I was inspired to do a review of the Dodger's batting order after reading a recent article by Mike Petriello at Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness. He writes:
Other than the ongoing first base platoon of James Loney & Juan Rivera (problematic since neither can hit even against opposite-handed pitchers) and Andre Ethier & Hanley Ramirez being flipped since a righty is on the mound, Don Mattingly’s lineup tonight is the same as it was yesterday, and we shouldn’t expect that to change any time soon. We’ll see occasional starts for Matt Treanor & Adam Kennedy, but otherwise this is the group we’re going to see, and this is the order we’re going to see them in. Juan Uribe is never going to exist. A.J. Ellis is never going to bump Mark Ellis out of the #2 hole. Ethier is almost never going to sit against lefties. You can argue about whether this is good or bad, but it’s the truth, and figures to stay that way into September, when we get to figure out what to do with Dee Gordon.
Today's order was the familiar Victorino / M.Ellis / Kemp / Ethier / Ramirez / Loney / Hairston / A.Ellis.
I, however, took the bait and started wondering. Is this good or bad? What would the optimal batting order be? After a bit of research, I came up with the lineup below.
I used the analysis posted in this article, Optimizing Your Lineup By The Book. I don't have the simulation software to find the truly ideal lineup, but using their guidelines, I came up with this:
1. AJ Ellis
2. Ethier (L)
5. Victorino (S)
6. Gordon (L) (w/o Gordon: M Ellis)
7. M Ellis (w/o Gordon: Hairston)
9. Loney (L) / Rivera
I encourage you to read the lineup article, but for the lazy I'll post a summary below:
So, you want your best three hitters to hit in the #1, #4, and #2 spots. Distribute them so OBP is higher in the order and SLG is lower. Then place your fourth and fifth best hitters, with the #5 spot usually seeing the better hitter, unless he's a high-homerun guy. Then place your four remaining hitters in decreasing order of overall hitting ability, with basestealers ahead of singles hitters.
My lineup accomplishes this and also avoids consecutive lefties, which due to the LOOGY effect, is more important than any lineup consideration. All in all, this should result in about one extra win a year.
I'm posting this here because I want to know from more baseball-savy people than myself whether this lineup will actually work. It seems a bit silly, but the numbers are apparently there. So please, let me know what you think!