Saturday, February 25, 2012

Best Dodgers Lineup

Every season there is much talk about lineups. Which lineup will score the most runs and win the most games. There are many theories about how the batting order should be constructed. Speed and on base guy(s) near the top followed by your best power hitters. I have put this theory to the test using my simulator, which plays 100K games using different lineups to see which one produces the most runs and wins. In this exercise I made the Dodgers the away team, always giving them 9 at bats in every regulation length game. I kept the home team constant, and in this exercise I had the Dodgers facing the Washington Nationals. I had the Nationals throw (LHP) Gio Gonzalez and (RHP) Jordan Zimmerman in an attempt to find the Dodgers best lineup to use against both left handed and right handed pitchers. Of course I did not run through every single permuation of lineup possibilities, but after a while you can easily hone in on the best ones. And without any further ado, here is the Dodgers best lineups vs LHP and RHP. Note that in this exercise, I used the 2012 Zips Projections for all Dodgers hitters.

vs LHP Lineup vs RHP Lineup
A.J. Ellis A.J. Ellis
Andre Ethier Andre Ethier
Matt Kemp Matt Kemp
Juan Rivera James Loney
James Loney Juan Rivera
Juan Uribe Juan Uribe
Mark Ellis Mark Ellis
Dee Gordon Dee Gordon
Pitchers Spot Pitchers Spot

Notes: Zips loves A.J. Ellis' OBP and hates Dee Gordon's OBP. The simulator is pretty consistent on which lineup it likes the best facing both a LHP or a RHP pitcher with the only difference being the swap of Loney/Rivera in the number four and five holes. Facing a RHP the Dodgers did score slightly more runs with Adam Kennedy playing 2B instead of Mark Ellis, but the runs were more than lost on the defensive side. How much does it hurt the Dodgers batting Gordon and M.Ellis at the top of the lineup as opposed to what the simulator says is the best lineup? Against the LHP around 1 win and against the RHP lineup around 0.15 wins. Probably not enough to get red in the face about, especially against RHP.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Ichiro Lineup Shuffle

There has been much discussion about the Seattle Mariners recent decision to drop Ichiro Suzuki down in the lineup from leadoff to the number three spot. Is it a good decision? Will the Mariners offense benefit? It is difficult to say as Ichiro claims that he can change his approach and hit for more power while giving up batting average points at the plate (due to more strike outs). Any change in approach is likely a push when you look at how it will likely effect his wOBA. More power and more strike outs will likely keep his wOBA numbers around the same, at the very least still within the noise.

What I have done is run the Mariners lineup through my simulator with a couple of different lineups. In this exercise I want to see what kind of lineup the Mariners would score the most runs with. And today I take a look at the Mariners lineup against a RHP. To give the Mariners 9 (or more) innings worth of at-bats in every game I made them the away team and picked the Chicago White Sox and Phil Humber as their opponents. I ran my simulator with four different Mariner lineups, keeping all other variables the same and take a look at how many runs they scored per game (100K games simulated) and average win expectancy. Here are the lineups and the results.

Lineup #1 Figgins Ackley Suzuki Carp Montero Smoak Gutierrez Olivo Ryan
Lineup #2 Suzuki Gutierrez Ackley Montero Carp Smoak Olivo Figgins Ryan
Lineup #3 Figgins Suzuki Smoak Montero Carp Ackley Gutierrez Olivo Ryan
Lineup #4 Ackley Suzuki Smoak Montero Carp Figgins Gutierrez Olivo Ryan

And now the results...

Lineup Runs/Game WPct
Lineup #1 4.05113 47.430%
Lineup #2 4.05001 47.261%
Lineup #3 4.03139 47.161%
Lineup #4 4.02156 47.020%

So as you can see, there is no difference between a lineup that bats Figgins leadoff and Ichiro third than one that bats Ichiro leadoff. The difference is so minimal that the team is likely better off just letting players bat where they are the most comfortable at. Feel free to tweet or email me your own lineup (vs RHP, LHP), I will gladly run it through my simulator and post the results in the table here. Next up I will look at a vs LHP lineup.

... And here is Part II, vs LHP lineup (Danks)

Lineup #1L Figgins Ackley Suzuki Carp Montero Smoak Gutierrez Olivo Ryan
Lineup #2L Suzuki Gutierrez Ackley Montero Carp Smoak Olivo Figgins Ryan
Lineup #3L Montero Carp Suzuki Smoak Figgins Ackley Gutierrez Olivo Ryan
Lineup #4L Ackley Figgins Suzuki Montero Carp Smoak Gutierrez Olivo Ryan
Lineup #5L Suzuki Smoak Figgins Montero Carp Ackley Gutierrez Olivo Ryan

And now the results...

