Pittsburgh Pirates: Lets Build A Lineup

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oct 7, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle (13) gestures in the dugout against the Chicago Cubs during the sixth inning in the National League Wild Card playoff baseball game at PNC Park. The Cubs won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

To recap, here is the Pirates lineup:

  1. Josh Bell, .336 wOBA, and .144 ISO
  2. Andrew McCutchen, .363 wOBA, and .187 ISO
  3. Gregory Polanco, .328 wOBA and .168 ISO
  4. Jung Ho Kang, .337 wOBA, and .184 ISO
  5. Starling Marte, .338 wOBA, and .158 ISO
  6. Josh Harrison, .310 wOBA, and .124 ISO
  7. Francisco Cervelli, .320 wOBA, and .096 ISO
  8. Jordy Mercer, .303 wOBA, and .122 ISO
  9. Pitcher

The temptation to bat Cervelli ninth, due to his on-base percentage skills.  But as Baseball Prospectus shows, the difference is minimal with the pitcher eighth or ninth

"It doesn’t really help all that much in a best-case scenario and it doesn’t hurt all that much if everything goes wrong. Compared to a traditional pitcher-hits-ninth lineup, it’s pretty much break even. The biggest effect might be that it probably annoys the guy who has to hit ninth behind the pitcher."

Going by what The Book says is the safest way to build a lineup.  Putting your worst four hitters in decreasing order from six through nine is the best.  With Cervelli’s high contact and high single rate, and Harrison’s ability to steal bags, the flip there makes sense.

Next: Andrew McCutchen, A Selfless Superstar

We’ll get a glimpse of what the Pirates plan to do shortly, but in terms of an everyday lineup, against right-handed pitchers, anyway, this should be the Pirates plan of attack.

*Numbers from Fangraphs and baseball savant