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Optimal Yankees lineup: Jeter bats 6th

Mar 18, 2010, 3:15 PM EDT

Sky Kalkman at ESPN’s TMI blog (really?) has run the numbers, and thinks this is the optimal Yankees lineup for 2010:

1. Nick Johnson
2. Mark Teixeira
3. Curtis Granderson
4. Alex Rodriguez
5. Robinson Cano
6. Derek Jeter
7. Nick Swisher
8. Jorge Posada
9. Brett Gardner

My sources tell me that Mr. Kalkman has been placed in protective custody so that no small-ball lovers and/or Derek Jeter fanboys will be able to do him bodily harm for disrespecting their particular crushes so thoroughly and completely.

But everyone should really relax because we’ll never see that lineup.  Joe Girardi is angling for a new contract this year. The only thing that would better ensure his departure than batting The Captain 6th would be turning heel, smacking John Sterling with a metal chair during an interview, and donning a Red Sox Mexican wrestling mask while making devil horns or something.

No, forget that. A lot of people would dig the whole hitting-Sterling-with-a-chair/devil horns thing. Batting Jeter 6th would be the ultimate career suicide.

  1. BC - Mar 18, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    Here’s my take:
    1. Derek Jeter, 2. Nick Johnson, 3. Mark Teixeira, 4. Alex Rodriguez, 5. Robinson Cano, 6. Jorge Posada, 7. Curtis Granderson, 8. Nick Swisher, 9. Brett Gardner.
    This way you avoid having four lefties in a row 6-9. Against lefties you could throw Randy Winn in for Granderson or Swisher, or put him in there anyway if either one of those guys slumps.

  2. Jonny5 - Mar 18, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    Tex 2nd? Really? Are you kidding me? He’s like #3-4 Behind Jeter for sure. Is this dude trying to get attention? Captcha: Wang ajax No Ajax is getting near my wang. Heavens no.

  3. FreshNatty - Mar 18, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    If you read the entire blog he explains it pretty well. Truthfully it does make sense, it will never happen because it is unorthodox and Jeter.

  4. Mark - Mar 18, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    If you’re going by optimal lineup, your most important hitters bat 1, 2, and 4. The #3 hitter comes up the most times with nobody on, which is why it put the better hitter (Tex) second and the inferior hitter who hits lots of home runs (Granderson) 3rd. Johnson’s 1st cause of OBP, Cano’s 5th for his mix of BA/power. 6-8 are basically your next best hitters in descending order. And the #9 guy is a low power high OBP bat so your #2 guy comes up with RISP.
    It makes sense in a way. I wouldn’t do it, but I understand why he came up with that as the optimal lineup.

  5. PinstripedHippie - Mar 18, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    That’s a dumb-ass line-up. Put a guy who can’t hit lefties batting third? A guy who couldn’t outrun John Sterling at lead-off? Texeira in the 2-hole? LMFAO!!!!!

  6. Charles Gates - Mar 18, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    My captchpa: much stopcock
    Who woulda thought that anti-spam would be so entertaining?

  7. d - Mar 18, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    I wonder what Dave Pinto’s lineup optimizer has as the best lineup
    marshals york

  8. Dan - Mar 18, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    Maybe he used the Lineup Analysis tool over at Baseball Musings? I think the idea is that you want to get the right combination of OBP and SLG up as many times as you can. Not sure why Granderson would be 3rd then, but it’s an idea.

  9. Jonny5 - Mar 18, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    “If you’re going by optimal lineup, your most important hitters bat 1, 2, and 4. The #3 hitter comes up the most times with nobody on, ”
    Not on the Yankees with Jeter as leadoff. That’s why I’d put tex 3-4.

  10. scatterbrian - Mar 18, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    Well it’s not like he said they should bat Rodriguez 8th…..
    ReCaptcha: cranking April

  11. scatterbrian - Mar 18, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    Dan: there’s a long explanation of the optimized lineup here:
    (47 resumes)

  12. indy_ralph - Mar 18, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Asked and answered. Read “The Book” by Tango, Lichtman, Dolphin. #3 spot is fourth most important, behind 1, 2 and 4 spots. Although the difference is marginal and the dynamic changes when your 9th hitter is not your worst (a la Tony La Russa.)

  13. Geek - Mar 18, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Here is my take. WIth this team you could put the names in a hat and draw the lineup and they will still score on average 6 runs per game.

  14. Curious George - Mar 18, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    “Not sure why Granderson would be 3rd then, but it’s an idea.”
    I haven’t read the article, but the lineup harkens back to one of Bill James’ Abstracts back in the early 80’s, where his analysis suggested looking at a lineup in two pieces: a top half and a bottom half. Each half would start with table-setters and end with table-clearers.
    Granderson, whose strength lies more in SLG than OBP, is more a table-clearer than a table-setter. And because he’d bat third, he’d be guaranteed at least one AB (i.e., in the first inning) where he wasn’t functioning in a table-setter mode.
    And I’m not sure it’s “an idea” so much as the output from a dispassionate model.

  15. tgd10 - Mar 18, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    I like BC’s lineup, except that I think Granderson should bat ahead of Posada. You don’t want to slow Granderson down by putting slower-than-molasses Posada on the basepaths in front of him.

  16. scatterbrian - Mar 18, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    What would be interesting is if we were presented the ZIPs projections for the Yankees (OBP, SLG and maybe some speed component) and then come up with the optimal lineup. I think we sometimes get hung up on names when we should focus more on skill sets.
    (Three choking)

  17. InnocentBystander - Mar 18, 2010 at 10:43 PM

    Another cheap, unnecessary shot at the great John Sterling. Please, please…Suzyn Waldman is the one you need to attack.

  18. mcgatman - Mar 19, 2010 at 1:15 AM

    el duque, is that you?

  19. Sterling Stinks - Mar 19, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    The imagery of John Sterling getting whacked in the heads with a chair is priceless.

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