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Does the batting order matter?
2006-07-05 10:33
by Bob Timmermann

Dave Smith of Retrosheet tried to address this question in his presentation at SABR 36 in Seattle.

You can read the pdf version of his presentation here.

From 1957 through 2005, teams score the most runs per inning when the #1 hitter leads off, .55 runs per inning. Teams score the fewest runs when the #7 hitter leads off, .40 runs per inning.

The first inning is the run-scoringest inning of all. (That's a new word created by me.)

I found it interesting that in Dave's study, that there has been one game in the majors since 1957 where the leadoff hitter in the batting order did not bat leadoff. That was in this game in 1961 when the Angels #8 hitter, Gene Leek, thought he was supposed to bat first and lead off the game. Since he made an out, the Red Sox didn't care. The Angels figured it out by the second inning.

2006-07-05 11:03:03
1.   ScoobyGoo
in my opinion..even more important than the 1st inning being the most "runscoringest" is how badly home teams do in extra innings...i'm guessing that since they only need one run to win at that point they probably bother with that manufacturing runs nonsense
2006-07-05 11:17:29
2.   Bob Timmermann
You are correct about extra innings and Dave and other are trying to figure out ways to normalize that.
2006-07-05 11:46:19
3.   scareduck
I guess "runniest" was already taken?
2006-07-05 14:57:18
4.   Greg Brock
I'm trying to wrap my head around this, but I'm wondering how one would construct lineups to counter the "Least productive 7th batter leading off" phenomenon. Would it not, then, make sense to "reset" the lineup after the sixth batter, and attempt to put a quasi-leadoff type in the seven spot, and a contact-type two hitter in the eight spot?
2006-07-05 15:20:14
5.   Bob Timmermann
It's not that the 7th place hitter is so bad, but rather that fewer runs score because the hitters that come after him are really bad (and often times a pitcher).
2006-07-05 15:46:07
6.   Greg Brock
No, I understand why it's so. I guess I didn't explain my question properly. If the greatest setback to scoring is that particular type of inning (seventh hitter leading off an inning), it would stand to reason that the team who can best construct a lineup to counteract it would benefit. There must be some way to do a better job of scoring. Maybe moving the worst hitter to sixth in the order. I'm just spitballing here.
2006-07-07 10:36:54
7.   D4P
But what if, in the process of increasing the probability of scoring in one particular type of situation (e.g. the #7 hitter leading off), you decrease the probability of scoring in another situation (or situations)? Wouldn't that almost inevitably be the case?

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