Yesterday I was so pain-stricken by Willie Randolph's batting order I basically became physically ill.
Today I learn from helpful reader Doug that Willie may be right
. Or at least, there's no need to crash your car in anger over something as trivial as batting order. Because batting order, indeed, may be trivial. I give you this article
, which cites the research of one Mark Pankin, "a financial adviser based in Lincoln, Va., [who] has developed one of the most advanced computer models of lineup behavior."
According to Pankin, batting order essentially doesn't matter. The run differentials between different lineups end up being something like a mere three runs or so over the course of the season, not even worth a half a game in the standings. Although a layman (such as myself) might believe that a lousy guy nearer to the top of the lineup -- say, a Paul Lo Duca -- would end up getting more at bats than a better guy further down -- say, a David Wright -- and cost the team runs, the effect must be small. And it might be offset by the relative weakness you create in later innings with a bunch of stiffs coming up consecutively.
At least according to Mark Pankin. Who has done way more research in the matter than I have, so I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Congratulations, Willie Randolph. For reasons you may not comprehend nor choose to ever learn about or believe, you've won this round against an anonymous blogger of whom you've never heard.
Labels: batting order, willie randolph