The Lineup Question | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

The Lineup Question

By on March 9, 2013

 The Brewers offense was #1 in the NL in 2012 yet they won fewer than 85 games. Obviously, the offense isn’t the problem. Nori Aoki became a proven leadoff hitter with a .355 OBP and 30 stolen bases, Braun hit a record 41 homers and Aramis Ramirez had a career year 5.4 Wins Above Replacement. But as every fan does after every season, let’s tinker with the lineup, shall we?

Here’s my generic ideal lineup:

#1 Gets on base. Highest OBP

#2 2nd best overall hitter, 2nd best wOBA/OPS

#3 Best overall hitter, highest wOBA/OPS

#4 Best power hitter, highest ISOP

#5 2nd best power hitter, 2nd highest ISOP

#6 3rd best overall hitter, 3rd best wOBA/OPS

#7 4th best overall hitter

For the Brewers (looking at 2012 data with 300 AB) that would translate to

#1 Braun (.319/.391/.595)

#2 Ramirez (.300/.360/.540)

#3 Braun  (ISOP .276)

#4 Ramirez (ISOP .240)

OK, I think I see a problem here. It isn’t unique to the Brewers either; your best hitters are generally going to excel in multiple categories. Braun and Ramirez’s power is too important to “waste” at the top of the lineup so let’s remove duplicates and reconstruct as such.

#1 Nori Aoki (.288/.355/.433)

#2 Lucroy (.320/.368/.513)

#3 Braun (.319/.391/.595)

#4 Ramirez (ISOP .240)

#5 Hart (ISOP .237)

#6 Gomez (.260/.305/.463)

#7 Weeks (.230/.328/.400)

The astute reader may have noticed that I bumped Aoki to #1 despite Lucroy having a higher OBP. That’s because of a) speed and b) the relatively higher OBP that Aoki has compared to his own batting average. This means that Aoki walked a lot more than Lucroy. Aoki had the 3rd highest walks per PA last season (.073) and Braun had the second highest at .093. The person with the highest walk rate, a whopping 1.09 BB/PA, was also the Brewers leadoff hitter for the first third of the season. In fact, if Ricke Weeks were to improve his batting average next season, a case could be made for him to go back in the leadoff spot.

For those arguing that Lucroy should be even further down the list because of his “clutch hitting” or his (.361/.400/.535) line with runners on base, let me say three things: there’s no such thing as clutch hitting ability, small sample size, and there’s no such thing as clutch hitting ability.

How would you construct the Brewers Lineup?

 

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Comments

Tell us what do you think.

  1. Zak says: March 9, 2013

    If you really want to think outside the box, #2 and #4 are more valuble spots than #3. This lineup is built speed-power-speed
    Aoki
    Braun
    Lucroy
    Ramirez
    Hart
    Weeks
    Gomez
    Segura

    More realistic:
    Weeks – Ron likes power at the top and Weeks OBP will be better next year
    Aoki
    Braun
    Ramirez
    Hart
    Lucroy
    Gomez
    Segura

  2. Ryan Topp says: March 9, 2013

    Hey, nice to have you aboard!

    I’m a big believer in just getting your best OBP (but modest power) guys up top and then following them with your best power hitters and then sort of just fitting in everyone after that in descending order of usefulness. For me, that’s actually pretty close to what they have now.

    Aoki
    Weeks
    Braun
    Ramirez
    Hart
    Luroy
    Gomez
    Segura

    I know that’s boring, but I’ve sort of given up on getting more creative because: one, it’s not going to happen and two, the returns really figure to be minimal.

    • vBar says: March 11, 2013

      Thanks Ryan. I agree about the whole outside-the-box vs. reward thing with lineups. I was trying to keep the basic current philosophy and advocating a strong #2 hitter.

  3. Bry Jones says: March 10, 2013

    Aoki
    Braun
    Hart
    Ramirez
    Lucroy
    Gomez
    Weeks
    Pitcher :)
    Segura

  4. Zak says: March 10, 2013

    If Gomez or Segura breaks out, I could see Ron trying to get either of them in the #1 or #2 spot though I hope not Gomez because I believe his slugging will be over .500 before his OBP gets over .330.

    I want a guy with an OBP over .350 at leadoff and ideally in all the 1-4 spots. So basically I want some combination of Braun, ARam, Aoki, Weeks (Big believer in him having a good year next year), or Lucroy at top.

    Overall I’m really excited for the lineup because what ever the order, speed and power will be distributed throughout. The only thing missing in the lineup is more lefties, but most of the hitters don’t have large platoon splits as seen by a .771/.819 OPS vs RHP/LHP by the righties.

    Now if only we could return the 2011 pitching staff, this team could actually do major damage.

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