Back in October, I wrote an article on the possibilities for the 2012 lineup. I enjoy writing posts like that, but that one was probably the most negatively received piece I’ve written since I started writing on the Internet. So what am I going to do? Revisit it, of course. The roster has changed some with the (unfortunate) subtraction of Jesus Montero and the additions of Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez to DH against lefties and righties respectively.
You can probably guess what the regular lineup that Joe Girardi will employ will be:
Honestly, there’s not too much wrong with this lineup combination. It’s going to hit a lot and it’s going to score a lot of runs. For better (vs. LHP) or worse (vs. RHP), Derek Jeter has the leadoff spot locked down and since Curtis Granderson hit so well out of the 2 spot last year, you know the manager is going to stick him there again. Robbie Cano’s been promoted to the 3 spot and Tex demoted to the 5. Swisher could bat anywhere in the lineup with his skillset, but he fits well in the 6 spot: he’s got power the bring home the on-base guys in front of him and the on-base ability to get on for the lefty/righty mashers right behind him. Ibanez and Jones will get on base enough and Martin has enough power to knock them in, and Brett Gardner will act as the proverbial “second leadoff” hitter out of the nine spot. But, since I like choices (even if I know they won’t come true), let’s look at some of the other ways Girardi could order the starting nine.
Using the CAIRO projections from RLYW, let’s take a look at the projected wOBAs for each player on the Yankees.
(PLAYER; wOBA VS LHP; wOBA vs. RHP)
Jeter: .347; .317
Granderson: .321; .382
Cano: .352; .375
Rodriguez: .371; .363
Teixeira: .379; .363
Swisher: .368; .348
Ibanez: .321; .355
Jones: .337; .315
Martin: .347; .323
Gardner: .303; .330
If we were to line them up by their platoon wOBAs, these are the lineups we’d get:
9. Gardner (assuming Justin Maxwell isn’t on the team; if he is, put him 8th [.326] and Granderson 9th)
Frankly, those lineups look pretty reasonable to me, but there are definitely reasons NOT to send this lineup out to the umpires. For example, the projections against lefties don’t exactly make a ton of sense. I’d imagine that Andruw Jones will out-wOBA Russell Martin. They’re also bullish on Rodriguez, who’s struggled against lefties for the last year and bearish on Granderson, who’s made very tangible adjustments to his game against lefties and can probably be counted on for a wOBA against lefties than a .321.
Yet another way we could take is the “optimized” lineup described here. In my first post from back in October, I did a semi-optimized lineup, so that’s what I’ll try to present below. The principle I’m sticking to is that your 1st, 2nd, and 4th hitters should be your best:
6. Rodriguez (so low due to struggles vs. LHP of late)
Jones could probably be moved higher since he’s probably going to smack the hell out of the ball against lefties and is likely to be one of the 4 best hitters against lefties on the team. The optimization also calls for your singles hitters to be lower so they can knock in the speedy runners who are supposed to be in front of them, but this lineup doesn’t feature many singles hitters, so that part of the strategy has more or less been abandoned
Granderson and Swisher offer a nice blend of on-base skill and power, so either one of them could go one or two. I picked Swisher first ’cause he’s a little bit better in terms of pure on-base skill. The rest of it falls pretty simply and looks similar to the lineup I suggested in October (as does the lineup vs. LHP). This one, unlike the LH one above, does get back to the speed-and-then-singles theory, with Gardner and Jeter in front of Martin (who is, admittedly, a bit more than just a singles hitter).
Don’t get me wrong, I have no delusions that Girardi will use any of these alternate lineups. And, I have no delusions that these lineups would represent a sizable upgrade over a non-optimized one on a macro level, maybe one win. Still, I think they’re fun to run through.
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