Opinion Versus Fact
by, 04-06-2013 at 11:23 AM (210 Views)
One of the things we all do is state an opinion believing or suggesting it is fact. Often on this site and others, certain opinions often are treated as fact, even though they often aren't even all that well supported by the evidence. The latest opinion to be treated as fact is that it is much better to bat Mauer 2nd than third. It seems to be believed that batting him 2nd instead of Dozier/Carroll will create 1.5 or more wins for the Twins this coming year. Lets look at this for a bit.
Moving Mauer up to 2nd spot and Dozier/Carroll down will indeed take approximately 150 PA's from Dozier/Carroll. Mauer will get, maybe 30 of those if he plays in close to 162 games. Assuming Mauer has roughly 100 points more in OBP than Dozier/Carroll, that nets you about 3 additional baserunners for the entire season. The other 120 PA's will go to the rest of the batters who are moved up a spot. Most of these will have better OBP than Dozier/Carroll but the advantage won't be anywhere near that of Mauer. It is even likely that Dozier/Carroll will have a better OBP than at least one of guys batting in front of them. An educated guess would suggest that moving Dozier/Carroll down to the 8th spot might net additional baserunners between 3 and 7.
Now, you also get an additional boost because all of these hitters have a better slugging percentage than Dozier/Carroll. So perhaps you get 10 extra baserunners and an additional extra base or 2. I am not sure how you turn a possible extra 10 baserunners scattered throughout the season into 1.5 or more wins. I think that the extra possible 3 or more runs would be statistically insignificant when stretched over an entire season. More, I don't believe it would actually result in any additional runs at all.
Batting Mauer 3rd, even with a no. 2 hitter who only gets on base 30% of the time, would mean that Mauer will have roughly 50 extra baserunners on base in front of him in the 1st inning alone(based on 30% times 162 games). Since Mauer is the team's best hitter and best hitter with RISP, it is quite likely that giving Mauer more chances to hit with RISP will make up for the possible loss of baserunners by putting Dozier/Carroll in the 2nd spot.
What I am suggesting here, does require that whoever the no. 2 hitter is, he has to manage a decent on base percentage. There is no way to know if Dozier can manage that, at this point. That is likely why Mauer is currently hitting 2nd. What I am really saying is, it is not a slam dunk that the team is "better" by having Mauer hit 2nd. That is an opinion. You can make some strong arguments to support that opinion. Just as I can make at least one argument to support batting him 3rd.