Tinkering with the lineup, but not too much

Open Thread: March 8th Camp Notes
2011 Draft: Potential Signability Players

I’ve burned a good amount of pixels over the last few days talking about lineup makeup. I based my assumption for when Derek Jeter would get his 3000th hit on the fact that he’s going to bat leadoff and also explored how the Yanks’ lineup order doesn’t matter all that much. Tonight, Marc Carig throws an interesting tidbit into the mix.

The Yankees, he reports, will tinker with their lineup after their off-day next week, but they’re going to be conservative in the tinkering. He writes:

If Derek Jeter gets moved in the batting order, the Yankees captain won’t be bumped out of the upper-third of the lineup, hitting coach Kevin Long said Tuesday. “That’s not even an option,” Long said.

If that’s the case, should Yankees manager Joe Girardi decide to make a change and install Brett Gardner in the leadoff spot, Jeter’s most likely landing spot will be hitting second in front of No. 3 batter Mark Teixeira.

Even if there are shifts in the rest of the lineup, Long said the same general rule applies, with middle-of-the-order bats remaining in the middle of the order even if their exact order changes. “You know that Tex, Alex and Cano are going to be in the middle,” Long said. “You know in the beginning it’s going to be Jete, Gardner, Swish or Granderson. We know the pieces.”

On Monday, I linked to David Pinto’s Lineup Analysis Tool analysis for the 2011 Yankees based on Marcel projections, and it returned an interesting idea. The “ideal” Yankee lineup would look like this:

Gardner
Teixeira
Jeter
Cano
Rodriguez
Granderson
Swisher
Posada
Martin

Of course, Jeter’s not batting third, and Teixeira will not hit second, but you get the point. It would take something of a leap of faith for Girardi to slot Cano into the three or four hole this year; it would be a tacit admission that either Teixeira or A-Rod aren’t fit for their old spots. But it’s easy after 2010 to make the case that Cano could and should handle on of those spots.

Again, though, I’m left with the same conclusion I had on Monday: There is no wrong answer here. The Yanks are still projected for over 5.29 runs per game, and the 0.003 difference in runs per game isn’t worth upsetting anyone who might take offense. Still, as Spring Training plods toward Opening Day, the lineups might start to get more and more interesting as we go.

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Open Thread: March 8th Camp Notes
2011 Draft: Potential Signability Players
  • Plank

    They should have 2 set lineups depending on the handedness of the opposing pitcher.

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    I hate Jeter batting leadoff, but I would much much much rather him bat leadoff than second. What makes Girardi think Mr. Double Play himself should move back to the two hole?

    For the love of Mo, Jeter leads off and Gardner bats 9th vs. lefties and vice versa vs. righties. It’s so obvious it hurts.

    • mike c

      you won’t be calling for jeter to be batting 9th when he’s hitting .310 in september

      • Plank

        I really hope you’re right, but I would be shocked if Jeter ever hit .300 again.

        • Spaceman.Spiff

          Shocked? Might not be overly likely but shocked seems a bit strong.

          • Plank

            Haha, after I posted that I was gonna reply to my post saying shocked was too strong, and I should have written “surprised”.

            I guess I should have done it.

  • mbonzo

    I wouldn’t mind trying to bat Jeter second. If they can get Gardner to steal more bases there could very well be less double plays.

    My ideal lineup:

    1. Gardner L
    2. Jeter R
    3. Cano L
    4. Rodriguez R
    5. Teixeira S
    6. Granderson L
    7. Posada S
    8. Swisher S
    9. Martin R

    The idea behind my lineup is to keep Gardner and Granderson far apart, which would prevent other teams from effectively using a LOOGY for both guys. Putting Granderson in the middle of switch hitters, especially with two behind him, will prevent too many lefties from coming out. I also like Cano in the three hole because he’s a hit machine. Arod will see more pitches with Tex behind him, and assuming Granderson will have a good season, Tex should see some good pitches too.

    I highly doubt the Yanks will use this lineup.

    • joe

      +1

      i would switch Granderson with Swisher though.

    • Plank

      I would have no problems with that lineup.

      It wouldn’t be feasible politically because you can’t bat Swisher 8th.

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

        Didn’t Swisher bat 8th a lot in 2009?

        • Plank

          But his first year as a Yankee is different to 2011 when he is a reigning all-star. Not saying it’s right, just think it will create a shitstorm.

          Personally, I think players should do whatever the manager says. Swisher should have no say in where he bats just like Jeter should have no say in his batting position or defensive position.

