On a recent morning, Beane took note of a website that attempted to calculate how many runs the A’s could score with every possible lineup combination.
“With the Internet and blogs, you have so much more,” Beane said. “You’ve almost got a ‘wisdom of the crowd’ situation.”
Hey, I resemble that remark!
I had kinda forgotten about it until then, but since it seems Billy Beane took note of it, I suppose it’s time to dust off the old formula, and see what it says about the 2007 A’s. I plugged in PECOTA’s projections into the formula, and ran all the possible lineup combinations. The results are kinda weird, mostly because I think PECOTA’s OBP projections are too high for Mark Ellis (.349) and too low for Mike Piazza (.324). So you may want to look at the results, and mentally flip-flop Piazza and Ellis, because the formula likes Mark Ellis batting cleanup. Cleanup!
Also, I used Bobby Kielty’s projection, because he was the only name I could fill in for Dan Johnson that I was sure would be on the team. For what it’s worth, Erubiel Durazo’s projection (.333/.409) is nearly identical to Kielty’s (.336/.408). Todd Walker has a higher projected OBP, but a lower SLG (.345/.402), but that projection was for Petco Park–the numbers might project higher in Oakland. Still, all three players project similarly, so it probably won’t make much of a difference for this exercise.
The number beside the lineup is runs/162 games. The number will seem higher than actual team season run totals, probably because the optimal lineup never plays all 162 games. Lesser players get a lot of plate appearances besides the top nine players.
Top 10 Lineups
816.65 – Bradley Swisher Chavez Ellis Kielty Piazza Crosby Stewart Kendall
816.65 – Bradley Swisher Chavez Ellis Crosby Piazza Kielty Stewart Kendall
816.39 – Bradley Swisher Chavez Kielty Ellis Piazza Crosby Stewart Kendall
816.34 – Bradley Swisher Chavez Crosby Ellis Piazza Kielty Stewart Kendall
816.17 – Bradley Swisher Chavez Kielty Crosby Piazza Ellis Stewart Kendall
816.12 – Bradley Swisher Chavez Crosby Kielty Piazza Ellis Stewart Kendall
816.03 – Bradley Swisher Ellis Chavez Crosby Piazza Kielty Stewart Kendall
816.02 – Bradley Swisher Ellis Chavez Kielty Piazza Crosby Stewart Kendall
815.91 – Bradley Swisher Ellis Kielty Chavez Piazza Crosby Stewart Kendall
815.87 – Ellis Swisher Chavez Bradley Crosby Piazza Kielty Stewart Kendall
The projections are about 40 runs lower than last year’s projections. It still likes Kendall batting ninth. Stewart is this year’s Kotsay, which it likes eighth.
Last night on the A’s broadcast of the Giants game (where a miked Rene Lachemann was a hoot), Bob Geren said the top six lineup spots would probably be Kendall, Stewart, Bradley, Piazza, Chavez, and Swisher. So let’s look at that lineup:
798.54 – Kendall Stewart Bradley Piazza Chavez Swisher Crosby Ellis Kielty
That’s pretty much right in the middle of the possible combinations.
And for fun:
Bottom 10 lineups
772.85 – Piazza Kendall Stewart Crosby Kielty Ellis Bradley Chavez Swisher
772.84 – Piazza Kendall Stewart Kielty Crosby Chavez Bradley Ellis Swisher
772.82 – Piazza Kendall Stewart Kielty Ellis Chavez Bradley Crosby Swisher
772.79 – Piazza Kendall Stewart Crosby Kielty Chavez Bradley Ellis Swisher
772.77 – Piazza Kendall Crosby Kielty Stewart Bradley Ellis Chavez Swisher
772.69 – Piazza Kendall Kielty Crosby Stewart Bradley Ellis Chavez Swisher
772.65 – Piazza Kendall Stewart Kielty Ellis Bradley Crosby Chavez Swisher
772.61 – Piazza Kendall Stewart Crosby Ellis Bradley Kielty Chavez Swisher
772.43 – Piazza Kendall Stewart Kielty Crosby Bradley Ellis Chavez Swisher
772.39 – Piazza Kendall Stewart Crosby Kielty Bradley Ellis Chavez Swisher
The slowest player in baseball history leading off? Yeah, that seems like a bad idea.
P.S. Go fill out TangoTiger’s community projections, and show PECOTA a thing or two.