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View Full Version : Thome a leadoff hitter?


GregO23
08-22-2007, 11:47 PM
Rotoworld:
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he is thinking about putting Jim Thome in the leadoff spot late in the season if the slugger needs more at-bats to reach 500 home runs.

Anything is better than keeping Jerry Owens there. Thome is currently seven homers away from 500.


Did anyone else hear this somewhere else or is this just roto making some rumors. They bashed Owens

voodoochile
08-22-2007, 11:52 PM
the number of AB difference between the first and third slot in the lineup over an entire season is on average roughly 35 AB. Over the course of a month if it was done every game it might mean an extra 6 AB.

Over the final two weeks it would mean 3 extra AB. This makes NO sense...

Tragg
08-22-2007, 11:58 PM
It makes no sense to bat him leadoff in any sense of winning games.

But he might see more pitches, as he'll bat with fewer people on base (obviously in the 1st AB of the game; and then the bottom should get on less than the 1 and 2 hitters). But then he might not. Guillen was probably just goofin.

rowand33
08-23-2007, 12:07 AM
batting thome leadoff would change us from a last place team to a laughing stock.

JermaineDye05
08-23-2007, 12:10 AM
Batting Thome lead off is just like batting Soriano lead off, only difference (big difference at that) is Thome couldn't steal a base if his life depended on it. Bad idea don't do it. I don't see it happening, I see this as just idle speculation. Ozzie could have just joked about it and someone took it seriously.

oeo
08-23-2007, 12:22 AM
Batting Thome lead off is just like batting Soriano lead off, only difference (big difference at that) is Thome couldn't steal a base if his life depended on it. Bad idea don't do it. I don't see it happening, I see this as just idle speculation. Ozzie could have just joked about it and someone took it seriously.

No, the only difference being Thome actually gets on base.

Thome's got this one in the bag, IMO. As long as he doesn't have an injury setback, that is.

Nellie_Fox
08-23-2007, 01:08 AM
batting thome leadoff would change us from a last place team to a laughing stock.Too late.

Now, having made the snide remark, I'll be serious and say that's nonsense. Everyone will understand why they are doing it, even if it makes little sense statistically, as Voodoo pointed out.

areilly
08-23-2007, 01:22 AM
batting thome leadoff would change us from a last place team to a laughing stock.

Too late.

Now, having made the snide remark, I'll be serious and say that's nonsense. Everyone will understand why they are doing it, even if it makes little sense statistically, as Voodoo pointed out.

Didn't they do this for Bill Melton in the 70's?

I say do it. What do they have left to play for? A playoff spot? Pride? The storied tradition of White Sox baseball?

TornLabrum
08-23-2007, 01:26 AM
Didn't they do this for Bill Melton in the 70's?

I say do it. What do they have left to play for? A playoff spot? Pride? The storied tradition of White Sox baseball?

Yes, they did, when he was going for the AL home run championship. Lou Gehrig was once listed as shortstop and in the leadoff position in a road game in order to preserve his consecutive game streak. He got his at bat and was benched before he had to play shortstop.

Dan Mega
08-23-2007, 08:53 AM
I say do it. What do they have left to play for? A playoff spot? Pride? The storied tradition of White Sox baseball?

1st pick in the MLB draft? :D:

balke
08-23-2007, 09:13 AM
1st pick in the MLB draft? :D:

That's what it looks like. On the other hand, you're putting a guy who's on base .409 in front of Josh Fields, and I assume Konerko will hit 3rd, with Dye in the cleanup spot. Could mean a big 1st inning, and an early lead for the starters. Could be interesting to see how it works. I know it doesn't work great for Bonds when San Fran tries it, but he doesn't have those kind of hitters behind him.

whitem0nkey
08-23-2007, 10:22 AM
the number of AB difference between the first and third slot in the lineup over an entire season is on average roughly 35 AB. Over the course of a month if it was done every game it might mean an extra 6 AB.

Over the final two weeks it would mean 3 extra AB. This makes NO sense...

how are you able to figure this out? is there some formula I can use if I would like the know the extra AB you you would get moving from 1 spot to another?

russ99
08-23-2007, 10:24 AM
batting thome leadoff would change us from a last place team to a laughing stock.

At least we'd get the ground out to the right side (with the shift on) out of the way, without killing an inning.

