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  • superjon

    Is it a good idea to limit your choices for each position based on batting order? I’ve got data from 5/17 – 6/9 that I’ve pulled, and the top batting orders for each position so far are:

    1B – 5, 4 and 3
    2B – 1 and 3
    3B – 4 and 3
    C – 8 and 7
    OF – 1, 4 and 2
    SS – 2, 7, and 8

    Obviously there are other factors to consider, but so far it seems like batters at those orders have the best chances of scoring heavily. On the flip side, it’s also good to note which orders do less well.

    As an example, the 1, 8, and 9 spots for 1B are really bad. Look at the GrindDown from yesterday. Matt Carpenter was considered an elite play, and he might have been had he started at the 3 as predicted. But he started at the 1 and put up a dud.

    I wouldn’t rely solely on this information, as obviously not every single 1B at the 3, 4, and 5 are going to do well. However, there does appear to be some consistency, and this might be useful in conjunction with other information. I’ll continue to pull data, and see how the numbers look after an even larger sample size.

    Thoughts? Suggestions? I can’t imagine I’m the first person to think of this.

  • Jvanspro

    I would say it does play a factor but not entirely. For example the other day on FD Wilmer Difo and Stephen Drew were the same price and same position. Difo was batting 2nd and Drew was batting 6-7th I believe. I would argue Drew was a much better play then Difo. Simply because he’s a much better hitter.

  • bigez952

    @Jvanspro said...

    I would say it does play a factor but not entirely. For example the other day on FD Wilmer Difo and Stephen Drew were the same price and same position. Difo was batting 2nd and Drew was batting 6-7th I believe. I would argue Drew was a much better play then Difo. Simply because he’s a much better hitter.

    Difo put up a 0 that night as well and Drew hit a homer out of the 7 spot. I would say batting order has very little to do on performance but obviously it is better to be in the top 3 vs. batting 7-9 since they would be more likely to get an extra at bat.

  • bhdevault

    • Lead Moderator

    • Blogger of the Month

    The main reason you would go with batting order is more chances of at bats, which I know, is pretty obvious.

    If I have 2 guys, that I have projected dead even, I may go with the guy higher up in the batting order for that reason. However, who is batting behind him is important too.

    Just one of so many factors when building lineups.

  • Jvanspro

    @bigez952 said...

    Difo put up a 0 that night as well and Drew hit a homer out of the 7 spot. I would say batting order has very little to do on performance but obviously it is better to be in the top 3 vs. batting 7-9 since they would be more likely to get an extra at bat.

    Regardless of results, personally I still think Drew was a better play. He is simply just a better hitter. I can’t fault anyone for going with Difo though. I sat with this decision but for me it just came down to who is the better offensive player. Point is, you should absolutely pay attention to it but it’s not gospel.

  • Fontaine

    People who say that you select the players batting higher in the because of the chance of more ABs are pretty silly and clearly just blindly following the heard, ala sheep. I will venture to say they dont win much either because if they look even a little deep into the #s, they would see that a 7 hitter gets the same amount of ABs as a 3 hitter in a game almost every time. Dont believe me? Go look at some box scores. The amount of times that a 7, or 8 hitter doesnt match a 3 or 4 hitter in ABs are pretty staggering. Its why you ofton see these GPPs won by guys hitting low in the order. They’re automattically low owned because 95% of DFS are sheep who listen to talking heads here on RG, which might I add most of these talking heads at RG have terrible ROIs but hey, thats a story for another time. ;-)

  • cinthree

    @superjon said...

    Is it a good idea to limit your choices for each position based on batting order? I’ve got data from 5/17 – 6/9 that I’ve pulled, and the top batting orders for each position so far are:

    1B – 5, 4 and 3
    2B – 1 and 3
    3B – 4 and 3
    C – 8 and 7
    OF – 1, 4 and 2
    SS – 2, 7, and 8

    Obviously there are other factors to consider, but so far it seems like batters at those orders have the best chances of scoring heavily. On the flip side, it’s also good to note which orders do less well.

    As an example, the 1, 8, and 9 spots for 1B are really bad. Look at the GrindDown from yesterday. Matt Carpenter was considered an elite play, and he might have been had he started at the 3 as predicted. But he started at the 1 and put up a dud.

    I wouldn’t rely solely on this information, as obviously not every single 1B at the 3, 4, and 5 are going to do well. However, there does appear to be some consistency, and this might be useful in conjunction with other information. I’ll continue to pull data, and see how the numbers look after an even larger sample size.

    Thoughts? Suggestions? I can’t imagine I’m the first person to think of this.

