Yesterday, I posted about the Yankees CAIRO projections relative to their respective positions from a reader request. Check that post for the original question as well as Moshe’s astute comment about projections.
I’ll be looking at position again today, but a different kind of position: batting order position. I’ll take the average performance from AL batters 1-9 in 2010 and then (again) compare that to each hitter’s CAIRO projection. This lineup will be a hybrid of what I want the lineup to look like and how it probably will look (more weighted towards the latter). I’m assuming the batting order will be this:
1. Jeter, SS
2. Swisher, RF
3. Teixeira, 1B
4. Rodriguez, 3B
5. Cano, 2B
6. Posada, DH
7. Granderson, CF
8. Martin, C
9. Gardner, LF
Let’s get to the comparisons…
2010 Average AL Leadoff Hitter: .267/.330/.364/.694
2011 Derek Jeter CAIRO: .290/.360/.406/.766
A weakish projection from Jeter, but it’s still better than what our average leadoff guy did. The lack of power is expected from both, given the propensity of high-speed/low-power guys hitting in the first spot and Jeter’s aging/relative lack of power since 2007.
2010 Average AL Second Hitter: .265/.333/.400/.733
2011 Nick Swisher CAIRO: .260/.354/.470/.824
Second hitters offered a big improvement over the guys ahead of them in the lineup. Still, Nick Siwsher’s got a 91 point projected OPS advantage, and we shouldn’t be surprised. The dude’s a good hitter and is well suited for the number two spot: improved contact skills, great on base skills, and more-than-solid power.
2010 Average AL Third Hitter: .276/.355/.445/.800
2011 Mark Teixeira CAIRO: .276/.377/.515/.892
Conventional wisdom tells us that the team’s best hitter comes to bat third and we see that here (at least for now). This gap is just bigger than Swisher’s advantage over the average two hitter, so we’re still in very comfortable territory here.
2010 Average AL Cleanup Hitter: .275/.350/.477/.828
2011 Alex Rodriguez CAIRO: .281/.372/.526/.898
SURPRISE!!!! Cleanup hitters had the highest split OPS of any batting order position in the league. Compared to three hitters, they sacrificed a little bit of on-base percentage for more power. A-Rod, luckily, offers the best of both worlds. He can walk. He can hit for average. He can hit for power. He can do it all at the plate. Yawn.
2010 Average AL Fifth Hitter: .264/.333/.437/.770
2011 Robinson Cano CAIRO: .306/.355/.511/.866
After the peak from the cleanup hitter, we see the downturn already in the next spot. But, like usual, we see the Yankees’ guy in that spot projected to beat the average by a comfortable margin. Are you seeing the pattern here?
2010 Average AL Sixth Hitter: .257/.321/.419/.740
2011 Jorge Posada CAIRO: .267/.358/.458/.826
The gap here is a bit wider for Jorge; he’s got a much bigger OPS advantage (86 points) against the average sixth hitter than he did the average DH (68).
2010 Average AL Seventh Hitter: .249/.315/.394/.709
2011 Curtis Granderson CAIRO: .252/.335/.462/.817
Here is where we really see the biggest advantage the Yankees have over most other teams. Curtis Granderson would bat 1-4 (and could on the Yankees, at least theoretically) on any other team in baseball. But, on the Yankees, he’s the 7th place hitter. And he’s much better than your typical 7th place hitter.
2010 Average AL Eighth Hitter: .241/.305/.374/.679
2011 Russell Martin CAIRO: .263/.362/.380/.742
If Russell Martin can do that .362 OBP, I’ll be pumped. It gives him value over the average catcher and over the average eighth place hitter. He offers, though, similar power to both. Coincidence: both the average catcher and 8th place hitter slugged .374 in 2010.
2010 Average AL Ninth Hitter: .238/.295/.344/.639
2011 Brett Gardner CAIRO: .270/.358/.372/.730
So much for that double leadoff theory, huh? Well, it can still exist in theory–and does on the Yankees with Gardner–but it seems that most teams aren’t employing it. Gardner as a second table-setter is just awesome.
The moral of the story for the second day in a row: the Yankees are awesome at hitting. The lineup is going to be just fine, no matter who hits where.
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