is best suited as the number two hitter against RHP and six hitter against LHP. Valbuena's OBP trumps Castro's speed in the fight for the leadoff spot. Welington Castillo provides some pop at the end of the lineup, while Junior Lake goes from hitting 8th vs RHP to 2nd vs LHP.