    Batting Order’s Importance is certainly debatable, but breaking it down by position is entirely silly.

    The reason the top batting order spots for those positions are what they are has nothing to do with “First Baseman don’t do well as leadoff hitters”, and “Shortstops don’t do well unless they’re 2, 7 or 8” it’s because most teams have First Baseman who hit 3-5, and most teams either have a good hitting SS who has some speed but not THAT much power, so they bat him 2nd, or the SS can’t hit, so he bats 7th or 8th.

    My guess as to the most common lineup order would be:
    CF, 2B, LF, 1B, 3B, RF, C, SS, P, and in the American League, it’d be CF, 2B, LF, 1B, DH, 3B, RF, C, SS.

    Your theory would basically suggest ignoring the few teams who have guys who are hitting in non-traditional spots for their position (Correa as a cleanup hitting SS, Donaldson/Bryant as a 3B batting 2nd). Do you only play Kris Byant when he bats 3rd or 4th, but not 2nd? If the Rockies moved Nolan from 3rd to 2nd, would he become a fade then? Daniel Murphy isn’t a play because he bats 4th or 5th as an 2B?

    That’s just silly. Batting Order is a relevant factor, and some of the responses in this thread have made good points regarding how strong of a factor it is (and there’s still no clear cut answer). But to base it on positions ignores that some teams have “traditional” players at each positions (the Rockies, for example, with CF, 2B, 3B, 1B, RF, LF, SS, C, P), and other teams have entirely un-traditional players at each postiion (the Dodgers, who go something like 2B, SS, C, 3B, 1B, CF, LF, RF, P).

    If a player moves positions but stays in the same batting spot, what then? In real life, Kris Bryant sometimes plays 3B, sometimes LF, sometimes RF, and Ben Zobrist sometimes plays 2B, sometimes LF, and sometimes RF, and occasionally 3B. When Bryant plays third, is he only a good DFS play if he’s hitting 3rd or 4th? But then when he moves to the OF, he should be batting 2nd or 4th?

    Finally, Matt Carpenter has been a dud all season long. The idea that he dudded because he was batting leadoff is just absurd, because he’s stunk just as much batting 3rd and batting 2nd as he has batting 1st.

    Basically – whether or not batting order itself is important is a fair question. Whether or not batting order for EACH POSITION is relevant is not. I will note that catchers are a debatable exception due to the wear and tear on their body and some people listed at C in DFS are actually DHs, and all sorts of other issues. Just talking about the other positions.

  • TeamTwerk

    @Fontaine said...

    People who say that you select the players batting higher in the because of the chance of more ABs are pretty silly and clearly just blindly following the heard, ala sheep. I will venture to say they dont win much either because if they look even a little deep into the #s, they would see that a 7 hitter gets the same amount of ABs as a 3 hitter in a game almost every time. Dont believe me? Go look at some box scores. The amount of times that a 7, or 8 hitter doesnt match a 3 or 4 hitter in ABs are pretty staggering. Its why you ofton see these GPPs won by guys hitting low in the order. They’re automattically low owned because 95% of DFS are sheep who listen to talking heads here on RG, which might I add most of these talking heads at RG have terrible ROIs but hey, thats a story for another time. ;-)

    What are you talking about? A #3 batter will get an extra at bat over the #7 batter 43% of the time. That is hugely significant.

  • Jvanspro

    @TeamTwerk said...

    What are you talking about? A #3 batter will get an extra at bat over the #7 batter 43% of the time. That is hugely significant.

    I agree it is significant. My point is just because a player is higher in the order does not make them a better play. For me, it’s much more talent and matchup based. If you breakdown game logs on multiple occasion you will notice players batting lower out produce those batting higher in the order. It’s crazy to just count a guy out based on batting order. As an example, if I told you Jose Inglesis was batting 2nd today does that make him a better play then say Chris Owings or Boegarts in the 7 hole? There is no way it does.

  • Njsum1

    @Jvanspro said...

    I agree it is significant. My point is just because a player is higher in the order does not make them a better play. For me, it’s much more talent and matchup based. If you breakdown game logs on multiple occasion you will notice players batting lower out produce those batting higher in the order. It’s crazy to just count a guy out based on batting order. As an example, if I told you Jose Inglesis was batting 2nd today does that make him a better play then say Chris Owings or Boegarts in the 7 hole? There is no way it does.

    While I agree a better player is a better player, there are numerous circumstances where Jose Iglesias is a better play then both bogaerts and owings if they were hitting in the 7 hole. Numerous….here’s 1…..bogaerts and owings were at home against an ace, hitting in the 7 hole. May only see three at bats and unlikely to do much with them. Iglesias was leading off on the road against a gas can lefty. In that situation I’d rather have Iglesias, price excluded. Now take into account that Iglesias is likely 1500 to 2k cheaper and it’s not even close. My point, it’s all about circumstance and price.

