Originally Posted by SephClone89
Well, a lot of research and analysis has suggested that those "lineup strategieis that have worked for years" aren't actually optimal for scoring runs.
There is a theory holding that a lineup would be best if you have hitters hitting in descending order of their on-base percentage. I have no question that you are going to have your most efficient lineup if your top five hitters are your top five hitters in on-base percentage. Even in the White Sox lineup in April and May with De Aza leading off and Keppinger hitting second, the Sox would have scored more runs and won more games if those two were getting on base more frequently
The problem is that on-base percentage is not achieved in isolation of lineup position. Bat Dunn seventh or eighth, and he will have a higher on-base percentage, at least until late in close games when teams bring in a lefty relief specialist to get him out. Hitters who walk a lot and have low batting averages tend not to walk when a walk is more advantageous to your team. Dunn was intentionally walked three times in the 16-game because the Mariners strategically wanted to have their right-hander pitch to Konerko (I'm not sure if the Mariners had any lefties available when the first intentional walk was issued). Dunn would walk less (and last year he led the league in walks because there were fewer walks leaguewide in 2012) if he led off games.
Research notwithstanding, you try to set up your batting order so that it produces runs, obviously, but also so that it gives you the best matchups in close games because many games are decided ultimately in only a couple of matchups. These percentages and averages don't exist in isolation. When Jimmy Piersall was on first ahead of Ted Williams, he was directed not to steal because his presence on first increased the chances of Williams getting a hit, not because pitchers would be pitching around Williams, who would certainly walk if he didn't get any strikes, but because there would be a bigger hole to hit through with the first baseman holding the runner. Lineups can be an organic thing that determine the numbers more than the numbers determine the best lineup.