# MLB FORUM

• 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.

• superjon

Got about 2 more weeks of data.

1B – 3-6
2B 1-3 and 6
3b 2-6
C 6-8
OF 1, 3, and 4
SS 2 and 6-8

Again, I wouldn’t interpret this data as saying you should only play batters at those positions at those specific batting orders. But that they should be first on your list of possible batters.

The one thing that does seem to stand out is C and SS. If you’re going to play someone higher in the order, then those two positions seem to be the best place to start.

• 510irish

i think you need to revist your carpenter example. the 8 days after the “dud” game , he has scored 144 points (FD) all from the lead off position. He has averaged 18 points a game since the move. Not shooting down your research , but your example needs adjusting or the exception to the rule.

• superjon

@510irish said...

i think you need to revist your carpenter example. the 8 days after the “dud” game , he has scored 144 points (FD) all from the lead off position. He has averaged 18 points a game since the move. Not shooting down your research , but your example needs adjusting or the exception to the rule.

For 1B the research isn’t saying that lead off hitters can’t have good games, but that the top producers come from 3 through 6.

• AlexSonty

• 371

• ### Blogger of the Month

Batting order is not as important as plate appearances. Cross-referencing teams, they are not the same thing. Batting order is a quicker way to eyeball a projection for PAs, but it is flawed. As someone noted earlier ITT (though I am not sure I like their example), being on the road versus at home is a boost to PAs, as is just being on a team with a higher projected total, for obvious reasons.

• superjon

So far the worst spot to be at for a SS is at 5.

Out of the 126 SS I have data on, only 3 players at the 5 have been one of the top three SS for their given day.

Simmons on 6/13
Ownings on 6/5
Escobar on 5/4

Now Simmons is at the 5 again tonight vs a young pitcher that’s on a limited pitch count. He’s scored 25+ in his last 4 out of 7 games. All short term data points to him having another good game, but if I was going by my data, he’d be a fade.

What would you do?

• TeamTwerk

@superjon said...

So far the worst spot to be at for a SS is at 5.

Out of the 126 SS I have data on, only 3 players at the 5 have been one of the top three SS for their given day.

Simmons on 6/13
Ownings on 6/5
Escobar on 5/4

Now Simmons is at the 5 again tonight vs a young pitcher that’s on a limited pitch count. He’s scored 25+ in his last 4 out of 7 games. All short term data points to him having another good game, but if I was going by my data, he’d be a fade.

What would you do?

It’s normal for DFS players to look for patterns and trends but I think you’re chasing a ghost on this one. The reason why shortstops batting 5th this season haven’t been doing good is because the few shortstops that regularly bat 5th aren’t very good. Story was a beast for a stretch last season batting 5th as was Tulo. If Lindor, Correa, Seager were moved to 5th they would still be very good.

• yisman

I agree, I think it’s small sample noise, combined with a correlation bias. If you confine it to X position hitting in X spot, you will get strange results because sometimes it’s only a few players. Like catchers batting leadoff, for example.

There’s no reason why someone playing a particular position would hit better or worse depending on their lineup spot.

• superjon

@yisman said...

I agree, I think it’s small sample noise, combined with a correlation bias. If you confine it to X position hitting in X spot, you will get strange results because sometimes it’s only a few players. Like catchers batting leadoff, for example.

There’s no reason why someone playing a particular position would hit better or worse depending on their lineup spot.

Yeah I have no idea why. What I do know is that I have data on 138 first basemen, and only 3 have been top performers when batting at the 1.

Where as I have data on 135 second basemen, and 34 of them have been top performers when batting at the 1.

Would actually like to see this, just from the pattern to actual output angle

• AlexSonty

• 371

• ### Blogger of the Month

@superjon said...

So far the worst spot to be at for a SS is at 5.

Out of the 126 SS I have data on, only 3 players at the 5 have been one of the top three SS for their given day.

Simmons on 6/13
Ownings on 6/5
Escobar on 5/4

Now Simmons is at the 5 again tonight vs a young pitcher that’s on a limited pitch count. He’s scored 25+ in his last 4 out of 7 games. All short term data points to him having another good game, but if I was going by my data, he’d be a fade.

What would you do?

Burden of proof is on you to make sense of the data points.

• Njsum1

@superjon said...

Yeah I have no idea why. What I do know is that I have data on 138 first basemen, and only 3 have been top performers when batting at the 1.

Where as I have data on 135 second basemen, and 34 of them have been top performers when batting at the 1.

