Batting Order Options


While running through my fantasy draft preparation, I noticed how low Michael Bourn rated in my wOBA/FIP league.  That got me to thinking: Is Bourn the best option for the leadoff spot?  Here is a quick list of the Fangraphs fan projections in the expected traditional lineup.  Pastornicky does not have a projection since he hasn’t played in the majors, but it’s safe to say he will, and should, hit eighth.

Bourn- .283/.340/.364
Prado- .296/.346/.441
Jones- .276/.366/.430
McCann- .279/.362/.455
Uggla- .257/.337/.469
Freeman- .285/.345/.463
Heyward- .278/.377/.463
Pastornicky

As you can see, Bourn has the worst projection.  If Heyward hits at the level of his projection, he won’t be hitting 7th long, but who would be moved?  I have two ideas for a more interesting, and probably more efficient, lineup.  First, the one I could see happening.

Prado
Heyward
Chipper
McCann
Uggla
Freeman
Bourn
Pastornicky

This order puts the two worst hitters in the last two spots.  It does limit Bourn’s base stealing early in games with two outs, since Pastornicky could be intentionally walked, bringing up the pitcher.  I don’t think this situation would come up enough to deter a good manager from this idea, but remember who we’re dealing with.  This second lineup has a one-in-a-million chance of happening, but it definitely would optimize the plate appearances.

Heyward
Chipper
McCann
Uggla
Freeman
Prado
Bourn
Pastornicky

This would be quite the stirring of the pot, but there are more advantages than drawbacks to this idea.  First, Prado is the next-worst projected hitter, so he gets moved down, meaning less PA for him.  Next, Heyward is the best hitter, so he should get the most PA.  Also, Chipper and Heyward have the highest percentage of their value from walks, so they should be at the top.  McCann and especially Uggla get their production from power, so they get the most shots to drive in the top two.  This lineup also avoids any back-to-back same-handed hitters, not a huge deal but something positive.

As I said before, I can’t imagine the last lineup happening, but it’s something to ponder.  It is just as unlikely that everyone will hit near those projected slashlines, which makes this exercise somewhat unnecessary.  If you had a choice and everyone hit as projected above, which lineup would you choose?

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  • aryanspecial

    I can see Prado hitting first especially if he gets off to a hot start. But no way do you hit Bourn in the 7th spot with Pastornicky hitting 8th. I understand your thinking of getting more ABs to the better hitters. But I’d like to see something more like this:
    vs RHP:
    Bourn
    Heyward
    McCann
    Jones
    Freeman
    Prado
    Uggla
    Pastornicky

    Vs LHP
    Prado
    Bourn
    Jones
    McCann
    Uggla
    Heyward
    Freeman
    Pastornicky

    I think its important to balance your talents through the lineup. Having Uggla, Freeman, or possibly Prado (even Chipper!) In the 7 spot allows for run driving opportunity at the bottom of the order. I think we have a good problem here. When looking at 1-7, all of these guys have the potential to exceed expectation. Most of these guys are still young and hopefully will only get better. We brought Bourn in to have opportunity to set the table for the 3-4-5 guys. I can’t see keeping all the speed in the 7 and 8 spots. Kinda kills that advantage.

  • leetro

    @aryanspecial Your RHP lineup sets up a lefty like Bastardo coming in the 7th or 8th inning and mowing through the top of the order. I don’t want to sound like La Russa, but 4 lefties and a switch-hitter is bad, plus the three straight righties to end it doesn’t help much either.

    As far as setting the table, that is done by getting on base, not by being fast. Bourn likely won’t get on base as much as Chipper and Heyward, which is why I have him down in the order. Over 600 PA, the difference between a .340 and a .370 OBP is 18 times on base, which means 18 more baserunners for the hitters behind him. If any of the big five would struggle, Bourn would go back to the leadoff spot, The last lineup will never be written, but I would love to see it.

  • Accelerate

    For me with bournes speed there is no way I would put him anywhere other than 1st or 2nd in the lineup. I also believe heyward to instill confidence early should be given a shot at the number five spot. I see him as an RBI producer this year

    Bourne
    Prado
    Freeman
    McCann
    Heyward
    Uggla
    Chipper
    Pastornickey

  • leetro

    @Accelerate Your lineup also has 3 lefties in a row. Good LOOGYs will come in and go through the heart of the order with minimal trouble. As far as speed needing to be at the top of the lineup, I don’t see why that’s the case. He does distract the pitcher a bit, but the middle of the order keeps the pitcher’s attention too. It hurts more if Bourn gets caught stealing when McCann is up rather than Pastornicky. Over a full season, lineup order doesn’t matter much, but any advantage is needed in this division.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

    I love how talking about the line up is finally making people realize that our offense is pretty good.

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