links for 2009-07-02

by billfer on July 2, 2009 · 19 comments

in Links

 
 

{ 19 comments }

Andre in Chi July 2, 2009 at 11:47 am

Not sure where to place this comment.

With Granderson seemingly changing his approach to power vs OBP, has anyone seriously mentioned Inge to lead-off? I think somebody here (Coleman maybe) posted about how Inge is one of the rare examples of batters who improve the more times they face the same pitcher in a game. If that’s true, and he’s basically the best OBP behind Cabrera, wouldn’t it make sense to bat Inge lead-off?

Mark in Chicago July 2, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Dre,

Nice pic. Classic movie already, no?

IMO, Granderson is fine as the leadoff hitter, his OBP is about league average at .339, and he’s got good wheels. Inge would be a passable alternative, since he’s shown he can actually work the count and take a walk. At the end of the day, it probably doesn’t make much difference. Here’s a wild idea, how about hitting Granderson first and Inge second (or vice versa) and dropping Polanco to 7. Granted, you’ll get more strikeouts at the top of the order, but those guys will also see more pitches.

Here’s another wild idea: call up Jeff Larish, who is putting up nice numbers at Toledo: 293/425/435 (860 OPS). That .425 OBP is awfully nice and his wOBA is .396

Coleman July 2, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Granderson’s .339 OBP is deceptive here. When you look at his OBP when he is actually leading off, you get a different picture:

Leading off game: .283 OBP
Leading off inning: .307 OBP

I think you’ll find his .283 OBP / .566 OPS leading off games is dead last in the AL, or close to it; the league avg. is .328 / .717.

The other side of the coin is: take out the leadoff ABs and suddenly his BA/OBP look a lot closer to what he has done in the past.

Mark in Chicago July 2, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Good point, Coleman, but the #1 hitter in the lineup gets the most plate appearances, so you want that guy to have a good OBP over time, not just leading off a game/inning. He can only lead off a game once, and in most cases lead off another inning after that one – maybe two – more times.

That said, you’d like to see Granderson more effective leading off an inning, but it could just be one of those anomalies that is uncontrollable and fluctuates wildly over time, like batting average with RISP.

Coleman July 2, 2009 at 5:05 pm

I agree with your 1st point–and actually one of the reasons I was looking into Inge leading off in the 1st place was to get him more PA’s. That said, your argument would lead me to prefer Inge (.367 OBP) over Granderson (.339 OBP) at leadoff anyway…maybe the best solution would be to have them 1-2 (and it doesn’t hurt that they’re 1-2 in PPA also)…I’d try Inge as the 1 though…

As far as the anomoly idea, yeah, it’s hard to base much of anything on 50-some PAs. But this was something I’d kind of been looking for, since this was the case all LAST season also. If you look at last year’s numbers, you’ll understand why I found this year’s very familiar:

Leading off game: .195 .266 .345 .611 (124 games)

Leading off game .266 OBP
Leading off inning .336 OBP
Overall .365 OBP

It still could be an anomaly of course; but I’d rather have my money on the pattern of the last year-and-a-half continuing…

Andre in Chi July 2, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Carlos, not at the table.

Coleman July 2, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Guilty as charged…although stranger than I originally realized. Inge hits pitchers best his 3rd time (or maybe he’s a late-inning/clutch hitter?); he hits next best his 1st time; he’s worst his 2nd time.

It turns out–and again who knows which is the chicken and egg in this equation–Inge is absolutely useless in the 5th inning of games (usually his 2nd AB against the starter). I’ve never seen anything like it; it certainly doesn’t jump out at you watching the game (and why would it, I mean, who cares about the 5th inning?); you see big differences in 1st inning or 9th inning with a bunch of players, but 5th inning??

Inge, 5th inning, 2009:

.174 .355 .174 .529 HR-0 RBI-2

In other words throw out the 5th inning from every game, and Inge still ends up so far with 18 HR and 50 RBI.

I have a guess what might be behind it, which I got looking at the huge gap between BA and OBP. I think Inge goes up his 2nd time most of the time with a main objective of drawing as many pitches as possible (it’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it…) which leads to a lot of walks but also a lot of 2-strike counts and ends with not so many hits.

Mark in Chicago July 2, 2009 at 3:11 pm

“I have a guess what might be behind it, which I got looking at the huge gap between BA and OBP. I think Inge goes up his 2nd time most of the time with a main objective of drawing as many pitches as possible (it’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it…) which leads to a lot of walks but also a lot of 2-strike counts and ends with not so many hits.”

That’s a pretty good guess, Coleman, and it makes sense since it seems like nobody else on this team takes pitches any more.

