Mini-Stat Watch: Lineups

Game starts in 30 minutes, get to the game now! – FA

A few weeks ago I made the case to switch McLouth and Dufek in the batting order, and at the time, it looked like a solid move on paper.  Now that we’ve had a few games to see how the switch is working out, I wanted to take another peak at the move.  Baseball, being a never ending game of adjustments, its good to look back at moves and make sure they’re working out right.

I will note that there have been a couple lineup adjustments that distort this data.  Alan Oaks is now healthy and McLouth had a tweaked ankle that kept him out of the starting lineup for a few game.  I think Maloney has tried to give Oaks more of a chance to take over the DH/RF duties as well.  This cause caused Urban to play more third base (removing Lorenz who hasn’t produced) and also taken some at bats from McLouth.

Graphs

Dufek Hitting Since Switch

McLouth

McLouth Hitting Since Switch

What I should point out to you is that the Dufek graph shows up to .900, while McLouth’s only shows to .300.  So yeah, Dufek’s is MUCH more impressive.  The question becomes why?

There’s a couple ideas that could describe this, but in reality its probably a little bit of each of these.  The first idea is that Dufek finally got hot (stats since the switch).  Perhaps he was just playing down the first few weeks, and now, he has finally found his swing.  I’d buy this at this point.  The second idea is Dufek is feeling less pressure behind LaMarre.  Not only is Dufek not having to try to knock LaMarre and other base runners in, but LaMarre has been on a tear himself, leaving very few base runners for the guys behind him.  Its a win-win situation when the big hitter is on fire.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have McLouth struggling (stats since the switch).  Outside of Siena Game 1 and Arizona Game 2, McLouth is just 2 for 17 hitting with one run, one RBI, and 5 Ks.  He’s not really lighting it up anymore.  Again, part of this has to do with LaMarre getting all the RBIs, but at the same time, the huge drop in McLouth’s average is noticeable.  I’m not sure if this is just him settling into the lineup after a hot start, or if this is closer to what we should expect from Jake.

Normally I’d say I don’t expect much of a change in the lineup, but with the addition of Alan Oaks coming back from early season sickness, I wouldn’t put it past Maloney to shuffle the lineup some more.  I see Oaks staying in the 7 hole for a while, eventually bumping Berset to the 8 when he returns.  That move makes the most sense as Oaks and Berset are projected to have the highest averages, but Oaks can offer a little more power to follow up the run producers above him.  As for Dufek and McLouth, I’d think Maloney sticks with the current lineup for a few more weeks, at least until we can get a better idea of what we can expect of McLouth on a day-to-day basis.

Urban to Third

Something else I’m watching with the lineups is Nick Urban’s defense at third base.  While it hasn’t been a problem yet, it’s only a matter of time until he registers an error or two.  Urban had been a second basemen before his time as an outfielder, so he does have infield experience.  Third base can be a bit tougher for infielders though, as they have less reaction time, and the ball comes off the bat at a slightly different way, causing trickier hops, more bend of line drives, and the potential for tougher slow roller plays.

I like the move as a fan.  This allows Oaks into the lineup in right field, and also takes Lorenz, the weakest regular starter over the start of the season, out of the lineup.  Nothing against Lorenz, he just doesn’t look ready to take the everyday duties.  And Urban, on paper, doesn’t look like a huge loss at third on defense.

Mid Week Preview

During the mid week, I’ll look at the team stats on offense.  It looks like we might have hit our season plateaus for batting average and on-base percentage.   They at least appear to have flattened out pretty well.  I’m still working on meaningful pitching statistics, but unfortunately, the inconsistency from everyone not named Fetter and the lack of a large number of statistics makes things tough.

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