Pittsburgh Pirates: Lets Build A Lineup

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Pitchers and catchers report on Monday.  The announcement to move Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco positions were announced on Super Bowl Sunday.  Baseball season is upon us, let’s construct the Pirates 2017 lineup.

There are lineup tools, such as Baseball Musings lineup analysis, but don’t necessarily apply to now.  This can be seen in their two models, 1989-2002 and 1959-2004, and since it’s 2017, there is the potential of the model being outdated.  Also, as pointed out by Jack Moore in 2011, there is the issue of only two inputs into the system – on base percentage and slugging percentage.  Moore wrote on FanGraphs:

"The other problem (a much smaller problem, given we’re already dealing with minutia) is the only inputs are on-base percentage and slugging percentage. In The Book, the inputs used are linear weights by each lineup slot. It’s important to realize that different batting slots tend to see different situations – leadoff sees bases empty often, third sees nobody on and two outs quite often, fourth sees most runners, etc. – and therefore a single from a hitter in one slot isn’t necessarily worth the same as a hitter in another. Compared to the issues with the run environment, this is minor, but it can still spit out some odd orders."

The easiest way to create a lineup would be applying what The Book concluded.  Moore summed up the conclusion of The Book, by saying:

"Take the best three hitters at #1, #2, and #4 (with power leaning towards #4 and OBP leaning toward #1). The next two go in #3 and #5. Then the worst four go in #6, #7, #8, and #9"

So this is how we’ll construct our lineup.  The best hitters one, two, and four.  Filled in by three and five, with the worst four batting six through nine.  We’re also going to ignore platoon situations and different line ups against left-handed pitchers (for now at least).  The Pirates have faced 171 left-handed starters since 2012, 21.1 percent of the time.  They also have not faced a left-handed starter more than 30 percent of the time since 2006 (30.2).  Keep it easy, the team will face a right-handed starter near 80 percent of the time, base every lineup like they’ll face a right-handed hitter.  The lineup will be based on the season numbers projected from Steamer, for now at least.