FanPost

Best Lineup vs RHP - Chicago Cubs

At my site, I have been running an exercise to come up with the most productive lineup for each MLB team. The exercise uses my baseball simulator to play actual games and report the results. The most recent team I looked at was the Chicago Cubs. I am first looking at how the Cubs should stack their lineup against only a RHP. I will break the results down in to different segments, where each segment has a different set of specs on how the lineup is to be constructed. For example, the Cubs have four left handed and four right handed hitters. In order to protect their lineup from the LOOGY, I am going to come up with a best lineup where the left handed batters hit 2-4-6-8 and 1-3-5-7. I will also submit a best lineup that has one set of back to back left handed hitters max. These three constructions will also have the pitcher batting 9th. And finally, I will have the simulator determine the best overall lineup with no limitations to how the lineup is constructed. You may see four lefties hitting together and maybe the pitcher batting 8th. In the end I will compare how these lineups do versus the default lineup from MLB Depth Charts. Feel free to leave a lineup below in the comments and I will run it through the simulator and report how well/bad it does.

Keep in mind that the input projections I am using are from Bill James and the input projections go a long ways in determining which lineup is the best. The starting nine players are determined by taking the starting lineup projections from MLBDepthCharts. Each lineup is ran against a baselined opponent who is the home team, so all things are kept constant except for the shuffling around of the Cubs lineup. Each game is simulated 2 million times and the best lineup is determined by how many of those 2 million games are won. Let's take a look at the results and then analyze a little bit what is going on.

Results will be measured by wins per 162 games better/worse than the default lineup. A positive number means that the lineup is better than the default lineup.

First a look at the default lineup from MLBDepthCharts

1. David DeJesus (L)
2. Nate Schierholtz (L)
3. Anthony Rizzo (L)
4. Alfonso Soriano (R)
5. Starlin Castro (R)
6. Ian Stewart (L)
7. Welington Castillo (R)
8. Darwin Barney (R)
9. Pitchers Spot
Measure: 0.00


2-4-6-8 - And here is the best lineup batting lefties in the 2,4,6, and 8 spot.

1. Starlin Castro (R)
2. David DeJesus (L)
3. Darwin Barney (R)
4. Anthony Rizzo (L)
5. Alfonso Soriano (R)
6. Ian Stewart (L)
7. Welington Castillo (R)
8. Nate Schierholtz (L)
9. Pitchers Spot
Measure: -1.19


1-3-5-7 - And the same, except for lefties hitting in the 1,3,5 and 7 spots.

1. David DeJesus (L)
2. Darwin Barney (R)
3. Anthony Rizzo (L)
4. Starlin Castro (R)
5. Nate Schierholtz (L)
6. Alfonso Soriano (R)
7. Ian Stewart (L)
8. Welington Castillo (R)
9. Pitchers Spot
Measure: +0.12


Semi-LOOGY Proof Lineup - No more than one set of back to back lefties.

1. David DeJesus (L)
2. Darwin Barney (R)
3. Anthony Rizzo (L)
4. Starlin Castro (R)
5. Nate Schierholtz (L)
6. Ian Stewart (L)
7. Alfonso Soriano (R)
8. Welington Castillo (R)
9. Pitchers Spot
Measure: +0.22


Back Of The Napkin: Using the criteria of the pitcher having to bat 9th, the default lineup is not too bad. But it does bat three lefties in a row (1,2,3) at the top of the order making it vulnerable to a LOOGY. The lineup batting lefties 2-4-6-8 doesn't do too well. My guess is because it has Castro batting leadoff and Barney third. And yes, the simulator liked this lineup more than the lineup where you'd flip Barney to leadoff and Castro to third. The 1-3-5-7 lineup does pretty good as it improves upon the default lineup and doesn't have any lefties hitting back to back. The Semi-LOOGY lineup adds another tenth of a win (per 162 games), which is obviously not worth the bother, to the 1-3-5-7 lineup and the only difference between the two is the position of Soriano and Stewart in the 6th and 7th spots.

Now let's through all lineup construction limitations out the window and let the simulator come up with what lineup it feels is the best.

1. David DeJesus (L)
2. Starlin Castro (R)
3. Anthony Rizzo (L)
4. Nate Schierholtz (L)
5. Ian Stewart (L)
6. Alfonso Soriano (R)
7. Welington Castillo (R)
8. Pitchers Spot
9. Darwin Barney (R)
Measure: +0.34

Skinny: And there you are. The Cubs most efficient lineup when facing a RHP. This is prety much the same lineup as the Semi-LOOGY one, with the only difference being that Darwin Barney is dropped from the two hole to last and everyone behind Barney bumped up one spot. This just goes to show that pretty much every NL team has something to gain (some more than others) by batting the pitcher 8th - and here you have just that.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Al Yellon, managing editor (unless it's a FanPost posted by Al). FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans.

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