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Sunday, March 09, 2008

MLB: Yost plans to bat Kendall ninth in order

Listening to the logic of it, Yost’s strategy makes sense. He said Saturday that he’s taking advantage of Kendall’s versatility and his propensity for hitting ground balls.

“We’ve done studies on this,” Yost said. “It’s not just that we come up one day and say, ‘You know, Jason Kendall’s gonna hit ninth.’

“You’ve had a lot of smart people looking at it and crunching numbers and seeing if, numbers-wise, it made sense.”

Those smart people decided that batting Kendall ninth, a departure from the conventional baseball wisdom of batting the pitcher in the final spot, did make sense. They thought it gave the Brewers an edge, which should translate into an opportunity to score more runs.

“More runs means more wins,” Yost said. “Sometimes, you’ve gotta get outside the box a little bit.”

Like batting Kendall 10th?

Repoz Posted: March 09, 2008 at 02:30 PM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers

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   1. Not Marv Cook Posted: March 09, 2008 at 03:06 PM (#2709123)
This is intriguing - and Kendall would seem to have the skill set for this (or lack therof, if you will). I'd love to see someone here with the smarts/time/computer skills crunch the numbers on this.
   2. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: March 09, 2008 at 03:15 PM (#2709130)
I'd love to see someone here with the smarts/time/computer skills crunch the numbers on this.


Jean Claude Van Damme enters. He hacks away at the keyboard for a minute. He becomes frustrated. He begins kicking the monitor while grunting. He breaks open the housing case and begins to headbutt the motherboard.

He says, "My studies have conclusively supported the strategy of batting Jason Kendall ninth in the batting order."
   3. John DiFool2 Posted: March 09, 2008 at 03:26 PM (#2709138)
2 teams batting the pitcher 8th now...are we in the midst of a sea change, and 10 years from now all NL pitchers will be batting 8th?
   4. jwb Posted: March 09, 2008 at 03:41 PM (#2709157)
In ten years, NL pitchers will be batting first because they don't clog the bases (Sips Knockando on the rocks, checks the temperature of solar heated pool, turns up St. Dominick's Preview).
   5. PASTE does not get put on waivers in August Posted: March 09, 2008 at 04:07 PM (#2709183)
In ten years, NL pitchers won't be batting.
   6. Gaelan Posted: March 09, 2008 at 04:16 PM (#2709189)
In ten years, NL pitchers won't be batting.


Fascist devil.
   7. Hurdle's Heroes (SuperBaes) Posted: March 09, 2008 at 04:37 PM (#2709199)
Numbers schmumbers; last year, Kendall went for .242/.301/.309, good for a 63 OPS+. He's a 34-year-old catcher who miserably failed an attempt at corner outfielding (not that his offense warrants even a backup corner OF spot). Making Kendall a roving catching instructor, teaching "toughness" in the way that Kevin Kennedy did for the Dodgers, or mercifully putting him down would make way more sense than giving him any playing time. Isn't there a Molina brother out there they could sign?
   8. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: March 09, 2008 at 04:57 PM (#2709208)
“More runs means more wins,” Yost said. “Sometimes, you’ve gotta get outside the box a little bit.”

Like batting Kendall 10th?


You're not far enough outside the box. Bat Kendall with the other team, that will improve the team's chances of winning.
   9. JL25and3 Posted: March 09, 2008 at 06:01 PM (#2709248)
Well, Ned Yost never had a lick o' sense. Pass the biscuits, please.
   10. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 09, 2008 at 06:06 PM (#2709251)
Was that Jason Kendall's bat they threw off the Tallahatchee Bridge?
   11. Repoz Posted: March 09, 2008 at 06:07 PM (#2709252)
In ten years, NL pitchers won't be batting.

I don't know if I can hold on that long...
   12. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: March 09, 2008 at 06:16 PM (#2709264)
Since then, the baseball book has been rewritten.

I laughed.

