Monday, January 13, 2014

Digging Deeper with the Double Play

This post is essentially a repository for results about the impact of double plays on an office. These results are helpful for understanding various results of what lineups are better than others. I refer to some results are RoyalsReview, but my technical skills aren't sharp enough to figure out how to get them onto the post I wrote there.

The first plot shows the number of double play opportunities (DPO) per slot in the lineup, relative to the average number of DPOs each player sees (thus +0.1 is 10% more opportunities, -0.1 is 10% less). Some of the data come from The Book (Tango et al) from MLB data from 1999-2002, the other results come from my lineup simulator. Slots 2 and 3 face the maximum number of opportunities. Slots 1 and 9 face the minimum. Don't pay attention to the "wOBA" lines-- they're for another post here.

There's also the matter of how much each double play costs the team. Double plays in the heart of the order matter more than double plays in the 6/7 spots, because there's not a lot of offense that comes out of the 8/9 spots. The run value of a double play in the 9 spot is so high because we're about to turn over in the lineup and get to (supposedly) good batters at the top of the order.

Combining these two results together, the 3-spot is still the most important slot for double plays, but the 4-spot isn't far behind. My statement that Butler faces too many DPOs in the 4 spot was reductive. In the four-spot, there are slightly more DPOs, but the cost per double play is maximal. The cost per double play in the 3-spot seems strangely low: this is because the third spot is the least important spot of the first five. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but I'm preparing a post with supporting evidence soon (or you can read the chapter on lineups in The Book, which comes to the same conclusion).

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