Lineup Runs/Game WPct
Lineup #3L 3.96294 46.1844%
Lineup #1L 3.95466 46.0012%
Lineup #5L 3.95412 46.1896%
Lineup #4L 3.95362 46.0384%
Lineup #2L 3.9322 45.8776%

Skinny: So the best lineup vs left handed pitchers was just one that was sorted from highest wOBA to lowest wOBA vs LHP with the lineup that was tops against the RHP coming in 2nd. Makes me wonder if the lineup sorted from highest to lowest wOBA would also come out on top vs the RHP. Guess I will have to run that one again and see.

Well, as it turns out the same lineup (Lineup #3L) also has the same wOBA order against RHP as it does against LHP. Lineup #3L against RHP (Humber) scored 4.0517 runs per game which also puts it first in the vs RHP list. So there you have it. According to my simulator the Mariners would actually be best off by just ordering their lineup from best to worst hitters. In other words, give your best hitters the most plate appearances. But we are only talking around two tenths of a win over 162 games vs the wOBA sorted lineup and the (Figgins, Ackley, Suzuki) lineup. Worth worrying about? Nope!

Here are the output wOBA's for each Mariners player in this exercise. Keep in mind this is different than the input wOBA used. The output wOBA is effected by the quality of opposing starting pitcher and relief pitcher as well as the the park the player is hitting in, if he is at home or away and the handedness matchup.

Player Output wOBA vs Humber Output wOBA vs Danks
Figgins 0.327 0.323
Ackley 0.328 0.317
Suzuki 0.334 0.329
Montero 0.349 0.361
Carp 0.337 0.332
Smoak 0.335 0.329
Gutierrez 0.303 0.307
Olivo 0.297 0.303
Ryan 0.292 0.298

Note: My own set of proprietary hitter and pitcher projections were used.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Winning Time

Here is a preliminary look at 2012 MLB win totals from my simulator. I say preliminary because I am still only going five starting pitchers deep on each team as rotation depth is still shaking out for many teams. Feel free to dock or add a few wins here and there for teams that may or may not have healthy arms in their rotation. Along with my win numbers, I have listed a few other sources who have put out 2012 win totals. They are the Replacement Level Yankees Weblog and the Atlantis Sportsbook in Reno Nevada. Below are the results for four of the sources used. If you know of any other sources, please feel free to drop me a line and let me know. Along with the win totals, I listed the average and standard deviation of each team's projection along with the standard deviation of each projection source.

TeamDodger SimsRLYW CairoRLYW MarcelAtlantis CasinoBetOnlineAverageStandard Dev
Arizona Diamondbacks81.03848584.584.583.811.59
Atlanta Braves83.3858986.583.585.462.36
Baltimore Orioles76.39707070.57171.582.72
Boston Red Sox87.57929087.587.588.912.03
Chicago Cubs73.82717073.573.572.361.74
Chicago White Sox78.48747976.577.577.101.98
Cincinnati Reds86.59878986.58787.221.02
Cleveland Indians76.96848375.575.578.994.17
Colorado Rockies87.88818582.581.583.582.86
Detroit Tigers90.81888494.59490.264.38
Houston Astros65.35606662.562.563.272.43
Kansas City Royals74.69747978.578.576.942.39
Los Angeles Angels91.37918789.589.589.671.72
Los Angeles Dodgers78.93757681.581.578.593.03
Miami Marlins82.41828082.582.581.881.07
Milwaukee Brewers83.23868182.581.582.851.96
Minnesota Twins72.61676874.57471.223.49
New York Mets73.2757474.574.574.240.68
New York Yankees91.34979293.59393.372.20
Oakland Athletics71.37768272.57374.974.28
Philadelphia Phillies92.69929095.595.593.142.37
Pittsburgh Pirates73.17687273.57371.932.27
San Diego Padres69.44767570.570.572.292.98
San Francisco Giants85.28858587.587.586.061.32
Seattle Mariners71.09747672.572.573.221.86
St. Louis Cardinals94.29908487.58788.563.85
Tampa Bay Rays83.1928887.587.587.623.15
Texas Rangers97.61928794.59493.023.92
Toronto Blue Jays74.1678818181.579.133.11
Washington Nationals81.85868380.58182.472.19
Standard Deviation8.329.127.118.328.167.86 

Note: Last updated 2/21

Thursday, February 09, 2012

It's Time For Blogger Baseball

This Saturday February 11th I will proudly be playing in the first annual, Dodgers Blogger Softball Tournament at the beautiful Big League Dreams replica fields in the not so beautiful city of West Covina put on and hosted by the wonderful Left Field Pavillion blog.

I will proudly be playing for the Dodger Thoughts team, coached by King Daddy of all the Dodger blogs Jon Weisman. The tournament is for charity, most notably it is for the Los Angeles Food Bank. All entry fee money will be going to the Food Bank and players will be donating food items at the tournament. Our not so star studded team will be playing games at 9AM (Fenway Park), 11AM (Tigers Stadium) and 2PM (Dodger Stadium).

Jon Weisman may be live tweeting from the tournament. So feel free to follow him at @DodgerThoughts for the live play by play blows.