Seriously, that's a really bad idea. Keep Thome where he's hitting now. If he doesn't hit 500 this year, there's always next season.

Also, that would mean taking Owens out of the leadoff spot, which would also be a mistake since he's getting better.

soxfan13
08-23-2007, 10:27 AM
1st pick in the MLB draft? :D:

OH BOY!!!!!!!:tongue:

CHIsoxNation
08-23-2007, 10:29 AM
It was talked about in the Suntimes today

Mad scientist?
Proving further what the dog days of summer can do to a manager, Guillen seriously is considering starting Jim Thome in the leadoff spot.
''The reason I might do it -- I don't say I'll do it; I must go through [general manager Ken Williams] and the coaching staff -- Thome needs the home runs late in the season, so I make sure I give him one more at-bat than anyone else,'' Guillen said. ''Why not? See what happens.'' Thome is seven homers shy of reaching 500

soltrain21
08-23-2007, 10:53 AM
I don't like this idea. Bat him second if you want; but don't take Jerry out of the lead off spot. He needs all the experience he can get.

areilly
08-23-2007, 11:00 AM
I don't like this idea. Bat him second if you want; but don't take Jerry out of the lead off spot. He needs all the experience he can get.

Jerry needs a lot of things. The Sox and their fans need something to cheer about. After watching this season, I need a drink.

Let's be serious here, people. This is an organization that has thrown a World Series and fielded a team in softball uniforms. There is no such thing as a ridiculous White Sox idea as far as I'm concerned. Bat him first and put a sign up on the scoreboard that says "SWING AT EVERY PITCH JIMMY."

TDog
08-23-2007, 12:07 PM
This isn't even a White Sox idea, as was pointed out with the Lou Gehrig example. When Mark McGwire couldn't play the field in 2000, Tony LaRussa, who made a good baseball move in batting Carlton Fisk second in 1983 and now raises eyebrows by batting his pitcher eighth, put him at second base and batted him second on the road before replacing him with the regular second baseman.

Chuck Tanner, of course, hit Bill Melton leadoff for the last two games of the 1971 season to get him as much as one more at bat in each when he was down two home runs to Reggie Jackson and Norm Cash in the home run race. Melton hit two home runs in the night game to tie for the league lead. With the other teams done, Melton hit a home run in his second at bat in the following day game. After going 0-for-6 against the Angels and Brewers in the cleanup spot, he got three homers in six at bats as a leadoff hitter. In the cleanup spot, he walked three time and hit into at least one doubleplay.

Batting Thome leadoff wouldn't be a team move. It would be a move to give a player a chance to reach a personal milesone. Leading off the game, Thome might get better pitches to hit. He wouldn't be able to ground into a doubleplay, but he wouldn't be a threat to steal if he got on base. When the lineup turned over with men on base, you would have a better RBI man in place.

I haven't checked, but Thome probably has the best on-base percentage on the team. If a team were allowed a designated runner for the designated hitter (an idea that never came close to approval), batting Thome leadoff would be an intriguing move. As it is, it would be just about getting him as much as one plate appearance per game for a team tied for last in the second-worst division in the major leagues.

soxfan13
08-23-2007, 12:13 PM
This isn't even a White Sox idea, as was pointed out with the Lou Gehrig example. When Mark McGwire couldn't play the field in 2000, Tony LaRussa, who made a good baseball move in batting Carlton Fisk second in 1983 and now raises eyebrows by batting his pitcher eighth, put him at second base and batted him second on the road before replacing him with the regular second baseman.

Chuck Tanner, of course, hit Bill Melton leadoff for the last two games of the 1971 season to get him as much as one more at bat in each when he was down two home runs to Reggie Jackson and Norm Cash in the home run race. Melton hit two home runs in the night game to tie for the league lead. With the other teams done, Melton hit a home run in his second at bat in the following day game. After going 0-for-6 against the Angels and Brewers in the cleanup spot, he got three homers in six at bats as a leadoff hitter. In the cleanup spot, he walked three time and hit into at least one doubleplay.

Batting Thome leadoff wouldn't be a team move. It would be a move to give a player a chance to reach a personal milesone. Leading off the game, Thome might get better pitches to hit. He wouldn't be able to ground into a doubleplay, but he wouldn't be a threat to steal if he got on base. When the lineup turned over with men on base, you would have a better RBI man in place.