Coleman July 2, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Except maybe Polanco (joking…I can’t tell if Leyland was or not when he mentioned Polanco has been “more patient” at the plate…considering his PPA is lower than the entire AL expect for Cano and Betancourt).

Inge: PA 306 Pitches 1270
Polanco: PA 311 Pitches 1049

That’s 221 more pitches–2 starter’s quality starts worth of pitches–without even adjusting for the difference in PAs.

I do have to kind of admire Polanco though–he pulls off the team low PPA, while at the same time also having the team low in 1st-pitch swinging. That can’t be easy…

Mark in Chicago July 2, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Scouting report on Polanco:

Throw strike 1
Throw next pitch near zone but borderline ball/strike
Face next batter

Coleman July 2, 2009 at 5:40 pm

I laughed, yet your comment can’t really be called a joke, since it seems to be true…man, are Polanco’s pitch stats WIERD. It’s just as well he doesn’t 1st-pitch hit too often, since he seems to have become bizarrely bad at it this season. But the pitchers I presume know this, so he’s likely to get a strike to start out. But he needs to get a ball–if he starts 1-0 he hits, if 0-1 not. Quite a dilemma…

1st pitch BA: .222
Starting 0-1: .200
Starting 1-0: .325

This seems new, and hopefully a fluke; his career 1-0 vs 0-1 is a much closer .306 / .282. And career 1st pitch he’s been .382…
At any rate he’s done after 1-2 pitches on 36% of his PAs…

Coleman July 2, 2009 at 3:09 pm

It also occurs to me now that the pitch-taking-5th-inning idea may also explain why Inge does well the 3rd time facing a pitcher–his previous at bat he has looked at a lot of his pitches. These are his 3rd time through numbers by the way:

.271 .407 .750 1.157 HR-7 RBI-15

Those 7 HR? That’s 48 AB we’re talking about…that’s 1 HR / 6.9 AB…

The Detroit Sports Question July 2, 2009 at 12:27 pm

We said the same thing about Inge leading-off. Why not try it after the All Star break.
His numbers prove he can do it. If it fails you still have Granderson. Tinker Leyland, tinker.

Vince in MN July 2, 2009 at 1:40 pm

He’s tried about 65 other batting orders, so it is kind of odd that he hasn’t had Inge lead-off already. Maybe he just hasn’t gotten around to it.

Coleman July 2, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Well Leyland has said he doesn’t want to move Inge and “mess with success,” so I’m doubting it…but at least he moved him down to 7th, then 6th, before he decided this; I think I’d be tearing my hair out if Inge were still batting 8th.

Inge did bat 1st for a good portion of 2005, and his numbers were decent–I would expect him to do better now, just because he is hitting better all-around now.

Inge batting 1st, career (328 AB):

.280 .364 .402 .767 HR-6 RBI-39 SB-4 CS-1
.280 .325 .560 .885 HR-5 R-14 (Leading off game, 80 games)

Actually the .767 OPS he has batting 1st is higher than his OPS batting anywhere else besides 6th, and I think the 6th numbers are skewed by most of these ABs coming this season…so it’s possible he may hit even better in the leadoff spot…

The reason I like the idea of Inge leading off over Granderson is one, to get Inge more ABs, especially since, with Inge leading the team in pitches he sees, this would increase pitch counts. The other reason is that for whatever reason Granderson has been awful starting off games; compare Inge’s numbers above with Granderson’s this season:

.192 .276 .288 .564 HR-1 R-7 (leading off game, 58 games)

He could improve, and small sample size and all that–but his numbers were almost as bad last season also, so I don’t expect he will. But I think it’s worth trying something else, rather than just accepting being one of the worst 1st-inning teams in baseball.

Andre in Chi July 2, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Could you walk us through your research process? Its ridiculously thorough. I hope you do this at work, it would then set up an Anchorman baxter-eating-entire-wheel-of-cheese scenario of your boss catching you researching on company time, but then reading your posts and being like, “I’m not even mad…I’m just impressed”.

Coleman July 2, 2009 at 4:48 pm

1. Find ridiculously long post of mine on subject from a week ago.
2. Check to make sure nothing wacky has happened in between
3. Re-post ridiculously long post changing numbers etc where needed
4. Toss in random bad joke if possible
5. Get back to online shopping on company time

(5 is a joke; see #4).

Actually I stumbled upon the Granderson 1st AB and Inge 5th Inning trends last season, so it wasn’t too hard to see it happening again…

Mike R July 2, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Thank you kindly for the link, Bill.

Coach Jim July 2, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Trading for a LH starter sounds like an interesting proposition. I’m not so interested in who they would get, as I am interested in who they would trade away.

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