          • mbonzo

            Of all the players, I don’t think Swisher would mind. Its Posada that might have a problem batting 7th. The fact is that you’re batting in a lineup full of allstars, so as long as you’re in it you should be happy. Of course you’ll never see Jeter or Arod or Tex bat lower than 4th or 5th because of seniority, and Cano because he’s so damn good.

  • Urban

    Bat Gardner second for the same reason the Yankees flipped Jeter and Damon a few years back and had Damon hit second. One last chance for Jeter to hit into a double play.

    • C-Mac

      Gardner doesn’t really have enough power to bat second though is the thing.

      • mbonzo

        Before his wrist injury he was slugging .418. He said that the injury affected his “power” the most. While .418 is not a lot, its enough for a number two hitter imo.

    • JU

      Gardner is not a 2 hitter. He also had some of his worst numbers batting there last yr. He is the prototypical leadoff hitter. What’s more, Jeter is not a leadoff hitter, and even when he would get on in front of Gardner, it would effectively neutralize Gardys best asset – speed. Jeter may not be the 2 hitter he used to be, but he still handles the bat well, and Gardys speed will limit Jeters double play tendencies in multiple ways. The fact that people are trying to devise ways to keep Jeter in the leadoff spot is a bad sign. A sign that they are constructing a lineup based on politics and not what is the sound baseball decision.

  • Davor

    Interestingly, in The Book ideal 3-hole hitter is anti-Jeter: 4th or 5th best hitter on the team who gets most of his value from slugging, not from OBP.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      I don’t think anyone wants to bat Jeter in the three-hole though, unless he pulls a sudden 1999 or something

      • Plank

        The ideal lineup from the article has Jeter batting third.

      • KeithK

        The ideal Yankee lineup has Jeter pulling a 1999, Posada and Granderson pulling a 2007… Oh, we’re not talking about that kind of ideal. :-)

  • Urban

    …but he has enough to bat first?

    • Urban

      Reply Fail. That was supposed to be in response to C-Mac.

  • http://twitter.com/bryanl26 Bryan L

    What about trying to go all 2009, having Jeter bat first and Gardner bat 2nd. That way you can stay out of the double play like they did with Damon.

  • Monteroisdinero

    The ideal lineup has Gardner first and Nunez 9th. Jeter will perhaps hit 20 points higher than Nunez for a full 2011 season with equal (or maybe less) power. Not worth the 15.5M difference in my opinion but past performance counts in baseball. Would love to have spent the money elsewhere (pitching). I know you can’t do this to the face of the franchise but I think the Captain will struggle going forward-not because he doesn’t work hard, isn’t a great leader, ticket seller etc. I just do not think he is worth the money over the next 3 years. I will be happy to eat crow on this.

    There is such a buzz when he leads off a game. So much anticipation for a groundout or a single to right.

    • Plank

      Lack of money didn’t prevent the Yankees from signing anyone this offseason.

    • Total Dominication

      Jeter will be a lot more than 20 points better than Nuñez.

  • Mike Myers

    Is it just me or have the fans and media really turned on Jeter this year? Seems sad. I dont care the reason. Dont forget what he did

    • Plank

      I never really liked Jeter. He is a great baseball player and a first ballot hall of famer, but I never understood the heaps of praise he’s gotten over the years.

      I don’t really like his personality in interviews. He reeks of insincerity. He says all the right things, but I doubt he means them.

      He’s always been really good, but he’s been treated like he’s one of the best ever. He’s not one of the best ever. I think people are now looking at him as a human and as a baseball player rather than as a God. It is an adjustment, but one I wish was made a decade ago.

      Commence the assault!

      • Hughesus Christo

        Derek Jeter isn’t one of the best ever? Hilarious.

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

        You’re not a first ballot HOFer without being one of the best ever. He’s not Babe Ruth or Ted Williams but who thought he was?

        As for the insincere thing – not trying to open a can of worms here, but how do you feel about A-Rod? Damon?

        • Plank

          In terms of skill, Jeter is in the same category as Barry Larkin and Alan Tramell. He gets treated like he is in the same category as Arod, Lou Gehrig, and Ty Cobb.

          That by itself makes me like him less. If he was treated like he was a really good SS (like Trammel or Larkin) I wouldn’t mind him as much.

          Not really related, but I love Arod. Damon was okay. When he had long flowing locks, it was tough to root against him on the Sox. Why do you ask?

          • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

            No one sane acts like he’s better than A-Rod. Heck, I haven’t seen anyone really try to claim Derek’s better than Alex. They bust out the intangibles thing, which we all know is a load of crap. The Lou Gehrig comparisons came more from an “important Yankee” thing, which isn’t untrue even if Jeter’s not on his level as a player, and I haven’t seen Ty Cobb comparisons. I guess just with the whole “a lot of hits” thing but that’s a shallow comparison; Derek’s not the first one to get compared to another player on a shallow level and he won’t be the last.