  • Jvanspro

    @Njsum1 said...

    While I agree a better player is a better player, there are numerous circumstances where Jose Iglesias is a better play then both bogaerts and owings if they were hitting in the 7 hole. Numerous….here’s 1…..bogaerts and owings were at home against an ace, hitting in the 7 hole. May only see three at bats and unlikely to do much with them. Iglesias was leading off on the road against a gas can lefty. In that situation I’d rather have Iglesias, price excluded. Now take into account that Iglesias is likely 1500 to 2k cheaper and it’s not even close. My point, it’s all about circumstance and price.

    I get what you’re saying. I was just using them all as a speculative example. Take price and pitcher out of the equation, and make the environment equal for all players. Wouldn’t you rather play the better offensive player?

  • TeamTwerk

    @Jvanspro said...

    I agree it is significant. My point is just because a player is higher in the order does not make them a better play. For me, it’s much more talent and matchup based. If you breakdown game logs on multiple occasion you will notice players batting lower out produce those batting higher in the order. It’s crazy to just count a guy out based on batting order. As an example, if I told you Jose Inglesis was batting 2nd today does that make him a better play then say Chris Owings or Boegarts in the 7 hole? There is no way it does.

    I wouldn’t argue that there is anything wrong with picking guys lower in the order, especially in GPPs. I think it’s a good strategy. The example you used of Drew vs Difo was a good one. I was responding to the claim that the #3 batter gets the same # of at bats as #7 almost every time. #3 batter averages 4.43 at bats per game compared with 4.01 for #7, according to fangraphs. That’s nearly a 10% increase in expected fantasy points going from 7th batting spot to 3rd, everything else being equal.

  • Njsum1

    @Jvanspro said...

    I get what you’re saying. I was just using them all as a speculative example. Take price and pitcher out of the equation, and make the environment equal for all players. Wouldn’t you rather play the better offensive player?

    Yes of course i would…yet as I’m sure you know it’s rarely all things equal. Yet assuming it was, I’d normally want the bettter hitter even though his spot in the batting order may not be as good.

  • superjon

    @Njsum1 said...

    Yes of course i would…yet as I’m sure you know it’s rarely all things equal. Yet assuming it was, I’d normally want the bettter hitter even though his spot in the batting order may not be as good.

    If Player A is a better hitter than Player B, but Player B is in a better spot in the order.

    Then wouldn’t it be wise to go with Player B, since the public will likely side with Player A since they’re the better hitter.

  • Njsum1

    @superjon said...

    If Player A is a better hitter than Player B, but Player B is in a better spot in the order.

    Then wouldn’t it be wise to go with Player B, since the public will likely side with Player A since they’re the better hitter.

    I don’t think so…assumming all things equal, meaning quality of pitcher, hitting environment, etc. I think taking the better hitter is likely the right move as I don’t think most people would want to roster a hitter in the 7 hole, and the ownership difference, if there is one at all, would not be enough to move me off the better hitter. Especially on a large slate where ownership on even the best plays is spread thin.

  • Jvanspro

    @TeamTwerk said...

    I wouldn’t argue that there is anything wrong with picking guys lower in the order, especially in GPPs. I think it’s a good strategy. The example you used of Drew vs Difo was a good one. I was responding to the claim that the #3 batter gets the same # of at bats as #7 almost every time. #3 batter averages 4.43 at bats per game compared with 4.01 for #7, according to fangraphs. That’s nearly a 10% increase in expected fantasy points going from 7th batting spot to 3rd, everything else being equal.

    I agree with everything you said here. Stating a player batting 3rd gets the same number of opportunities is crazy talk.

  • yisman

    There are arguments for both sides, really, but there are a few bad posts in this thread with inaccurate information.

    A guy batting 2nd or 3rd, aside from the possible additional PA, also is in a better spot to drive in runs or be driven in, than someone batting 7th or 8th. Guys batting in front of an elite hitter tend to see good pitches to hit, because the pitcher doesn’t want to walk someone in front of the elite hitter.

    However, if you’re trying to win a GPP, you’re often better off taking the guy with the inferior lineup spot because the ownership difference can be significant. Guys batting 7th-9th are basically a lock for low ownership.

    I rarely use guys 7th-9th and unsurprisingly, I’ve never won a big GPP. Not enough contrarian picks.

    Cash games I’d say take the better lineup spot unless there’s a clear difference in the other factors in your opinion.

