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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Batting order position and success.

Only first and fourth really have names: leadoff and cleanup. Cleanup really puts pressure on batters. Few batters below fifth are significant. How many non-pitchers were MVP batting sixth?

Josh Donaldson was American Conference (AC) MVP in 2015 with 620 plate appearances (PA) batting second in his first season with Toronto. Teammate Jose Bautista hit 54 home runs in 2010 for Toronto:
Batting 1st12125543771015101112.163.327.256.58311000100.1942866
Batting 2nd221080110000122.125.300.250.5502100000.1672053
Batting 3rd939340233964912113576605664.268.378.6461.024219650204.231105145
Batting 4th3314141500140002.357.357.571.9298000000.36487127
Batting 5th14145644793136011113.205.375.523.89823010010.21484131
Batting 6th11114234810304100075.294.429.7351.16425110000.240133208
Batting 7th2626104872225611023201318.287.394.7241.11863230111.250122214
But in 2016 Bautista has 86 of 268  PA batting leadoff. Toronto leadoff batters in 2016:
1Kevin Pillar209286176108101431112.
1Jose Bautista19867419405121201100004.257.360.514.874127
1Michael Saunders1879681850351102400000.265.367.471.838810
1Ezequiel Carrera9373213201130311001.406.472.5621.03554
In 1962 Yankee manager Ralph Houk batted Mickey Mantle leadoff in Mantle's final four games to give him a chance to qualify for leading the American League in batting average (BA). Mantle qualified but finished second. Career:
Batting 1st827835131255911411462623759.292.367.478.844149102056.32273
Batting 2nd63552562154047531030434156.219.344.409.75388500012.24855
Batting 3rd12641262545644639161324184412877547724945951.297.419.549.9682451671111266960.31998
Batting 4th75975732282589574803112221945595611619526.310.441.5951.03615413311186536.323112
Batting 5th109105454380751131932272817287.297.407.537.944204500286.33393
Batting 6th10627264820290014.308.333.615.94916000000.30090
Batting 7th175333006220101311.200.273.400.67312200000.31637
Batting 8th24128224930260064.409.536.8181.35418000000.438174
Batting 9th73074647143051610921.219.311.500.81132000101.23164
Casey Stengel had started batting Mantle cleanup at the end of the 1960 season after Roger Maris emerged as a power hitter. Maris had batted leadoff in his first Yankee game but hit two homers and a double and was quickly dropped into a power spot.

Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra each won three MVP for the Yankees. DiMaggio batted cleanup in all three of those seasons. Berra moved around in 1951 his first MVP season:

Batting 3rd18187872101400160051.
Batting 4th232310095927524151051.284.320.505.8254810011.2569498
Batting 5th9393391357681091322159443217.305.366.529.895189122024.276112125
Batting 6th66232251110180011.500.522.6821.2041500000.500188229
Batting 8th10210000000010.000.500.000.500000000.0004355
But Berra was cleanup in 1954. In 1955 PA:
4 - 401; Mantle 238
3 - 177; Mantle 347

Mantle was MVP three times. PA:
1956: 3. 519 4. 128
1957: 3. 277 4. 194
1962: 4. 482 1. 14

In 1950 Yankee SS Phil Rizzuto was AL MVP. Rizzuto is generally thought of as a leadoff batter but in 1950:

Batting 1st828239733868108194332465126.320.412.426.83814462604.34096122
Batting 2nd73733382795792173434834113.330.425.455.880127051302.336105140
Leadoff batters are probably the only MVP if they are shortstops.

Barry Larkin was NL MVP in 1995:

Batting 1st1919867418245028102117.324.419.473.89235010002.338102138
Batting 2nd636326423745731447252932123.308.366.489.856116422205.31692131
Batting 3rd494921718535611026331202919.330.417.503.91993201221.340108115
Zoilo Veraslles was AL MVP in 1965 for the Twins leading the AL in 2B, 3B, TB; 716 PA batting leadoff.

Jackie Bradley outfielder with the Red Sox uncharacteristically batted leadoff May 26, 2016 and his 29 game hitting streak was stopped. During that streak Bradley mostly batted 9th and 8th. Towards the end Bradley was batting 7th, finally 6th in 2 of final 3; second once.

DiMaggio batted cleanup during his 1941 56 game hitting streak. That might have cost him some PA but not as much as Bradley batting way down.

I don't have an easy way to find the batting order position other than looking at individual players for a season. But I may try to find that for at least some who led their league in BA or HR.

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