15 March 2011

Lineup Protection and Mark Reynolds.

I think we can certainly all agree that as a population, lineup protection is a thing of fairy tales.  It does not seem to exist.  However, when viewing things from a population stand point, you might miss specific circumstances where batting order plays a significant role in what pitches you might see.  This post is about that.  I will not be doing an intensive scientific study, but will try to describe how Mark Reynolds' presence in the on-deck circle potentially affected the guys hitting directly in front of him.  For the purposes of this study, I will be assessing how Adam LaRoche's changed with and without Reynolds batting behind him.  As such, you will notice that this is not a scientific study in the least.

With Mark Reynolds batting behind Adam LaRoche, LaRoche had in 337 plate appearances:
7.4% BB
28.5% K
247 / 300 / 425

Without Mark Reynolds behind him, LaRoche had 272 plate appearances:
8.1% BB
27.2% K
275 / 331 / 522

The walk and strikeout rates do not seem to be particularly different, but the slash lines are two completely different players.  One is below replacement level for a 1B and the other is above average.  One instance is not a trend, but it does make one wonder if extreme strikeout players result in players batting ahead to not see as good of pitches because the following batter so rarely makes contact.  In such a scenario, the preceding batter would have to be a player with solid plate discipline.  If that is true, then having Reynolds behind Vladimir Guerrero or Adam Jones might not be the best thing to do.  However, again, this is not a data intense study.


The Oriole Way said...

Interesting theory, and one that may well be worthy of more study. I don't know if I've seen any research that looks at the profile of on-deck batter (other than "good" or "not good").

Jon Shepherd said...

It may in fact be an impossible study. Mark Reynolds' performance characteristics are incredibly unique.