Today, I’m checking in on real estate value around the MLB…kind of. What I’m really looking at in this article is which positions in the batting order have provided the most value on a team-by-team basis. I’m not as much interested in players who are settled into spots because, in those cases, most of the value is generated from the player himself. For example, if the leadoff spot for the Orioles has rated well, it’s probably because Manny Machado has been playing well. Excluding those instances, there are a lot of spots that teams use to deploy a platoon and others that are just completely up for grabs.
- Tigers (R Davis, Kinsler, Gose) +1.47
- Diamondbacks (Inciarte, Pollock, Ahmed) +1.33
- Giants (Pagan, Blanco) +1.19
- Nationals (Taylor, Escobar, Span) +1.1
Starting from the top of the order, I found three MLB teams that have used several different players in the leadoff spot over the past couple weeks and have added significant value. The Tigers have added 1.47 points from the leadoff spot using three different players. Rajai Davis leads the way in Plus/Minus while batting leadoff for Detroit, adding over two points in each split. Kinsler and Gose also finished comfortably in the green against lefties and merit DFS consideration when batting here.
This is the first of several times the Diamondbacks will appear in this article. They have an offense that overall has done well in terms of exceeding projections, but it’s also a lineup that changes from day to day pretty frequently. The Nationals and Giants present the case for always considering a cheap bat hitting leadoff – neither team has had a player cost over $3500 on DraftKings batting leadoff since 7/6 (Denard Span).
- Diamondbacks (Pollock, Owings, Peralta, Inciarte, Pennington) +2.00
- Astros (Tucker, M Gonzalez) +1.53
- Cubs (Bryant, Rizzo, Schwarber) +1.45
- Padres (Solarte, Alonso, Amarista) +1.42
- Phillies (Herrera, Revere, Galvis, C Hernandez) +1.39
The Diamondbacks appear again at the two spot. Pollock, Peralta, and Inciarte have all added significant value here and the team’s Plus/Minus in this category (+2.00) would be through the roof if Chris Owings wasn’t dragging it down, posting a -4.6 score in nine starts.
The Cubs players have exceeded value, even considering the high cost of these players on DraftKings, while the Padres, Phillies, and Astros present the case for cheap players batting second. The Astros’ Gonzalez/Tucker combination has been excellent over the past two weeks:
- Dodgers (Turner, A Gonzalez) +1.55
- Reds (Votto, Frazier) +1.26
- Tigers (V Martinez, Cespedes) +1.25
- Cubs (Bryant, Rizzo) + 1.25
Bryant and Rizzo have switched spots in the order frequently, which is why they appear under both the second and third spots. There aren’t really any surprises at this spot in the order, but it is worth noting that this is the first spot in the order where the cheap plays haven’t really fared too well. Cesar Hernandez, Daniel Murphy, Wilmer Flores, Christian Yelich, and Adeiny Hechavarria are a few players who have failed to exceed value despite batting in a favorable position recently.
- Diamondbacks (Peralta, Pollock, Tomas) + 1.4
- Nationals (Escobar, Ramos) +1.33
- Mariners (Cano, Cruz) +1.23
- Reds (Bruce, Frazier) +1.02
Arizona continues to dominate value added at the top of the order, though truthfully it’s really been one player doing most of the heavy lifting at cleanup:
The Nationals’ inclusion in this spot is a little misleading. Everyone other than Bryce Harper has fared poorly when batting cleanup:
- Athletics (Smolinski, Butler, Reddick, I Davis) +1.81
- Royals (Perez, Morales) +1.15
- Rockies (Arenado, Rosario, Paulsen, C Gonzalez, McKenry) +1.08
Oakland likes to sub splitty guys with high ISO ratings in this part of the order, making their lineup a good one to keep an eye out for on a daily basis. Interestingly, Oakland typically uses a Butler/Reddick combo at cleanup and they have done much worse in that position (-0.06). At fifth in the order, the Athletics have done a good job against each handedness:
From here on, it gets kind of messy, so I won’t go into the same amount of detail for the rest of the spots. The teams have added value at the bottom of the order are who we would typically consider the stronger offenses in the league. Here is the rest of the list:
- Yankees (Headley, Beltran, Young, McCann) +1.64
- Blue Jays (Martin, Navarro, Smoak) +1.12
- Tigers (Castellanos, Avila, Kraus, Marte) +0.98
- Rangers (Rosales, Hamilton, Andrus, Rua, Odor, Moreland) +0.97
- Nationals (Desmond, Moore, Ramos, den Dekker, C Robinson, Espinosa) +0.88
- Dodgers (Rollins, E Hernandez, Callaspo, A Ellis, A Guerrero) +1.44
- Diamondbacks (Owings, Ahmed, Pennington, Castillo, Hill) +0.78
- Pirates (N Walker, Cervelli, C Stewart, Mercer, S Rodriguez, Ishikawa) +0.44
- Blue Jays (Pillar, Valencia, Carrera) +1.15
- Tigers (J McCann, Iglesias, Romine, Gose) +1.13
- Reds (Barnhart, I De Jesus, Schumaker, Bourgeois) +0.7
Batting Ninth: *Most NL teams excluded due to small sample (pitcher slot)
- Rangers (Chirinos, Corporan) +0.12
There’s a lot to consider with changing lineups – price, opposition, overall strength of the offense, to name a few. What stands out to me after looking at this data is that price seems to be more important at the top of the order while overall strength of the offense helps propel value at the bottom of the order.