Monday, February 03, 2014

Best Lineup - Oakland Athletics

Next up on my look at each teams most efficient lineup is the Oakland Athletics.  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 ZIPs 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 too many 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.

Previous teams:
AL: Angels | Rangers | Rays | Twins | Blue Jays | Indians
NL: Mets | Cubs | Padres | Marlins | Reds | Giants

See the results after the jump

             Best Lineups Via Simulator
vs RHPvs LHP
13B-Josh DonaldsonCF-Coco Crisp
2CF-Coco CrispLF-Craig Gentry
3DH-John Jaso3B-Josh Donaldson
41B-Brandon MossDH-Yeonis Cespedes
5RF-Josh ReddickSS-Jed Lowrie
6SS-Jed Lowrie1B-Nathan Freiman
7LF-Yeonis CespedesC-Derek Norris
82B-Alberto Callaspo2B-Alberto Callaspo
9C-Derek NorrisRF-Josh Reddick

Most likely lineup from MLBDepthCharts:
(Platoons of Moss/Freiman and Jaso/Gentry)


Coco Crisp:  His great speed, ability to draw some walks and hit from both sides make Crisp a very good top of the order hitter.  The simulator however has him batting second against RHP and as an easy choice to bat leadoff vs LHP.

Josh Donaldson:  Probably the Athletics best hitter against LHP, Donaldson provides a little of everything at the plate - hitting for average, power and drawing a lot of walks.  The simulator actually likes Donaldson and his on base percentage ability batting leadoff against RHP and batting in the third slot against LHP.

John Jaso:  Jaso draws a ton of walks and hits left handed, and the simulator thinks that batting third is the perfect spot for him when he plays against RHP.  This was kind of a surprise to me but the ability to not make outs is what the simulator obviously likes.  MLBDepthCharts has Jaso hitting 8th, so this is quite interesting.

Brandon Moss:  Yes he does whiff quite a bit, but he likely is the Athletics best hitter against RHP, providing a big power bat to drive in some of the talent hitting in front of him.  Moss is adept at drawing walks helping to further set the table for the power bats hitting behind him.

Josh Reddick:  Reddick like Moss is another base cleaner (or RBI man) when fitted in to the correct lineup slot.  The simulator likes Reddick batting 5th, right after Moss vs RHP where Reddick can drive in any runs that Moss failed to pick up.  Against LHP though, the simulator likes Reddick hitting ninth where he can drive in runs at the bottom of the order and help flip the lineup over work as a second leadoff man.

Jed Lowrie:  A solid hitter who doesn't do anything in particular great but also doesn't have any big weaknesses.  This skill set has him hitting sixth against RHP and fifth against LHP.  Interestingly enough, the simulator has him hitting directly in front of Cespedes vs RHP and directly behind Cespedes vs LHP.  They are like lineup BFFs.

Yeonis Cespedes:  While Cespedes will likely see a lot of playing time at the cleanup spot during the season the simulator only likes him there against LHP.  The simulator likes him batting seventh against RHP where he can still help to drive in runs from the wrong side of the plate.

Alberto Callaspo:  Not a dangerous hitter by any means but he does have a very good SO/BB ratio and hits from both side of the plate.  The simulator likes him batting eighth against both RH/LH pitchers.

Derek Norris:  Your typical low average good power hitting catcher.  Norris strikes out a ton but does manage to draw his fair share of walks.  The simulator likes him batting ninth vs RHP and moving up to seventh batting with the platoon advantage against LHP.

Craig Gentry:  Speed is his best weapon but Crisp trumps him in this category which makes the simulator drop him to second in the order.  I figured the simulator would like him batting ninth which would keep him and Crisp hitting back to back but the numbers were best with him batting second, right behind Crisp.  Gentry will see time primarily against LHP and he and Crisp make for a speedy top of the order.

Nathan Freiman:  The weak link in the first base platoon by far, the simulator has Freiman hitting sixth when plays against LHP.  There should be plenty of RBI opportunities hitting sixth and his power bat, though he does strike out his fair share of times fits best here.

Disclaimer:  The simulator is a computer program that plays actual baseball games.  Millions of games are played to determine the best lineup.  The best lineup is determined by the lineup that wins the most games.  The simulator takes as input, player projections and speed ratings and then takes into account defense, offense and pitching and in further detail it has an engine which handles splits, pitcher tiredness, bunting, stealing, base running, leverage index and park factors among several other things.


Anonymous said...

I'd truly question Crisp being faster than Gentry, but ... whatever.

Xeifrank said...

Yeah, fair enough.