Optimizing the Padres' Lineup


I’ve made a lot of out-there proposals to fix the second base problem, but enough with that for now.

I want to take a quick look at how the Padres should order their players, given their already-established preferences.

The everyday lineup (against a righty, let’s say) is something like this:

C Nick Hundley
1B Adrian Gonzalez
2B David Eckstein
3B Chase Headley
SS Everth Cabrera
LF Kyle Blanks
CF Tony Gwynn
RF Will Venable
P Someone who can’t hit well…

Based on last year’s numbers against righties, we can expect that lineup to put up OBPs and SLGs around these levels against northpaws:

Hundley .325/.455
Gonzalez  .435/.615
Eckstein .325/.325
Headley .360/.425
Cabrera .330/.380
Blanks .380/.580
Gwynn .380/.380
Venable .340/.510
Pitcher .176/.179

According to Baseball Musings’ Lineup Optimizer, the Padres’ lineup tonight (Cabrera, Eckstein, Gonzalez, Blanks, Headley, Venable, Hundley, Gwynn, Pitcher) would score (drumroll please):

4.961 runs per game.

However, the best way to order the nine players, the tool says, would net the Padres 5.331 runs per game–a not-so-insignificant .37 run difference.

That lineup is:

Gwynn
Gonzalez
Cabrera
Blanks
Headley
Venable
Hundley
Pitcher
Eckstein

Interestingly, this lineup keeps the 4-7 slots intact from today’s actual lineup, but everything else is completely blown up.

Research has shown that the #3 slot in the order isn’t as important as #2, which is probably why Gonzalez is slotted there. In his place is Cabrera; that pretty much underscores the difference between what sort of hitter should hit third and what sort of hitter most people think should hit third. Eckstein makes sense batting ninth, certainly, and if Gwynn can repeat last year’s .379 OBP against righties, he makes sense in the leadoff spot, where the Padres have occasionally hit him.

If you want to play around with the tool more, and look at the results of my lineup, click here.

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Tags: Adrian Gonzalez Batting Chase Headley David Eckstein Everth Cabrera Kyle Blanks Nick Hundley San Diego Padres Tony Gwynn Jr. Will Venable