    GPPs, you have to give strong consideration to going contrarian and grabbing a Joey Gallo type of player who typically bats seventh but has big upside.

  • superjon

    @yisman said...

    There are arguments for both sides, really, but there are a few bad posts in this thread with inaccurate information.

    A guy batting 2nd or 3rd, aside from the possible additional PA, also is in a better spot to drive in runs or be driven in, than someone batting 7th or 8th. Guys batting in front of an elite hitter tend to see good pitches to hit, because the pitcher doesn’t want to walk someone in front of the elite hitter.

    However, if you’re trying to win a GPP, you’re often better off taking the guy with the inferior lineup spot because the ownership difference can be significant. Guys batting 7th-9th are basically a lock for low ownership.

    I rarely use guys 7th-9th and unsurprisingly, I’ve never won a big GPP. Not enough contrarian picks.

    Cash games I’d say take the better lineup spot unless there’s a clear difference in the other factors in your opinion.

    GPPs, you have to give strong consideration to going contrarian and grabbing a Joey Gallo type of player who typically bats seventh but has big upside.

    You definitely don’t want to load up on the 7 to 9 guys, but the right one or two can definitely set you apart if they do well.

    I actually like to look at stats differently based on the order.

    The earlier spots 1-4, I focus more on guys that can get on base. High WOBA, OBP, BB and low SO. For the later spots, I look for guys with high SO and low BB. That along with a decent ISO and SLG to me means you have a guy that swings at everything, and when he hits it means you have a chance.

  • superstars92

    In addition to getting more PA when you are higher up in the lineup, you probably are just simply a better player if you are batting higher up in lineups. However, there are a ton of leadoff hitters who might not fit that talent category. I bet if Mallex Smith was batting 9th instead of 1st for the Rays, his ownership % would drop a ton. This is why Alcides Escobar saw a sharp increase in his ownership % when he was batting leadoff instead of down in the order, where he is now.

  • KindGuy

    @superstars92 said...

    In addition to getting more PA when you are higher up in the lineup, you probably are just simply a better player if you are batting higher up in lineups. However, there are a ton of leadoff hitters who might not fit that talent category. I bet if Mallex Smith was batting 9th instead of 1st for the Rays, his ownership % would drop a ton. This is why Alcides Escobar saw a sharp increase in his ownership % when he was batting leadoff instead of down in the order, where he is now.

    They’re also less likely to be platoon specialists who might get subbed out later in the game. Of course there are exceptions like Joyce.

  • superstars92

    @elementasrat said...

    They’re also less likely to be platoon specialists who might get subbed out later in the game. Of course there are exceptions like Joyce.

    Yea I just started playing baseball, and I have made a mistake not knowing about these platoon specialists.

    For example, Chris Young looks like an amazing play vs. lefties, but he actually gets subbed out early a lot of times the opposing pitcher becomes a righty, so he loses a very important at-bat a lot of games. Of course, he also hasn’t been amazing this year vs. lefties either (unlike previous season).

  • tonytone1908

    @Jvanspro said...

    I agree it is significant. My point is just because a player is higher in the order does not make them a better play. For me, it’s much more talent and matchup based. If you breakdown game logs on multiple occasion you will notice players batting lower out produce those batting higher in the order. It’s crazy to just count a guy out based on batting order. As an example, if I told you Jose Inglesis was batting 2nd today does that make him a better play then say Chris Owings or Boegarts in the 7 hole? There is no way it does.

    I think pitchers naturally pitch a little better to guys at the top of the order and lighten up on guys lower in the order thinking they’re easy outs. Often times you’ll see top of the order bats get all the K’s while the guys in the bottom do all the producing. Much like when teams play up or down to their competition in general, I think the pitchers, as well as the players in the field, do this to bottom of the order guys and that’s why they get much of the production sometimes.

  • tonytone1908

    Keeping in mind that the home team may not bat in the bottom of the 9th can mean lost opportunity for anyone on the team. A 7-9 hitter on the road team may still get as many AB’s as the 1-3 on the home team.

  • maffuccio

    Fontaine, you also have to consider the quality of hitters your surrounded by if you get bumped to the 7th spot! you get to hit next to presumably the teams’ weakest hitters. So more AB’s and a generally better hitting environment for batters in the top 4-5 means batting order absolutely matters.

  • joerapjr

    Great topic superjon. Thank you for starting this thread.

  • jackflak55

    Whatever advantage one thinks one is getting by planning for an extra at-bat is almost always eaten up by randomness.

    You might think that strawberry ice cream tastes better on a hot day, but it tastes the same, no matter where or when you eat it.

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