Leyland sets lineup and leadoff platoon

It appears that Jim Leyland has settled on a lineup that he might use some of the time depending on the handedness of pitchers. One thing he did settle on though is that for the time being Pudge Rodriguez will lead off against left handers and Curtis Granderson will lead off against right handers.

The knee jerk reaction from much of the sabermetric community will be to look at Pudge’s batting average heavy OBP (332 and 290 the last 2 seasons) and decry the move. But Detroit Tiger Tales earlier showed the splits that indicate this is a tactic worth at least trying. The Tigers with a right handed heavy roster have very little platoon flexibility and this is a way for Leyland to squeeze a little platoon advantage.

Plus, the few times that Rodriguez led off last year, it appeared he tried to show more patience at the plate. Whether or not that is sustainable (he has a lot of career at-bats working against him), and whether or not it leads to better results, are both huge questions. But if Leyland can help the team score more runs, and Rodriguez become a better hit, why not try it?

The lineup he’ll put out against right handers is: Granderson/Polanco/Sheffield/Guillen/Ordonez/Rodriguez/Casey/Monroe/Inge

And according to Danny Knobler, the players seem happy with the lineup, for whatever that’s worth.

As I’ve mentioned before, the order of the players in the lineup matters much less than which players are in it. This is because the Tigers lineup is quite balanced without real standout players, and without real black holes. Besides, Leyland will likely use over 100 different lineups this year. Last year the most common lineup used took the field all of 6 times.

2 thoughts on “Leyland sets lineup and leadoff platoon”

  1. Hi, folks.

    I’ve been very surprised and disappointed by the hitting of the Tigers thus far in 2007, especially their hitting with runners on. I decided to look into it, and came up with own way of analyzing it.

    I used a point system (2, 1, 0, -1, -2) to score the quality of a plate appearance with a runner or runners on. Driving in a run or advancing a runner 2 bases scores 2, a hit or walk or HBP or anything that advances a runner 1 base without a forceout scores 1, putting the ball in play for a neutral out scores 0, striking out or ending the inning with a runner on scores -1, and a ground ball double play scores -2.

    Here are the 18-game results. Numbers shown are: Plate appearances with runner(s) – total points – average points per plate appearance – (number of productive plate appearances/percentage rate of success).

    POLANCO 37 – 17 .459 (20/54%)
    ORDONEZ 37 – 14 .378 (19/51%)
    RABELO 3 – 1 .333 (2/67%)
    GRANDERSON 23 – 6 .261 (9/39%))
    MONROE 29 – 7 .241 (13/45%)
    GUILLEN 36 – 3 .083 (15/42%)
    RODRIGUEZ 24 – 0 .000 (8/33%)
    CASEY 24 – 0 .000 (8/33%)
    INGE 27 – (-2) -.074 (8/30%)
    SHEFFIELD 40 – (-3) -.075 (14/35%)
    THAMES 8 – -1 -.125 (3/38%)
    INFANTE 6 – (-1) -.167 (2/33%)
    PEREZ 3 – (-1) -.333 (1/33%)

    TEAM TOTAL: 296 – 40 .135 (122/41%)

    Polanco is on fire, virtually carrying the team batting-wise. Ordonez is doing much better than his batting average would suggest; he’s getting the job done with men on. Monroe and Granderson could and should do better, but are head and shoulders above the Tiger norm, and round out the only 4 reliable batters so far. Guillen, despite some notable big hits, has in the main been a letdown. Rodriguez, despite some memorable clutch hits, has batted poorly with men on. Casey has been flat and unproductive. Inge and Sheffield have been abominable. Sheffield’s only saving grace has been the ability to draw walks; Inge’s, that he at least doesn’t kill innings with DPs the way Sheffield has. Thames and Infante haven’t set the world on fire in limited action, but their success rate is in line with the team’s, and they may have as many clutch hits in their 14 plate apparances as Sheffield and Inge have in 67.

    Only once have the Tigers hit well with men on and lost (Opening Day aganst Toronto). Only twice have the Tigers hit poorly with men on and and won (the victories over Baltimore). And it’s not just that the Tigers forget their bats every now and then – they’ve strung together 3-game and 4-game funks already. You might say that the pitchers have gone 13-5 for a 7-11 hitting team.

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