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Saturday, January 22, 2005

Under Renovation

Like Dodger Stadium, the L.A. Dodger's '05 lineup is under renovation. Unlike the Stadium, there is no clear outcome yet in sight for the lineup.

I've meaning to link to this post at Tom Meagher's The Fourth Outfielder for a few days now. It's mostly about Cesar Izturis and how best to use him offensively, which leads to a very quick take on possible ways to construct the Dodgers' lineup. Meagher's look at Izturis' baserunning is educational for any baseball fan, as the principles he works from are applicable to all players. He also includes a great link to Tom Ruane's work on baserunning (a pdf file, Adobe).

Meager intends to do a detailed analysis of the Dodger lineup in the near future. Very near future I hope, as lineup construction is a fascination of mine and there doesn't seem to be a lot of good analysis of it available.

Here's how I'd set the Dodgers' batting order (after the players' names are their career AVG/OBP/SLG stats, and their number of career at bats)

  1. Milton Bradley        .265/.350/.416 AB — 1610
  2. Jayson Werth         .255/.329/.461 AB — 384
  3. J.D. Drew         .287/.391/.513 AB — 2415
  4. Jeff Kent         .289/.352/.505 AB — 6604
  5. Hee Seop Choi         .234/.356/.429 AB — 595
  6. Jose Valentin         .243/.321/.452 AB — 4842
  7. David Ross         .207/.292.411 AB — 299
  8. Cesar Izturis         .262/.293/.342 AB — 1801
  9. Pitcher
That concentrates on-base percentage and power in the top 2/3 of the lineup. The obvious question marks here are my placements of Werth, Choi and Ross. As you can see they are the least experienced players. I don't think we've really seen their upside yet.

I put Werth in the two-hole because he has some power and he sees a high number of pitches. I think he should hit for a better BA in the future, and draw more walks, making him a good bet to move Bradley, whose on-base skills are also rising, along.

I put Choi in the fifth spot because with Drew's patience and power and with Kent's contact skills and power in the 3 and 4 holes in front of him, there's a good chance Choi will come to the plate either with runners in scoring position, or as the lead-off batter in the second inning. In either case, you want someone with patience and power at the plate. Choi has both those things.

Ross? I'm hitting him 7th because he hit better in the minors than he did in L.A. last year, and any upside from him at all makes him a better bet than Izturis to drive in runs.

The change I might make in that lineup would be to switch Drew and Kent. But what do I know?

update: Edited title and first paragraph for sense. Apparently I don't know the difference between renovation and construction. I need a good copy editor; I can pay in nods and grunts of appreciation.

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