Mathematically Generated Pirates 2012 Lineup

Baseballmusings.com has a lineup analyzer tool that has users enter player names and some stats (wOBA and SLG) and the program calculates the best possible lineup for that team. So I went over there and typed the Pirates players and statistics in, and what it spit out was pretty weird.


Using the 2012 Bill James projections as stats for wOBA and SLG, the program gave the following as the best lineup for the Pirates in 2012. It said the Pirates will get 4.588 runs per game out this lineup:

1. Andrew McCutchen, CF
2. Alex Presley, LF
3. Neil Walker, 2B
4. Garrett Jones, 1B
5. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
6. Rod Barajas, C
7. Clint Barmes, SS
8. Pitcher
9. Jose Tabata, RF

It’s certainly pretty strange that it would put the pitcher in the 8-hole, since that is widely considered a bad idea, but I can understand putting Tabata 9th if the Pirates did bat the pitcher 8th. I’m not sure what the consensus is on the whole pitcher batting 8th thing, but what I do know is that the order that your lineup is in makes very little difference. Studies have shown that the difference between an optimal lineup order and the worst possible lineup order is about one win per year, so nearly irrelevant.

The Pirates will probably go with something that looks more like this:

1. Alex Presley, LF
2. Jose Tabata, RF
3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
4. Neil Walker, 2B
5. Garrett Jones, 1B
6. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
7. Rod Barajas, C
8. Clint Barmes, SS
9. Pitcher

That isn’t a horrible lineup if the players perform, especially Alvarez. Obviously Jones will be sharing time with McGehee, who could step right in and hit in the 5 hole if needed. Walker is not an ideal clean-up man, but he’s probably our best option right now.

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Tags: Alex Presley Andrew McCutchen Clint Barmes Garrett Jones Jose Tabata Neil Walker Pedro Alvarez Rod Barajas

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