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jorgenswest

Platoon Advantage

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Two topics that appeared in the forums led me to wonder which teams are getting the platoon advantage.

How did the Indians do it? I look at their numbers and see a combined 6.1 WAR from Jan Gomes and Ryan Raburn. Those cheap additions will be the difference between contending for the wild card and being on the fringe. Francona has found a role for them to put up fantastic numbers.

We also debated about how platooning might help the Twins.

I wondered how often teams are getting the platoon advantage. I guess I could have waited two more days, but I don't think the numbers will change significantly. Below is a table listing the percent each AL team was able to have the platoon advantage in a plate appearance. I could have included NL, but the DH gives the AL teams a different context for controlling the platoon advantage.

Team
CLE
OAK
SEA
BAL
MIN
BOS
TBR
TOR
AL
HOU
DET
NYY
KCR
LAA
TEX
CHW
Advantage
70.5%
70.4%
67.3%
61.3%
61.3%
60.7%
59.8%
59.1%
59.0%
57.2%
56.7%
54.8%
54.5%
53.5%
53.2%
43.8%

There are many ways of increasing the platoon advantage. Managers can use a traditional 1 for 1 platoon. Managers can manipulate the batting order so that the top of the order has hitters with the advantage. Managers can make more frequent use of pinch hitters. Teams can seek switch hitters. General managers can provide bench players that can be used in platoon and pinch hitting roles.

I look to the top and I am not surprised. The front office of the Indians, Orioles and A's have found inexpensive pieces like Raburn, Valencia and Moss and hired managers that utilized their talents well. I can imagine that Plouffe would thrive in such a situation.

I was a little surprised that the Twins find themselves with Baltimore. The Twins have rostered several switch hitters. That helps. It would help more if they could hit from both sides.

As the Twins make roster decisions for 2014. There is no question they need to improve starting pitching. There are few inexpensive routes towards that goal. They also desperately need to improve the offense. Will they look to Cleveland and Oakland's use of the platoon advantage as an inexpensive route towards improving the offense?
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Comments

  1. Jim H's Avatar
    I appreciate the work that went into this post. I am afraid that what I take away from it is that if you have good hitters, platoon advantage doesn't matter. Also getting platoon advantage doesn't necessarily make you a good hitting team. Most of the teams near the top of your list in platoon advantage aren't really that good of hitting teams.
  2. jorgenswest's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim H
    I appreciate the work that went into this post. I am afraid that what I take away from it is that if you have good hitters, platoon advantage doesn't matter. Also getting platoon advantage doesn't necessarily make you a good hitting team. Most of the teams near the top of your list in platoon advantage aren't really that good of hitting teams.
    I should have added runs scored rank.

    Cleveland and Oakland are third and fourth in runs scored. They may not have several great individual hitters but as a group they score a lot of runs. Boston is first. Baltimore fifth. They all get better than average platoon advantage. Detroit is second in runs scored and the only one in the top five that get below league average platoon advantage.
    Updated 09-28-2013 at 01:42 PM by jorgenswest
  3. AM.'s Avatar
    Lefty-leaning line-ups will also gain a bigger platoon advantage. Switch hitters get 100% platoon advantage, lefties get 70%, righties get 30%.

    So the Twins gain advantage by batting lefties and switch hitters, although we know that they never platoon.
  4. old nurse's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by AM.
    Lefty-leaning line-ups will also gain a bigger platoon advantage. Switch hitters get 100% platoon advantage, lefties get 70%, righties get 30%.

    So the Twins gain advantage by batting lefties and switch hitters, although we know that they never platoon.
    It depends on how loose your definition of platoon is. There are outfielders and backup catchers that rarely see left handed pitching. Plouffe's days off are against right handed pitching.
  5. jorgenswest's Avatar
    I don't think the Twins get optimal use of platoon advantage. I was surprised to see their position and acknowledged that they have several switch hitters.

    Gardenhire may have been able to take the current roster and get a few more wins. Different roster construction may have allowed more. I think the Indians and A's position on the list was intentional on their part. In the Indians case it will be the difference in making the playoffs.
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