December 9, 2010

Lineup Construction

As SoSH debates lineup construction, I plugged some numbers into Baseball Musings' Lineup Analysis -- 2010 stats for everyone except Ellsbury, Lowrie, and Saltalamacchia, for whom I used career totals since their games played last year were low -- and got this.

The best lineup -- scoring roughly 5.88 runs per game -- would start with Yook/AG or AG/Yook in the top spots, Ortiz at #4, Salty and LBJ at the bottom, and the other spots picked out of a hat.

Even the worst possible lineup would score 5.51 runs per game. That is a drop of 60 runs per game over a 162-game season, a difference of about six wins. That is significant, but Terry Francona's lineups will not be at either extreme. He'll fiddle around fairly intelligently in the middle. What would be the difference between Tito's best and worst lineup? Maybe two wins over an entire season?

My quickie lineup of
Ellsbury
Pedroia
Gonzalez
Youkilis
Crawford
Ortiz
Lowrie
Drew
Salty
would score approximately 5.77 runs per game.
Example
Random Stuff:

Dave Cameron, Fangraphs, notes that Crawford is getting "a lot of money for a guy who doesn't do the things that traditionally earn a lot of money":
Just because it is unique, however, doesn't mean it is automatically bad. Defense has historically been undervalued in the market, and while not everyone agrees with the conclusions reached by defensive metrics all the time, I have never met anyone who thinks that Carl Crawford is anything besides a great defensive left fielder. ...

Over the last two years, the only position players with a higher WAR than Crawford are Albert Pujols, Evan Longoria, Ryan Zimmerman, Joe Mauer, and Chase Utley. Crawford is ahead of sluggers like Adrian Gonzalez, Joey Votto, and Miguel Cabrera, but as we saw with Gonzalez's extension, that kind of money for their skillset is considered acceptable. Just because Crawford creates wins in a different way doesn't make those wins less valuable. If you buy into Crawford being an elite defender, then he is worth this contract, and maybe even a little bit more.
Tony Massarotti of the Globe insists, contrary to every single thing the current front office has done and said for the last eight years, the signings of Adrian Gonzalez and Crawford were in response to the panicky cries and complaints of Red Sox fans.
The Red Sox heard you, loudly and clearly, and they did not like the message. You groused about Liverpool. You groaned about ticket prices. Mostly, you stopped buying and stopped watching, all at a time when the competition for your interest was greater than ever before. ...

[T]he Red Sox needed to throw their weight around again [this winter]. They needed to show that they do not take you for granted.
John Tomase and Scott Lauber, Herald:
Last week at this time, we wondered if the Red Sox had a pulse. Now they are terrorizing baseball. ...

In the slugging Gonzalez and the speedy Crawford, the Red Sox have now completely remade a lineup that overcame injuries to rank second in the American League in runs scored last year. ...

When coupled with the team's presumably deep starting rotation, it's hard to view them as anything other than World Series favorites at the moment.
Two days ago, Sean McAdam reported:
Francona on Jacoby Ellsbury's health after broken ribs: "A couple of weeks ago, he was still feeling it in his back."
Now, Tito says he misspoke and Ellsbury's agent, Scott Boras, says the outfielder is
doing great. He's been working out. He's taken time. He went through the season where his ribs really never fully healed. He attempted to come back a number of times. Now with the time, he's able to let his bones and fractures [heal].
Tom Verducci, SI:
The Red Sox shocked the baseball world ... somehow turn[ing] $142 million into stealth money, agreeing to make Carl Crawford the second-highest paid outfielder in baseball history with hardly a moment of preparation by those outside their own suite. It was a rare "wow" moment in a Twitter-mad world.

"[Bleeping] Theo," one GM said of Boston general manager Theo Epstein. "What a brilliant move."

10 comments:

Patrick said...

If the Rangers find a way to sway Lee back to Arlington, and Pettite retires officially, I will be giddyX10.

Also, I think Massarotti is full of crap.

redsock said...

Mets assistant general manager J.P. Ricciardi: "Boy, they made themselves better. ... I'm glad I'm not in the American League East any more."

Arizona general manager Kevin Towers: "I talked about Adrian knocking paint off the wall. Jeez, you're going to have to have some guy hanging there constantly (repainting) during the game."

redsock said...

Ben Buchanan, Over The Monster:

[L]et's take all the contributions of the [2010] left fielders, and turn them into Carl Crawford. 11 runs below average offensively? 19 below average defensively?

Crawford was worth 32 runs offensively last year (9th best amongst outfielders, for those skeptics of Crawford's offense), and 18 defensively. For those who don't care to do the math, the difference is 80 runs, or about 8 wins.

Carl Crawford would have changed last year's team from an 89-73 team missing the playoffs to a 97-65 division winner.

An exact science? No. ... But it still sounds pretty nice.

***

tim said...

Now all Theo has to do is sign Lee, trade Dice-K for a couple decent relievers and sign Scott Downs. Then we'll be golden!

Ish said...

Honestly, I would be totally giddy if the Red Sox signed Cliff Lee, but I know it won't happen, so my second wish is for the Yankees not to sign him.

Patrick said...

An 8 win swing over the outfield shit storm of 2010?

I know I won't be the only person doing back flips if Ellsbury is 100% next year, and he and Crawford are competing for first in SB.

L-girl said...

"[Bleeping] Theo," one GM said of Boston general manager Theo Epstein. "What a brilliant move."

Fucking Theo, man. It's so cool.

Geoff said...

Love the fact that the best line up will probably never see the light of day. Gonzalez batting first is unlikely to happen. Lowrie batting third...I just can't see it.

Fun problems for Tito to deal with.

9casey said...

Did they pay Crawford to much?

Hell Ya......

But what is has done to baseball is priceless.
The Rays got weaker, the Yankees are freakin out ( the additional 7th year added to the Lee deal).

If are pitching could just be slightly beeter than last year, then it is all good.

It should be pretty exciting.

In Pedroia, Crawford, and Ellsbury, I believe we have 3 of the most exciting players in the game...

tim said...

No, they almost certainly will not sign Lee.

Downs is highly probable, given that they've already lost their first rounder, so if they pick up Downs it will only be a second rounder that they lose.

Then again, Theo [smartly] doesn't want to give relievers multi-year, big bucks deals, so we'll see what the rest of the market offers to Downs...