            I dunno, I hate telling people how to be a fan and that’s not what I’m trying to do here, but I think you can recognize that ESPN and the like are ridiculous about Derek’s intangibles while still liking him very much because, well, he’s one of the greatest players in the history of the franchise and one of the best shortstops ever. It’s not his fault the media’s hyped him up so much that… he doesn’t even have an MVP when he deserved it twice. Oh. I’m not even a crazy Derek fan, but when Yankee fans are like “well I never liked Derek Jeter” it just kind of makes me sad.

            If you’re going to call out/dislike Derek for not being genuine in interviews, you shouldn’t like Alex either. I love Alex too – he is someone I am very much a crazy fan of – but it is what it is.

            Sorry for the essay :X

            • Plank

              No need to apologize. I read your comments here and I know you are an enlightened fan. Most people don’t share your views though. I think Big Apple down there has a more common view of Jeter than you do.

              In terms of the interview thing, Jeter has done the smarmy flirting with the beat reporters his whole career. Arod had to get trained to do it and seems like he still doesn’t like it. Jeter seems like he loves doing it. There is no way to know if I’m right, that’s just how it seems to me. For me, hat’s part of the fun of being a fan.

              • Big Apple

                its your opinion and that is fine. i’m objective enough to see Jeter’s faults but there are not perfect players. He’s been pretty good his entire career and he’s been a big part of the yanks success since he came up as a rookie.

                Is he the greatest defensive SS – of course not. But he’s a very good all around player and has been for his entire career.

                Are his skills eroding…of course they are and they have been for sometime. Show me a player not on roids who isn’t slipping in his mid 30s.

                • Plank

                  What you just said, I totally agree with. Nothing you said would lead someone to think the person you are talking about is one of the all-time greats.

                  Jeter was great, just not in the top tier of players.

                  • king of fruitless hypotheticals

                    a) interviews: what has he done in his personal life or on the field that makes you think he isn’t sincere? yeah, he cheated on his wife (with whom he had TWO kids, right?), got caught having dinner with a stripper, did some absurd interviews with pop culture magazines (if i remember, he even kissed himself in a mirror???). He even claimed ‘i only used it once to help heal my elbow’ in regards to drugs. but besides all that, what has he done wrong?

                    top tier of players: i agreed with you about the interview part, but here you’re just wrong.

                    • Plank

                      Are you talking about Jeter or Arod?

                      I’m confused.

        • Big Apple

          aren’t most of these guys insincere anyway? and when any pro athletes makes a statement with any truth to it it is usually seen as negative and the athlete has to retract it the next day.

          • Plank

            aren’t most of these guys insincere anyway?

            I wouldn’t say most are insincere, I think most are not grounded in reality. No one who gets praise thrust on them for being great from the age of 12 and makes tens of millions of dollars can keep it real. Same with hollywood actors. Anyone who has been successful there for over a decade is a lunatic, same with sports stars.

            That’s why I don’t really revere players. I appreciate them for what they can do and enjoy watching them do something better than anyone else on the planet.

            • Big Apple

              so what would you rather jeter do…come out and just be brutally honest in his interviews? many guys have done that and they end up retracting it the next day b/c people get offended.

              • Plank

                Yes, I would love if he was brutally honest in his interviews.

      • Big Apple

        that’s right, because hitting for a .314 career avg and amassing 3,000 hits in a career is so common these days…happens all the time.

        Here is something to chew on…if Jeter averages 150 hits over the next four years – which is entirely possible – he will finish his career with 3,526 hits, which is good for 5th on the all time list…

        yeah…he sucks.

        • Plank

          I’m glad you picked up on the part of my post where I said he sucks.

          In fact, I said he’s a great player and a first ballot hall of famer.

          I will say though, that when you need hits and BA to prove your point, it’s not the strongest argument.

          • Big Apple

            how do you compare players from different eras? you look at the stats and where they rank and Jeter will rank pretty high with some of the all time greats so…by association he would have to be considered.

            I think some modern day players in all sports get discounted when compared to players from long ago because some of them seem downright mythical.

            you can like or not like any player out there…but when the book is written on jeter he will be mentioned up there with some of the all time great yankee players and other great players in the game.

            • Plank

              He gets mentioned in the same pantheon as the all-time greats already. My point is that he shouldn’t be.

