Optimal Opening Day Batting Order

As a stat oriented guy there are some things I like to do every once in awhile to try to see how someone who thinks strictly the "scientific" way of baseball would do something. One of the more interesting things you can do this with is setting the batting order. Every year there are debates on who should hit where in the batting order, and very rarely are they even close to coming up with the optimal batting order for that particular team.

So what I did is figured out going off of last years stats what the absolute best batting order would be for the Pirates on Opening Day 2013, and the results were defiantly surprising. All I had to do was type in the batting order I projected the Pirates to have on opening day and a few key stats about each player to go along with it and once I did that it gave me what they thought would be the best batting order in 2013.

Probable Order
1.Starling Marte
2.Neil Walker
3.Andrew McCutchen
4.Garrett Jones
5.Pedro Alvarez
6.Russell Martin
7.Travis Snider
8.Clint Barmes
9. Pitcher

Baseball Musings.com Optimal Order
1. Andrew McCutchen
2. Starling Marte
3. Travis Snider
4. Garrett Jones
5. Neil Walker
6. Pedro Alvarez
7. Russell Martin
8. Pitcher
9. Clint Barmes

As you can tell with just a quick look the two lineups are extremely different. The first thing that stands out to me on baseball musings order is that the pitcher is hitting eighth on all of its optimal lineups, we have seen managers do this before in the past and most of the time they were torn apart for doing so. Another thing that stands out to me is the fact that McCutchen is hitting first. McCutchen led the team in home-runs last year and also hits for a good average, which had me thinking he would be the three hitter but with his extremely high OBP baseball musings had him hitting first. Travis Snider is also hitting third Baseball Musings lineup which I found extremely interesting considering Snider didn't have really that great of a season at all last year.

So how big of a difference would this lineup make you ask? Well a pretty large one, for the lineup that the Pirates will probably start the season with they are projected to score 3.794 runs per game while with Baseball Musings lineup they are projected to score 4.175 runs per game, that's a difference of .381 runs per game. With a 162 game season that's nearly 62 runs per per season, if you take my theory that about 15 runs equals one win then the Pirates will be wasting about four wins in 2013! Four wins is huge, four wins last year would of been the difference between a breaking the streak and extending it to two full centuries. Four wins is about worth about 20 million on the free agent market, which to a small market team like the Pirates is huge.

The fact of the matter is the Pirates are never going to start the lineup that the sabermetric junkie thinks they should, so they're going to have to win with the lineup they have. It sure would be interesting to see how the Pirates would do though if they did start the sabermetric lineup.

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