Picking the Optimal 2011 Yankees Lineup

New York Yankees infielders Derek Jeter and Robinson CanoOur former writer Matt Imbrogno, currently at The Yankee Analysts, started doing this a couple years back and I kept it going last season after he left. It’s always been a pretty popular post so I wanted to do it again this season.

To find the Yankee’s optimal lineup I’ve plugged the starters into Baseball Musings Lineup Analysis tool using the 2011 PECOTA projections for the Yankees hitters.

Here is what I expect the Yankees lineup to look like:

  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Brett Gardner, LF
  3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
  5. Robinson Cano, 2B
  6. Nick Swisher, RF
  7. Jorge Posada, DH
  8. Curtis Granderson, CF
  9. Russell Martin, C

Using the Lineup Analysis tool and the PECOTA projections this lineup is expected to score 5.438 runs per game or 881 runs over the course of the season (up from MLB leading 859 runs scored in 2010).

However, the Lineup Analysis tool gives us what it thinks is the optimal Yankees lineup based solely on OBP and SLUG%:

  1. Russell Martin, C
  2. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  3. Jorge Posada, DH
  4. Alex Rodriguez 3B
  5. Nick Swisher, RF
  6. Curtis Granderson, CF
  7. Robinson Cano, 2B
  8. Derek Jeter, SS
  9. Brett Gardner, LF

This lineup, though unorthodox, is projected to score 5.520 runs per game, or 894 runs over the course of the year. That’s about a 13 run difference, or about one win difference, over the course of the year.

If you were wondering, the reason Martin is leading off and not Gardner is because speed isn’t factored into this equation. Also, PECOTA is predicting that Martin’s OBP will be slightly higher than Gardner’s and the two are expected to have the lowest SLUG% on the team.

It’s also important to know that while PECOTA is probably the most accurate tool to predict future production we have, it doesn’t know basic human elements. For instance it doesn’t know that Granderson improved from last season, Rodriguez was able to workout at 100 percent this offseason for the first time in years (although it does predict A-Rod will hit 34 homers with a .273/.370/.517 line), and Jeter has been working with Kevin Long to fix his swing.

For the record here is the worst lineup the Yankees could put out:

  1. Curtis Granderson, CF
  2. Derek Jeter, SS
  3. Robinson Cano, 2B
  4. Brett Gardner, LF
  5. Jorge Posada, DH
  6. Russell Martin, C
  7. Nick Swisher, RF
  8. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  9. Alex Rodriguez, 3B

That lineup projects to score just 5.217 runs per game or 845 runs per game. So maybe the Yankees don’t want Tex and A-Rod hitting 8th and 9th in the order.

That was fun, but I want to know what your ideal Yankees lineup would be. If you want use these PECOTA projections and this tool to see how many runs per game they would score.

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8 Responses to Picking the Optimal 2011 Yankees Lineup

  1. David K. says:

    1. Gardner

    2. Swisher

    3. Cano

    4. Rodriguez

    5.

  2. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    Nothing wrong with that. If only they would put up 5+ runs consistently come playoff time, that might take some burden off their starting rotation.

  3. Bronx Knight says:

    1. Gardner

    2. Jeter

    3. Cano

    4. A-Rod

    5. Teixeira

    6. Swisher

    7. Posada

    8. Martin

    9. Granderson

  4. David K. says:

    5. Teixeira
    6. Posada
    7. Granderson
    8. Montero
    9. Jeter

  5. JoeYankeeFan says:

    Gardner

    Swish

    Cano

    Alex

    Tex

    Posdada

    Granderson

    Martin

    Jeter

  6. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    You know, as much as I like that lineup, I’m more enthused about the players who might be getting ABs that aren’t the starters, versus last year when the bench guys had a very low OPS+, well below average. Hopefully, with Nunez being utilized more, Montero hopefully on the roster, and Jones against lefties, they will have a much more potent offense off the bench.

  7. Mike S. says:

    If you plug in last year's numbers, you find that it gives Gardner 1 and Cano 2 for 2010.

  8. Bronx Knight says:

    OK, I can’t see batting a guy (Jeet) with a .314 career BA 9th, but there is a common theme developing here: Gardner leads off, Cano in the three-hole, A-Rod and Teixeira 4th and 5th.

    Can someone forward this to Girardi?

    Oh, as for PECOTA: garbage in, garbage out. Ignore speed and you get absurd results, such as leading off your catcher (although I am surprised to see that Martin had 21 SB in 2007, on 30 attempts).