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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins


Monday, February 27, 2006

Fun With Lineups And Other Stuff

Feel like procrastinating? Give the 2006 Projection Lineup Toy a shot. Beautiful in its simplicity, here's how it works. First, you select nine baseball players (hitters only). Then the toy takes projected stats from the coming season (you can select one of two projection methods) and spits out a suggested batting order. The formula it uses is as follows:

1. Put the best OPS in 3rd
2. Put the best remaining SLG in 4th
3. Put the best remaining OBPs in 1st and 2nd (with the better SLG in 2nd)
4. Arrange the remaining players in order of descending SLG

I gave it a shot using the Phillies' projected starters (and used Tomas Perez as the ninth player, because I knew he'd be suggested as the pitcher's spot in the ninth hole). Here's what I got:

1. Pat Burrell
2. Chase Utley
3. Bobby Abreu
4. Ryan Howard
5. Aaron Rowand
6. Jimmy Rollins
7. Mike Lieberthal
8. David Bell

Very interesting. I like how the bottom of the order turned out - J-Roll's OBP just isn't leadoff material. However, Burrell leading off? That's a little silly. I wouldn't mind seeing Abreu get a shot at the top of the order - he gets on base and he can also steal a base. I'd move Rowand up to second (I hate the suggestions that Bell should bat second - please bury that guy as far down the order as possible). Then bat Utley third and Burrell behind Howard. Alternatively, switch Burrell and Howard so that the top six in the order alternate L-R-L-R-L-S. Of course, it's all a moot point, because Rollins is entrenched in the leadoff spot and everything will follow from there.

For more fun, I tried out a possible lineup for the U.S. and the Dominican for the upcoming World Baseball Classic (the teams I expect to meet in the final). What I got (taking a guess at starters, and using players I think are still going to play):

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Chipper Jones, 3B
3. Derrek Lee, 1B
4. Mark Teixeira, DH
5. Ken Griffey Jr., LF
6. Chase Utley, 2B
7. Vernon Wells, RF
8. Jason Varitek, C
9. Johnny Damon, CF

That's pretty good, but I don't know if it compares to this lineup:

1. Aramis Ramirez, 3B
2. Vladimir Guerrero, RF
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. David Ortiz, DH
5. Wily Mo Pena, CF
6. Miguel Tejada, SS
7. Jose Guillen, LF
8. Alfonso Soriano, 2B
9. Ronny Paulino, C

Wow. How does a pitcher even think about getting through the 2-4 hitters in that order unscathed? The U.S. better hope it can outpitch the Dominican, or the Dominicans could cruise.

***

As part of Bob Costas's introduction to last night's closing ceremonies, he noted, "You know, I'm guessing Andrea Bocelli never imagined that he would one day find himself on the same bill as Ricky Martin and Avril Lavigne. But the Olympics do bring people together."

Actually, I saw Andrea Bocelli perform at Live 8 in Paris this summer, where he shared a bill with, among others, Muse and Shakira, so I don't think the tenor was particularly surprised by his fellow performers at the closing ceremonies.

Nice try at capturing the Olympic spirit, though, Bob.

(By the way, did you know Andrea Bocelli is also blind and a lawyer? And here I thought Ben Affleck's character in Daredevil was the best-known blind lawyer out there.)

***

You don't want to be a terrorist, do you?

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