I haven't checked, but Thome probably has the best on-base percentage on the team. If a team were allowed a designated runner for the designated hitter (an idea that never came close to approval), batting Thome leadoff would be an intriguing move. As it is, it would be just about getting him as much as one plate appearance per game for a team tied for last in the second-worst division in the major leagues.

would be no worse then Brian Downing batting lead off for most of his career and really excelling at it. No speed, .267 average, not tremendous power but he got on base. .370 career OBP.

TDog
08-23-2007, 12:33 PM
would be no worse then Brian Downing batting lead off for most of his career and really excelling at it. No speed, .267 average, not tremendous power but he got on base. .370 career OBP.

You're right. In fact, there have been some good leadoff hitters who weren't fast baserunners. Thome as a leadoff hitter wouldn't be the team's first choice or even the second or third choice by any means. With injuries (call them foreseeable, but people foresaw injuries in 2005) the White Sox don't have a good chance of getting the leadoff man on base. Having a slow man who gets on base leading off is better than having a fast man who can't get on. And when the lineup turns over with men on base, your leadoff man is no more a threat to drive in runs than your ninth-place hitter. In the last week, the Sox certainly have more RBI out of their No. 9 spot anyway.

It would be nice if Jerry Owens were better. Maybe some day he will be. If the 2007 Darrin Erstad were playing like the 2000 Darrin Erstad, the Sox would have a great leadoff hitter. Even if the Sox had the Podsednik they had in April, the Sox would be in immensely better shape.

Batting Thome leadoff isn't such a ridiculous idea considering the current state of the Sox.

chaerulez
08-23-2007, 12:55 PM
Thome as a lead off hitter wouldn't be a horrible move since he does get on base, I remember the Reds considered putting Dunn at leadoff because of his ability to draw walks. But even if a power hitter gets on base it's really silly to put them at the leadoff spot. I imagine the Cubs might have 2 or 3 extra wins if Soriano would have hit 4th or 5th the entire season. Despite the obvious first at bat where you come up with no runners, you hit behind the two worst hitters in the lineup. There is a reason Ramirez and Soriano have the same number of home runs, but Ramirez has almost double the RBIs in about 70 less at bats. He gets more chances to hit with runners on base, especially in the NL when the pitcher gets on base about 15 percent of the time. Soriano has a higher career slugging percentage than Lee or Ramirez, I just wonder how many runs the Cubs have wasted by a lead off HR with nobody on by Soriano when it could've potentially been a 2 or 3 run shot. So while Thome as a leadoff hitter wouldn't that bad since he has a high OBP (something Soriano doesn't), it would waste his power.

Nellie_Fox
08-24-2007, 01:32 AM
how are you able to figure this out? is there some formula I can use if I would like the know the extra AB you you would get moving from 1 spot to another?It's fairly simple. There are nine spots in the batting order, and 162 games in a season. The earlier in the batting order you are, the more likely you are to get an extra plate appearance in any given game. The likelihood of any particular spot getting the extra PA would be predictable by its spot in the order, with each successively earlier spot getting that spot 1/9 of the games more often.

If you divide the 162 games by 9 batting positions, you arrive at 18, which would be the average number of times each successively earlier position in the order would get the extra PA. So, the leadoff hitter, assuming playing the same number of games, would likely be the last hitter in a game 18 times more than the #2 hitter, and 144 times more (18 X 8) than the #9 hitter.

I'm quite certain I'm not making this clear.:tongue:

kittle42
08-24-2007, 01:58 AM
They're right about one thing...Jerry Owens is not good.

If this team has more than one of Owens/Richar/Fields/Sweeney starting next year, I quit.

Nellie_Fox
08-24-2007, 02:19 AM
If this team has more than one of Owens/Richar/Fields/Sweeney starting next year, I quit.Then you had better think about finding another team, because I'm reasonably certain you'll see at least two of them starting, Richar and Fields being the most likely.

StillMissOzzie
08-24-2007, 02:45 AM
how are you able to figure this out? is there some formula I can use if I would like the know the extra AB you you would get moving from 1 spot to another?

