Monday, August 13, 2012

Checking in on the Giants' lineup

Earlier a wrote a few posts on what the SF Giants' optimal starting lineup should be using Basim, a baseball simulator I wrote.  A lot has changed since then, though--Posey has become much better, Blanco and Pagan have cooled off, and Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro have joined the club.  So, what should the Giants' lineup look like now?  What lineup do I hope they start tonight?

First off, here was my guess at their best lineup (once again assumin Zito is the pitcher):

1.  Buster Posey
2.  Brandon Belt
3. Melky Cabrera
4. Pablo Sandoval
5. Hunter Pence
6. Marco Scutaro
7. Angel Pagan
8. Brandon Crawford
9. Barry Zito

Running this lineup through the simulator*, it scored an average of 4.03 runs per game.

I then found that a random lineup (i.e. random ordering of the nine players) scored about 3.89 runs per game.  The lineups that the simulator liked the best generally had Posey, Belt, Cabrera, or Pence batting leadoff, which is unsurprising--each has either a high OBP or a high ground into double play rate that would be very painful in the heart of the order.  The single lineup that the simulator liked best** was the following:

1. Buster Posey
2. Angel Pagan
3. Hunter Pence
4. Brandon Belt
5. Melky Cabrera
6. Marco Scutaro
7. Pablo Sandoval
8. Brandon Crawford
9. Barry Zito

It scored an average of about 4.035 runs per game***.

I then looked at two lineups that were close to what I predict the Giants will run; they differ only in whether the Giants play Theriot or Crawford; the lineup Pagan, Scutaro, Cabrera, Posey Sandoval, Pence, Belt Theriot, Zito scored an average of 3.96 runs per game, while the same lineup but with Crawford batting for Theriot scored 4.00 runs per game on average.  So, it seems like about half the difference between my lineup and the one with Theriot just comes fromt the fact that Craword is better than Theriot.

Anyway, here's to hoping the Giants will do something smart.

*: For Pence and Scutaro I used their pre-Giants numbers.

**: This should be taken with a grain of salt--to actually find the best would take days of simulation; treat this as a lineup that is pretty close to the best.

***: FWIW, the ten best starting lineups, according to the simulatr (with the same caveat as **), in the form (lineup, average runs scored by lineup per game): [(['Buster Posey', 'Melky Cabrera', 'Brandon Belt', 'Marco Scutaro', 'Hunter Pence', 'Pablo Sandoval', 'Angel Pagan', 'Brandon Crawford', 'Barry Zito'], 4.0152400000000004), (['Brandon Belt', 'Buster Posey', 'Pablo Sandoval', 'Melky Cabrera', 'Hunter Pence', 'Angel Pagan', 'Brandon Crawford', 'Barry Zito', 'Marco Scutaro'], 4.0168675), (['Melky Cabrera', 'Buster Posey', 'Brandon Belt', 'Marco Scutaro', 'Pablo Sandoval', 'Brandon Crawford', 'Angel Pagan', 'Hunter Pence', 'Barry Zito'], 4.0179150000000003), (['Brandon Belt', 'Buster Posey', 'Pablo Sandoval', 'Melky Cabrera', 'Hunter Pence', 'Brandon Crawford', 'Angel Pagan', 'Marco Scutaro', 'Barry Zito'], 4.0218325000000004), (['Melky Cabrera', 'Brandon Belt', 'Marco Scutaro', 'Pablo Sandoval', 'Angel Pagan', 'Hunter Pence', 'Buster Posey', 'Brandon Crawford', 'Barry Zito'], 4.0219899999999997), (['Hunter Pence', 'Marco Scutaro', 'Buster Posey', 'Pablo Sandoval', 'Brandon Belt', 'Melky Cabrera', 'Angel Pagan', 'Brandon Crawford', 'Barry Zito'], 4.0253224999999997), (['Brandon Belt', 'Hunter Pence', 'Pablo Sandoval', 'Angel Pagan', 'Melky Cabrera', 'Brandon Crawford', 'Marco Scutaro', 'Buster Posey', 'Barry Zito'], 4.0315525000000001), (['Hunter Pence', 'Angel Pagan', 'Brandon Belt', 'Melky Cabrera', 'Buster Posey', 'Pablo Sandoval', 'Marco Scutaro', 'Brandon Crawford', 'Barry Zito'], 4.0322525000000002), (['Marco Scutaro', 'Pablo Sandoval', 'Brandon Belt', 'Melky Cabrera', 'Buster Posey', 'Hunter Pence', 'Brandon Crawford', 'Angel Pagan', 'Barry Zito'], 4.0353874999999997), (['Buster Posey', 'Angel Pagan', 'Hunter Pence', 'Brandon Belt', 'Melky Cabrera', 'Marco Scutaro', 'Pablo Sandoval', 'Brandon Crawford', 'Barry Zito'], 4.0365225000000002)]

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