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A Summer of Sabermetrics

July 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

Sabermetrics is a term originally coined by Bill James, a baseball writer, historian, and statistician who described it as “the search for objective knowledge about baseball.” Through careful analysis of very specific batting, fielding, and pitching statistics, sabermetric analysts are able to calculate optimal line-ups and develop strategies that maximize a team’s chances of winning. The central focus in the now-classic book and blockbuster movie, “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game,” The Oakland Athletics organization has found great success utilizing Sabermetrics. Here at the First Base Foundation, we thrive being on baseball’s cutting edge, and have used Sabermetrics to generate wins all summer.

Interns, Connor Bruen and JP Nash – under the direction of First Base Foundation General Manager Noah Jackson – used the Warriors’ statistics in early July to create suggested line-ups for the California Warriors collegiate team. Here are a couple sample lineups from Connor and JP:

JP Nash’s Lineup & Analysis

Lead off: Merriwether, SS
Merriwether brings a very high OBP and has a good BB/K ratio. Then when he gets on base, he has a great speed and out of 10 attempts stealing, he has stolen 9 bases. This creates a high chance of getting the lead off hitter into scoring position. He has also been hot recently and so getting him up to the plate while he is still hot is important.

Second Spot: Karas, DH
Karas leads the team in many stats including RC, OPS, OBP, SLG, and ISOP. This made me wonder if he should go high up in the line up where he would get more ABs or in the 4th/5th spot where he will have a better chance of base runners in front of him. I decided that putting him second behind a great base runner that will be able to take advantage of Karas’ skills and give the team an early lead.

Third Spot: Jones, OF
The left-handed Jones will do well as a #3 hitter because he has a high OPS, and with his batting average at almost .400 he should be able to drive in the runners ahead of him. He has quite a few doubles so his strong bat should be able to score the speedy Karas and Merriwether. Another advantage of Jones this high up, is that he hasn’t hit into any double plays so far this season and therefore is unlikely to give the opposition a chance to get earlier hitters out.

Fourth Spot: Miguel, 3B
Miguel has a very good SLG and is a big threat to hit a ball deep for an extra-base hit or for a sacrifice to advance our base runners. He also has 8 stolen bases so has good speed and isn’t likely to clog the bases and creates scoring opportunities for following big hitters.

Fifth Spot: Snider OF
Snider is another big slugger. With 4 doubles, 4 Triples, and 2 Home Runs he has a very high RC and can knock in base runners from anywhere on the bases. He has 14 walks and 16 strikeouts so he does know how to battle and get the pitch count up. I think he should work well here and create a winning situation.

Sixth Spot: Leandro-Farr C
He hasn’t had too many at bats so far this season which is why I don’t have him higher in the line up but I have to respect his stat line and give him the start. He has a very good .433 batting average with a lot of power and will create runs.

Seventh Spot: Burke 1B
Burke is a great batter – his RC is an impressive 14.643 – but his BB/K rate is 13/3. This could be a sign of swinging too much or just not seeing the strike zone well, so when he turns this around, his great run-creating potential will help him climb back up the lineup.

Eighth Spot: Rabin 2B
Rabin is a strong hitter and can knock in runs and clear the bases at the end of the line up, as evidenced by his 0.891 OPS. Boosting his RC of 9.333 will move him up in the order.

Ninth Spot: Robinson OF
Robinson is a strong hitter and I have him last so that he has the chance to be on base for the top of the line up. He is very fast and won’t be clogging up the bases when Merriwether gets on right behind him. Even though he won’t have the opportunity to get as many at-bats, his high OBP will help create scoring opportunities. He doesn’t strike out often, and should do a good job of improvising ways to get home.

Connor Bruen’s Lineup & Analysis

Lead off: D. Karas, 3B
Leads the team in most categories. Has highest OBP (on-base percentage) on team and that’s important for a leadoff hitter. Has the highest RC (runs created) 21.490, which has the greatest correlation in runs scored per game. Can also be used as a DH. Highest OBP: 0.566, important as leadoff hitter. Also tied for second highest BB/PA (walks per plate appearance): .132. Will work count. Highest OPS (on-base plus slugging): 0.943 and highest SLG: (slugging): 0.929, ideally will lead off inning with extra base hit and advance on other balls in play. Highest ISO (isolated power): 0.452. BA (batting average): 0.476, BB/K (walks per strikeout): 1.400.

Second Spot: C. Snider, OF
Has second highest RC behind Karas. Leads team in K and BB but will work count and battle as a second hitter. Tied for second highest BB/PA: .132. Has the second highest RC: 19.621. BB/K ratio: .875. Fourth highest ISO: 0.202. BA: .326

Third Spot: C. Miguel , DH
Interchangeable at 3B and DH with Karas. Doesn’t walk or strikeout, therefore Miguel will put the ball in play. His outs will be productive. Third highest RC: 17.773. Very low K/AB: 0.069. Third highest ISO: 0.208, will move runners on base. OPS: 1.027, OBP: 0.430, SLG: 0.597, BA: 0.389. Doesn’t walk often but higher Batting Average helps his OBP.

Fourth Spot: B. Leandro-Farr, C
His high SLG and ISO show that he will move runners already on base. Has productive at-bats. His stats are best of catchers on the lineup. Second highest OPS: 1.027, OBP: 0.541, and SLG: 0.733. Second highest ISO: 0.300. Lowest K/AB: 0.067, second highest BB/K: 2.000. BB/PA: 0.108, BA: 0.433. RC: 11.000.

Fifth Spot: T. Jones, OF
Outfielders Jones and Robinson are very similar. Can be interchangeable in the lineup. F. Griffin would be my next outfielder of choice. Chose Jones over Robinson in lineup because he has a higher RC: 13.034 compared to 12.234. Other than that they are very similar. High BB/PA: 0.121. High RC: 13.034. OPS: 1.015, ISO: 0.157, BA:.392, BB/K: 1.000, SLG: 0.549, K/AB: 0.137.

Sixth Spot: K. Robinson, OF
Similar to Jones. Will get on base. Has highest BB/K on team: BB/K: 2.333, doesn’t strike out often. High RC: 12.234. K/AB is lowest in lineup: 0.053. Other stats: OPS: 0.944, BA: .386. Lowest ISO: 0.088 and SLG: 0.474.

Seventh Spot: C. Merriwether, SS
Not listed as SS but can move over easily from 2B. Has the best stats compared to any other 2B or SS. His RC: 11.607 has me batting him seventh. High BB/K: 1.333. Highest BB/PA: 0.133 in lineup. Will work count and reach base. Third highest OBP in lineup: .500. Other stats: OPS: 1.021, BA: .375, ISOP: 0.146.

Eighth Spot: R. Burke, 1B
Burke has a very high RC: 14.643, which gets him in the lineup. OPS: 0.881 and OBP: 0.375. K/AB: 0.16, BB/K: 0.231, BB/PA: 0.034.

Ninth Spot: K. Rabin, 2B
Has the best stats of 2nd basemen left in lineup. BB/K: 0.571. OPS: 0.891, RC: 9.333, LG: 0.480, ISO: 0.140. K/AB: 0.140