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MODEST PROPOSAL
March 26, 2012
The plan for the Tigers is to hit their two big bats, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, third and fourth, with Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch atop the lineup. This is the way lineups have been constructed for 120 years—and it's wrong. It works when you have players who can set the table for your big boppers; Jackson (.331 career OBP) and Boesch (.330) are not those players. Since he lacks high-OBP hitters for the number 1 and number 2 slots, Jim Leyland should try something radical—and sabermetrically sound—and bat Cabrera second and Fielder third, with Jackson and Boesch platooning in the leadoff slot. Studies have shown that a team's best hitter should bat second, providing the best mix of maximizing that player's plate appearances, his chance of hitting with a runner on base and the value of his own times on base. By moving his two best hitters up in the order, Leyland would give them each an additional 18 plate appearances a year. As good as Cabrera and Fielder are, that could be worth an additional five to 10 runs a season—perhaps adding one win to the Tigers' total.
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March 26, 2012

Modest Proposal

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The plan for the Tigers is to hit their two big bats, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, third and fourth, with Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch atop the lineup. This is the way lineups have been constructed for 120 years—and it's wrong. It works when you have players who can set the table for your big boppers; Jackson (.331 career OBP) and Boesch (.330) are not those players. Since he lacks high-OBP hitters for the number 1 and number 2 slots, Jim Leyland should try something radical—and sabermetrically sound—and bat Cabrera second and Fielder third, with Jackson and Boesch platooning in the leadoff slot. Studies have shown that a team's best hitter should bat second, providing the best mix of maximizing that player's plate appearances, his chance of hitting with a runner on base and the value of his own times on base. By moving his two best hitters up in the order, Leyland would give them each an additional 18 plate appearances a year. As good as Cabrera and Fielder are, that could be worth an additional five to 10 runs a season—perhaps adding one win to the Tigers' total.

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