              He has great numbers, but in terms of the all time greats, he falls short. If that is badmouthing him, then so be it. I don’t see it that way.

              • Big Apple

                where exactly does he fall short? his career stats will put him right there with the all time greats in many categories. he’s also been a big part of 5 world series teams.

                perhaps its just perception and the fact that today’s athletes get so much press coverage than those of long ago.

                • Plank

                  where exactly does he fall short?

                  Short, assholy answer: He falls short in fielding and every hitting category except hits

                  Longer answer: Jeter is a great hitter, he just isn’t as good as others who have played the game.

                  Here is one metric to look at. WAR has its flaws, but for a career perspective it can be a good judge of how good a player was.

                  http://www.fangraphs.com/caree.....8;min=1000

                  Those are just SS. The position Jeter has fielded at a below average level (and in some years disastrous level) when looking at his entire career.

                  • Big Apple

                    WAR has its flaws,

                    enough said…

                    • Plank

                      No, it’s not “enough said…”.

                      You can ignore numbers if you want. How is Jeter one of the all-time greats? I’d love for you to show me. It can’t be done, unless the metric you use is hits by a Yankee.

                  • Big Apple

                    Plank…you haven’t proven anything more than I have. You’ve taken one stat…”WAR” and have stated that even that is flawed. Although many people try to find it, there is no single stat that will prove that one ball player is better than another one.

                    So what are we left with…opinions….you don’t like jeter and you don’t think he deserves to be mentioned with the all time greats. That’s fine…its your opinion and you’ve even stated that the one stat that tells the full story is flawed.

                    I like Jeter…he’s been a very consistent player for his entire career and he’s certainly been one of the greatest of his era. Does he have flaws…sure…does he get preferential treatment…sure…but he’s played pretty well for his entire career…except maybe for last year. Even if he repeated last year’s stats for the rest of his career he will still go down as one of the best players of his era and all time.

                    You made your statement and I took the bait but you haven’t proven anything…its your opinion.

                    • Plank

                      It’s not my job to prove things to you. I invite you to look at the numbers and come up with your own conclusions. The fact that you think Jeter is one of the best ever shows that you haven’t done so yet.

                    • Plank

                      What bait? In a thread where people were talking about ideal lineups and mentioning that Jeter may not be the best leadoff hitter on the team, someone asked why people hate Jeter so much.

                      In as non-offensive a way as possible, the answer is people like you.

                    • Plank

                      I should clarify, no one hates Jeter, it just seems that way to people like you because some people don’t pour heaps of praise on him and they look at him like a human and not a god.

                  • Big Apple

                    i did click on your link and it shows that jeter is 10th all time best SS…that’s pretty darn good for a league that has been around for over 100 yrs.

                    • Plank

                      Yes, it’s very good.

                  • Big Apple

                    for some reason the reply button doesn’t work on your most recent posts…

                    i admit, i haven’t embraced all the sabermetic stats but I do believe that you have to consider those and the traditional stats when assessing players.

                    I don’t really get to excited about comparing guys from different eras because the game has changed a lot over the years… i think trying to do so creates a fun and interesting dialogue, but I don’t believe there is any way to actually prove it.

                    good back and forth..i see your points and appreciate it…it does help me to understand things more and see other points of view.

                    I’ll see you around RAB.

                    • Plank

                      Cheers.

                      By the way, once there are too many replies within replies, it doesn’t let you keep going. That’s why the button isn’t there.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Yep. Very much. And it is sad.

    • Big Apple

      i’m seeing a lot of the same thing. everyone is crapping on Jeter. I get the media doing it but I see a lot of so-called Yankee fans doing it as well.

      He’s older…of course his skills will erode. But he’s still a good player and his production is higher than most SS in the game that are 10 yrs younger.

      And I think his contract was a bargain. I fully expected a higher dollar amount and a longer term.

      I’m excited for his 3,000th hit. I’m still amazed that he is the first Yankee player to accomplish the feat considering their rich history.

  • Bill O.

    We’ll probably go into the season with a similar lineup to last years and shake it up based on performance. As we all know Spring stats are virtually meaningless.

    I’m expecting the following lineup for opening day:
    Jeter
    Granderson
    Tex
    ARod
    Cano
    Swisher
    Posada
    Martin
    Gardner

    If Gardner starts the year strong though I think we would move to the following pretty quickly:

    Gardner
    Jeter
    Tex
    ARod
    Cano
    Swisher
    Granderson
    Posada
    Martin

    and against lefties expect the following:

    Jeter
    Swisher
    Tex
    ARod
    Cano
    Posada
    Jones
    Granderson/Martin
    Martin/Gardner