Seriously though, kudos to the organization. This makes me happy to be a Brewers fan. Of course, I'd be even happier if Kendall wasn't on the team at all, but no use crying over spilt millions.
   13. Danny Posted: March 09, 2008 at 06:24 PM (#2709271)
If Kendall's going to be in the lineup, 9th is probably the best spot for him. The guys at the top of the Brewers order have good power as well as OBP, and Kendall's going to be on base for them much more often than the pitcher would be. It's especially good if the alternative is batting Hardy second.
   14. DCW3 Posted: March 09, 2008 at 06:25 PM (#2709272)
This is intriguing - and Kendall would seem to have the skill set for this (or lack therof, if you will). I'd love to see someone here with the smarts/time/computer skills crunch the numbers on this.

Using the ZiPS projections for the Brewers lineup in conjunction with Cyril Morong's Lineup Analysis tool, all of the most productive projected lineups have Kendall batting ninth.
   15. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: March 09, 2008 at 07:35 PM (#2709302)
Whichever of Tango/MGL/Dolphin did the lineup chapter in The Book found that there really was a "second leadoff hitter" benefit to putting the pitcher in the 8-spot. Well-done Ned Yost.
   16. Fender Posted: March 09, 2008 at 07:45 PM (#2709307)
Using the ZiPS projections for the Brewers lineup in conjunction with Cyril Morong's Lineup Analysis tool, all of the most productive projected lineups have Kendall batting ninth.
Yes, and if you select "1998-2002 model", they say the pitcher should bat eighth.

If you select "1959-2004 model", however, they say that the pitcher should bat sixth. Errrr?
   17. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 09, 2008 at 07:48 PM (#2709309)
This is the aspect of Ned that baffles me. He is clearly reading and looking to incorporate different approaches.

And then in other areas he determines a course of action in March and refuses to change as the plan collapes into dust.

Sigh................
   18. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: March 09, 2008 at 10:14 PM (#2709359)
Yes, and if you select "1998-2002 model", they say the pitcher should bat eighth.

If you select "1959-2004 model", however, they say that the pitcher should bat sixth. Errrr?


What numbers are you using for pitcher?
   19. Fender Posted: March 09, 2008 at 10:36 PM (#2709369)
The exact same numbers as in the original link. All I changed was the model.
   20. BDC Posted: March 09, 2008 at 11:00 PM (#2709377)
I typed in the 2000 Colorado Rockies and the tool was about evenly split on whether the pitcher should bat sixth or ninth. The best lineup, according to the tool, was Walker, Helton, Neifi, Hammonds, Cirillo, pitcher, Mayne, Lansing, Goodwin for 5.716 runs per game. (The real '00 Rockies scored 5.98, perhaps because they weren't batting Neifi third and the pitcher sixth :)

I think the tool needs a leetle bit of fine-tuning.
   21. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: March 09, 2008 at 11:04 PM (#2709380)
Ah, right. Anyway, I blogged about this today, and it doesn't matter whether you have Yovani Gallardo (a legitimate hitter: .268/.475 last year) or Ben Sheets (worse than your sister: .056/.041 over the last three years) batting as the pitcher; Kendall should still hit ninth.

98-02 model:
Gallardo sixth: 12/30
Gallardo eight: 17/30
Gallardo fifth: 1/30
Sheets eighth: 30/30

59-04 model:
Gallardo sixth: 4/30
Gallardo sixth: 26/30
Sheets sixth: 1/30
Sheets ninth: 29/30

I don't know enough about the differences between the two models to have an informed opinion, but it would appear that perhaps the Brewers should not always bat Kendall ninth.
   22. Shock Posted: March 09, 2008 at 11:19 PM (#2709388)
Kudos to the Brewers. It will be interesting to see how long they stick with this.
   23. jmp Posted: March 09, 2008 at 11:55 PM (#2709409)
I wonder if Ted Simmons had any influence on this. A local radio station had Yost on after it was announced that Simmons was joining the team, and Yost raved about how intelligent Simmons was and how he analyzed the game. Drew Olson, former beat writer and now host of this radio show, mentioned how Simba would sit and deconstruct games when he was here in Milwaukee.
   24. BeanoCook Posted: March 10, 2008 at 12:02 AM (#2709411)
Numbers schmumbers; last year, Kendall went for .242/.301/.309, good for a 63 OPS+. He's a 34-year-old catcher who miserably failed an attempt at corner outfielding.....mercifully putting him down would make way more sense than giving him any playing time.


