More fun with Tiger lineups..

I was recently reading a good article over at Detroit News talking about lineup options for the Tigers into the ’07 season ending with a lineup suggestion by Lynn Hennings, as well as a follow up over at the Detroit Tiger Weblog. Both had very good information showing optimal lineups for the Tigers, etc. However one comment at the end of the post caught my attention.

Plus, the fact of the matter is a standard lineup barely exists anyways. Between rest days, platoons, and injuries teams typically use more than 100 different lineups during the season (Jim Leyland used 120 different lineups in 2006).

As billfer points out, there were 120 different lineups throughout the Tigers ’06 season of 161 games. That is quite a bit of dissimilarity between lineups throughout the year, but it didn’t seem to me like that was really true. There were certainly many things that stayed the same, such as Granderson at leadoff. So I decided to dig a bit deeper to answer for myself:

  • How much similarity was there between lineups in ’06?
  • How did each of these lineups fare points wise?
  • What are we likely to actually see next year?

Here is what I found out.

Lineup Order Frequency

Turns out that by limiting your look at the lineups to the top 5 spots you get a much better look at the heart of the Tigers lineup and some idea into Leyland’s mind. Limiting the lineup in such a way shows that there were 55 unique configurations throughout the season, though for the most part there wasn’t all that much repetition. The below graph shows for each separate lineup how often that lineup was seen more than once. Note: This does not show the 32 lineups that were only seen once.

This shows that one single lineup was used 51 times, or around 31.6% of the overall games, after that the next closest was 9 times. In addition, 129 of the total games played had a lineup that was used at least one other time; around 80.1% of all games. This is now starting to show that there was quite a bit of regularity throughout Leylands lineups.

Now lets take a look at what some of these lineups are by peering into the lineups used 7 times or more, which amounts to a total of 3 lineups. The top lineup, at 51 occurrences, is a lineup I’m sure you are all familiar with (Lineup 1):

  1. Granderson
  2. Polanco
  3. Rodriguez
  4. Ordonez
  5. Guillen

Average runs scored per game: 4.76

The next lineup at 9 occurrences was (Lineup 2):

  1. Granderson
  2. Monroe
  3. Young
  4. Ordonez
  5. Guillen

Average runs scored per game: 4.78

Then the last at 7 occurrences was (Lineup 3):

  1. Granderson
  2. Polanco
  3. Rodriguez
  4. Ordonez
  5. Thames

Average runs scored per game: 3.43

Lineup Frequency by Batting Order

While looking at overall lineups was interesting and showed more frequency than I had expected it still depended a large amount on position and players playing which changes often as Leyland rests players or puts in other players based, for instance, on a proven track record against a given pitcher.

So next I wanted to look at each batting order individually to see how often, regardless of the other players in the lineup, the position was filled by a single player. Doing this brought out quite a bit more understanding of the frequency of the lineup. Below is a chart outlining, for every game, the number of times a player started in the lineup at a particular position. Certain players pop out very quickly.

To get a better look at each position I’ve broken out the stats showing the percentage each player started at a particular batting order number.

    Batting Order Position #1

  • 86.34% – Granderson
  • 07.45% – Polanco
  • 02.48% – Inge
  • 01.86% – Rodriguez
  • 00.62% – Santiago
  • 00.62% – Infante
  • 00.62% – Perez
    Batting Order Position #2

  • 58.39% – Polanco
  • 19.88% – Monroe
  • 08.07% – Rodriguez
  • 05.59% – Thames
  • 03.11% – Inge
  • 01.86% – Infante
  • 01.86% – Gomez
  • 00.62% – Perez
    Batting Order Position #3

  • 59.63% – Rodriguez
  • 09.32% – Thames
  • 08.70% – Young
  • 07.45% – Monroe
  • 06.21% – Casey
  • 02.48% – Wilson
  • 01.86% – Guillen
  • 01.86% – Infante
  • 01.24% – Inge
  • 00.62% – Gomez
  • 00.62% – Stairs
    Batting Order Position #4

  • 94.41% – Ordonez
  • 01.86% – Thames
  • 01.86% – Young
  • 01.24% – Guillen
  • 00.62% – Monroe
    Batting Order Position #5

  • 81.37% – Guillen
  • 05.59% – Thames
  • 04.97% – Young
  • 01.86% – Gomez
  • 01.24% – Rodriguez
  • 01.24% – Casey
  • 01.24% – Shelton
  • 00.62% – Monroe
  • 00.62% – Inge
  • 00.62% – Infante
  • 00.62% – Hannahan

Tigers 2007 Lineup

I don’t see Leyland making major changes to the lineup structure, yes they have added Sheffield and he will be prominent but I’d bet that most players will stay where we saw them last year. This would be my projection:

  1. Granderson
  2. Polanco
  3. Sheffield
  4. Ordonez
  5. Guillen
  6. Casey
  7. Rodriguez
  8. Monroe
  9. Inge
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4 Responses to More fun with Tiger lineups..

  1. Kurt says:

    Very good info, and I’m apt to agree with you that Leyland won’t make big changes, and your lineup looks quite reasonable to expect, but I would like to see Leyland get Guillen third, or even second, in the lineup.

    Something like

    Or whatever, just to maximize the at-bats for those big three, especially sheff and guillen.

  2. deho75 says:

    Why not
    2) Polanco
    3) Sheffield
    4) Ordonez
    5) Rodriquez
    6) Granderson
    7) Casey
    8) Monroe
    9) Inge

  3. Eric Jackson says:

    Thanks Kurt. I’d agree that this would not be my lineup of choice, but I don’t have a problem with it.

    Looking it over makes me want to see the Tigers lineup w/ Sheffield in action!


    I’m not sure there are many ways to go wrong. That list looks like pretty close to a list of first – last in .OBP.

    What my overall goal was when listing the lineup was take a look back at leylands thoughts from last year to project what Leyland would put out there as his lineup. Cannot wait to see what happens.

  4. Pingback: The Detroit Tiger Weblog » Blog Archive » Even more about lineups

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