This could either be randomness, or that first baseman are usually power hitters, and power hitters do better when they’re driving in runs. whereas other infielders except maybe 3rd baseman are usually more speed/average guys and would tend to do better getting singles/doubles, stolen bases, then getting driven in. Players like carpenter and even rizzo since he moved to 1st in the order have done well since they both offer some speed, power, and getting on base ability. So I’d argue it less to do with the position the player plays and more to do with the type of hitter that typically plays certain positions.

• cinthree

@Njsum1 said...

This could either be randomness, or that first baseman are usually power hitters, and power hitters do better when they’re driving in runs. whereas other infielders except maybe 3rd baseman are usually more speed/average guys and would tend to do better getting singles/doubles, stolen bases, then getting driven in. Players like carpenter and even rizzo since he moved to 1st in the order have done well since they both offer some speed, power, and getting on base ability. So I’d argue it less to do with the position the player plays and more to do with the type of hitter that typically plays certain positions.

Thank you. I made the same argument on the first page.

Looking at batting order as it relates to each specific position on the field is entirely meaningless. That does not mean batting order is meaningless, just that there aren’t a lot of 1Bs batting first or second, and there aren’t a lot of 2B or SSs who bat anywhere from 3-5.

Outside of the Astros with Altuve and correa, the teams who bat their 2B or SS in the middle of the lineup are usually the bad teams who don’t have a lot of good hitters anyway (Simmons on the Angels, Lowrie on the Athletics, or the 2B/SS in question is an all or nothing slugger with a lot of strikeouts who is a boom/bust gpp play (Odor, Brandon Crawford, etc).

Analyzing batting order versus defensive position also ignores the fact that DFS postion isn’t always the same as real life position. When kris Bryant plays LF in real life, but is listed as a 3B on FanDuel, should we play him under the “3Bs do well when batting 2nd”? In real life he’s playing LF. Ben Zobrist is listed as a OF, but plays 2B, 3B, LF, and RF in real life. Which position should we consider him for purposes of this study?

What about guys who have moved positions in DFS? Frazier was initially listed as an SS but the pirates have used him in the outfield almost exclusively, and after about a week FD moved him.

And what about multiple-positional players on DK? What about pure designated hitters, who are only listed at the defensive position they last pretended to play but since they are horrible at it or are broken down sluggers they can’t do it anymore? Trumbo and Cruz are listed as OFs, Holliday and Hanley as 1Bs but they are DHs most of the time in real life.

Finally, what about guys who are listed at different positions between the two sites? Yangervis Solaarte is a 2B on DK and a 3B on FD, and he bats fourth almost exclusively.

The fundamental problems are first, that DFS listed defensive position and real life position are not the same, and that for a lot of players, they can be moved from a type of position often populated by speedier, contact hitters (SS or 2B or CF) to a position populated by sluggers (1B and 3B), and second, that some players don’t fit the “profile” of their position, regardless of whether or not they can or should be moved to the position that their hitting profile would seem to suggest they play.

What this “study” is actually showing is that certain positions have, for the most part, certain types of hitters. 1B and LF are typically slower sluggers who drive runners in, and SS, 2B and CF are typically faster contact hitters who look to hit singles and doubles to get on base for the sluggers. 3B and RF are kind of a tweener as it’s usually more athletic/less slugger based than LF/1B but not entirely. Basically if you are a slugging 3B or RF, if you are good defensively you stay there, if you aren’t good defensively they move you to 1B or LF so they can keep your bat in the lineup.

But there are exceptions – there are slugging SS out there and there are speedy contact LF and 1B.

The best comparison I can think of is if there was a study that showed that the most expensive SG on FanDuel often ends up with more assists than the most expensive PG on FanDuel, to which anyone who plays NBA DFS would instantly know why – because James Harden is listed as an SG even though he is entirely the teams point guard on offense, and defensively he will guard whoever is less important (so against the thunder he’ll guard oladipo or something, but against, but against a Lowry-less raptors he’ll guard Cory Joseph).

It’s the same concept here – listed position isn’t always the actual real life position, many teams have players who can play multiple positions (Machado could easily play SS, and the Cubs move guys around all the time), and some hitters have profiles/statistical trends/styles that are not typical of their position (Daniel Murphy and Carlos Correa have profiles far more in line with an LF than with their fellow 2B and SS…..Buster Posey leads the league in Batting Average and no other catcher is even remotely close, but Sal Perez has basically the exact same offensive statistics as Adam Duvall but is a C, and Duvall an OF).