I can read too. I realize Kendall had the worst year of his career last year. But if you look a little closer, Kendall only struggled over the 1st half of the season in Oakland. Once he moved to the NL, he was fine with the Cubs (.270 .362 .356). Kendall is certainly in decline, his performance with the Cubs and the preceding 2 years are more "in-line" with what to expect from him in 2008, than the 80 game sample with Oakland to start the year. No way Kendall is going to put up the 63 +OPS over a full season. Also, if you go back just 2 seasons, Kendall had a full season of .295 .367 .342 in the AL. This is not great, but there is value in that.

Kendall will have value this year. What happened to the people that used to destroy people around here for acting like a 80 game sample was representative?

Same goes for Gagne too. The crybaby Red Sox fans act like Gagne is going to suck royally. No. Gagne will be right around 60 IP and a 3.80 ERA.
   25. Greg Pope Posted: March 10, 2008 at 12:04 AM (#2709412)
Kudos to the Brewers. It will be interesting to see how long they stick with this.

The problem is that if the advantage is 2-5 runs per year, then that's about a run every two months. Who's going to notice that? Also, what's the variance? If the Brewers are projected to score 750 runs on the year with the pitcher batting 9th, isn't it more likely that they'll score either more than 760 or less than 745 than it is that they score 752?

What's most likely is that in April one of two things happen:

1. The 8th spot comes up with runners on base in close games about 10 times during the month and the pitcher doesn't drive in the runs. If about half of them Kendall leads off the next inning with a hit. MSM says that it's costing the Brewers games and the experiment is scrapped.

2. The pitcher makes a lot of inning ending outs and Kendall gets driven in a lot by the top of the order. MSM says that the Brewers are geniuses.

I suppose that a third option is that the Brewers don't really stick with it for reasons of their own.
   26. grandcosmo Posted: March 10, 2008 at 12:04 AM (#2709413)
>>>I think the tool needs a leetle bit of fine-tuning.

Was that a Gabby Hayes reference???
   27. BeanoCook Posted: March 10, 2008 at 12:18 AM (#2709420)
1. The 8th spot comes up with runners on base in close games about 10 times during the month and the pitcher doesn't drive in the runs. If about half of them Kendall leads off the next inning with a hit. MSM says that it's costing the Brewers games and the experiment is scrapped.


I can see the MSM and joe fan more focused on what we are "losing" by having the pitcher 8th. In fact, every time the pitcher is batting and fails at something, 90% of the time no matter where he is in the lineup, the fans and MSM will act like that is because of the 8th spot. When normally when the pitcher fails 90% of the time in the 9th spot, nobody notices.

The best hope here is that Milwaukee media is small and weak. I bet the Brewers could ride it out, unlike the MSM and fans that forced the Red Sox to back down from the closer committee plans.
   28. Hobo Hal Posted: March 10, 2008 at 03:10 AM (#2709507)
FWIW, Kendall is batting somewhere around .330 in the small sample of spring training and is 2 for 2 throwing out runners (I believe). His lack of power is meaningless on the Brewers.

I wonder what the league batting average is for the catching positon. The Brewers were #1 in HRs and #4 in slugging, so he can slap singles.

And no, unless he is hidden somewhere in Latin America, there are no Molina brothers available.
   29. Justin T drives a crooked hoss Posted: March 10, 2008 at 03:53 AM (#2709527)
FWIW

Zilch. Nada. Zero.

His lack of power is meaningful to the Brewers, there's no such thing as too much offense. Not that it's really worth focusing on that single aspect of his game, since he has a lack of everything useful in a baseball player.
   30. crict Posted: March 10, 2008 at 04:31 AM (#2709542)
Won't the theoretical benefit of this lineup be erased by the fact that the pitching spot will come up earlier, which will result in a) starters being pinched it for earlier or b) some pinch hitting situations will be removed as starters will be left in the game?

I have not read much on this, so sorry if it was covered.

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