It's fairly simple. There are nine spots in the batting order, and 162 games in a season. The earlier in the batting order you are, the more likely you are to get an extra plate appearance in any given game. The likelihood of any particular spot getting the extra PA would be predictable by its spot in the order, with each successively earlier spot getting that spot 1/9 of the games more often.
I'm quite certain I'm not making this clear.:tongue:

I agree with you, Nellie...your per-season approach is not making this clear. Besides, there is less than 25% of the season left. Perhaps a bit of per-game analysis will help.

Usually, every batter is guaranteed three trips to the plate (27 outs/9 batter s=3) Exception: you are the home team and in the lead, but if that is the case, then your team got some men on base and scored, which also matters, as we shall see.
With every man that gets on base, via hit, walk, error, HBP,... and is not subsequently wiped out by a double play, picked off, caught stealing, etc. will advance the batting line by one. Each advance of the batting line gets another batter that 4th trip to the plate, starting with your leadoff man. Get 9 men on base (and hopefully score a few!), batters will start getting their 5th trip to the plate, again starting with the leadoff man.

The higher up in the order, the more likely you are to get more than your "guaranteed" 3 trips to the plate.

SMO
:gulp:

Nellie_Fox
08-24-2007, 03:20 AM
I agree with you, Nellie...your per-season approach is not making this clear. Besides, there is less than 25% of the season left. Perhaps a bit of per-game analysis will help.

Usually, every batter is guaranteed three trips to the plate (27 outs/9 batter s=3) Exception: you are the home team and in the lead, but if that is the case, then your team got some men on base and scored, which also matters, as we shall see.
With every man that gets on base, via hit, walk, error, HBP,... and is not subsequently wiped out by a double play, picked off, caught stealing, etc. will advance the batting line by one. Each advance of the batting line gets another batter that 4th trip to the plate, starting with your leadoff man. Get 9 men on base (and hopefully score a few!), batters will start getting their 5th trip to the plate, again starting with the leadoff man.

The higher up in the order, the more likely you are to get more than your "guaranteed" 3 trips to the plate.

SMO
Oh, yeah, that's ever so much more clear!:unsure:

IlliniSox4Life
08-24-2007, 04:26 AM
It's fairly simple. There are nine spots in the batting order, and 162 games in a season. The earlier in the batting order you are, the more likely you are to get an extra plate appearance in any given game. The likelihood of any particular spot getting the extra PA would be predictable by its spot in the order, with each successively earlier spot getting that spot 1/9 of the games more often.

If you divide the 162 games by 9 batting positions, you arrive at 18, which would be the average number of times each successively earlier position in the order would get the extra PA. So, the leadoff hitter, assuming playing the same number of games, would likely be the last hitter in a game 18 times more than the #2 hitter, and 144 times more (18 X 8) than the #9 hitter.

I'm quite certain I'm not making this clear.:tongue:

While this is probably a pretty decent way of thinking about it quickly, it is probably important to note that it probably isn't really accurate.

What I mean is, there are batters that are more likely to be the last batter up to hit based on their spot in the order. I don't know what the statistical distribution of ABs per side in an MLB game looks like, but it's obviously more likely that a side will finish with 29 ABs in a game than 28 ABs. There's probably some sort of bell curve looking distribution, and I am sure that there is some significant difference between the actual odds that an individual spot will be the last batter in the day and 1/9.

I'm quite certain I didn't make that clear either.

voodoochile
08-24-2007, 10:28 AM
Oh, yeah, that's ever so much more clear!:unsure:

I got it at least a non-scientific estimate.

Okay assume every position in the lineup has an equal chance of being the last at bat of the game and thus getting one more at bat than every person below him in the lineup. 1/9 = ~11%. This is how I arrived at the 35 AB example earlier, but the following is probably closer to being true.

As previously stated, higher slots are more likely to get more at bats, so simply find the mid point (slot 5) and label it the average (11%).

Now add 1%X number of slots differece for ever slot order above the 5th slot. (4th = 12%, 3rd = 13%, 2nd = 14%, 1st = 15%) and subtract 1% for every slot below the 5th slot X the number of slots difference. (6 = 10%, 7 = 9%, 8 = 8%, 9 = 7%).

Based on those numbers you will see that the game will end with the 1st or 2nd slot batting 29% of the time. That means in 29% of the games each season, the 1st slot will see an extra at bat above the 3rd slot.

