Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Weekly Cleveland Indians Lineup Analysis

Once again, this is the weekly series where I plan take the top 9 Indians in terms of OPS and feed them into Dave Pinto's Lineup Analysis Tool to determine the theoretical ideal batting lineup. I originally set the threshold very low - 10 plate appearances. Sal Fasano passed that threshold the other day, but just barely. So for the sake of argument, I've included a lineup with Fasano and one without.

This Week's Results
With Fasano
Without Fasano

This Week's Ideal Lineup

Changes From Last Week
Too many to count.

Theoretical Runs Per Game
With Fasano: 5.624, up 0.558 runs per game from last week.
Without Fasano: 5.105, up 0.069 runs per game from last week. This lineup features the same players from last week, meaning that their net individual numbers have increased since then.

Theoretical Improvement
The Indians are currently scoring 4.532 runs per game. With Fasano, they gain 1.092 runs per game, which is 177 runs or 17-18 wins over the course of the season. However, Fasano's small sample size is a factor here. Without Fasano, the team gains 0.573 runs per game. That translates to 92.8 runs over the course of the season, or just over 9 more wins.

Defensive Plausibility
Fasano and Kelly Shoppach can alternate between first base and catcher, with everyone else assuming normal responsibilities. Or, Fasano or Shoppach can DH, with one of the outfielders playing first.
Without Fasano, the lineup is the one the "real" Indians send out against righties, so there are no issues.

Fan Believability
Sal Fasano has 20 speed (at best), so batting him leadoff is akin to volunteering to be fired. And while batting Grady Sizemore cleanup may be statistically optimal, I don't see why a manager would do that instead of batting him fourth. The rest of the lineup falls into place rather well, though.
The way Casey Blake has been hitting as of late, he probably could bat leadoff for a poor team without any better options. However, the Indians have several better options. After Blake and Sizemore, the rest of the lineup is very similar to what the Indians have been using as of late.

My Take
I agree that the Fasano lineup is very far-fetched. The one without him isn't too bad, though. I'm not saying I'd bat Casey Blake in the leadoff spot if my job was on the line, but I'd at least consider it.

Random Indians Thought of the Week
Congratulations to Cliff Lee - from AAA to All Star Starter.