.29 X 162 = 47 extra AB over the course of an entire season. Roughly 8 for a month and 4 over the final two weeks. That number is probably high because I am strictly fudging the percentages. Given Thome's HR/AB ratio this MIGHT lead to one extra HR in September if done for the entire month.

spiffie
08-24-2007, 10:39 AM
They're right about one thing...Jerry Owens is not good.

If this team has more than one of Owens/Richar/Fields/Sweeney starting next year, I quit.
But if you leave who will point out our flawed grammar? :o:

Honestly, I expect no less than 2, possibly 3, and would not be stunned by all 4 of them getting to start next year. If Crede is not fully recovered by opening day I could easily see a lineup of:
1B - Konerko - 12M
2B- Richar - .4M
SS- Eckstein - 8M
3B - Fields - .4M
LF - Sweeney - .4M
CF- Owens - .4M
RF - Dye - 9.5M
C- Pierzynski - 5.5M
DH - Thome - 8M (appx.)

If you assume Pods, Uribe, and Erstad gone next year, and a basically unchanged rotation (Buehrle - 14M, Garland - 12M, Vazquez - 11.5M, Contreras - 10M, Danks - .4M) and maybe a veteran signing for the pen of 2-3M yearly that's a $100 million payroll team right there.

voodoochile
08-24-2007, 10:46 AM
They're right about one thing...Jerry Owens is not good.

If this team has more than one of Owens/Richar/Fields/Sweeney starting next year, I quit.

Well, get your suitcase packed, because I would bet good money that at least two of those guys will be starting next year if not 3 of them.

kittle42
08-24-2007, 11:26 AM
But if you leave who will point out our flawed grammar? :o:

Honestly, I expect no less than 2, possibly 3, and would not be stunned by all 4 of them getting to start next year. If Crede is not fully recovered by opening day I could easily see a lineup of:
1B - Konerko - 12M
2B- Richar - .4M
SS- Eckstein - 8M
3B - Fields - .4M
LF - Sweeney - .4M
CF- Owens - .4M
RF - Dye - 9.5M
C- Pierzynski - 5.5M
DH - Thome - 8M (appx.)

If you assume Pods, Uribe, and Erstad gone next year, and a basically unchanged rotation (Buehrle - 14M, Garland - 12M, Vazquez - 11.5M, Contreras - 10M, Danks - .4M) and maybe a veteran signing for the pen of 2-3M yearly that's a $100 million payroll team right there.

That right there is a team built to compete for 3rd place.

kittle42
08-24-2007, 11:27 AM
Well, get your suitcase packed, because I would bet good money that at least two of those guys will be starting next year if not 3 of them.

I know. And I'm not happy. Damnit - 2008 is making me upset and 2007 isn't even over yet!

Nellie_Fox
08-24-2007, 03:39 PM
I don't know what the statistical distribution of ABs per side in an MLB game looks like,Well, all my life I'd heard the "rule-of-thumb" of 18 plate appearances per spot in the batting order over the course of a season.

I found a site where some guy was looking into the theory of stacking your batting order with the highest run producers first, descending to the lowest run producers in order to maximize output. He actually found out the number of plate appearances for each spot in the batting order across both leagues, using the 1992 season (he doesn't say why he used that year) and the difference was generally 15-20 PA per year per position. Pretty close to the rule-of-thumb. Link (http://danagonistes.blogspot.com/2004/08/batting-barry-first.html)

FedEx227
08-24-2007, 03:43 PM
Well, all my life I'd heard the "rule-of-thumb" of 18 plate appearances per spot in the batting order over the course of a season.

I found a site where some guy was looking into the theory of stacking your batting order with the highest run producers first, descending to the lowest run producers in order to maximize output. He actually found out the number of plate appearances for each spot in the batting order across both leagues, using the 1992 season (he doesn't say why he used that year) and the difference was generally 15-20 PA per year per position. Pretty close to the rule-of-thumb. Link (http://danagonistes.blogspot.com/2004/08/batting-barry-first.html)

I think 92, a lot like (I believe) 1984 is used by a lot of SABRs because it was a pretty straight forward year that had a good balance between pitching and hitting.

areilly
08-25-2007, 10:04 AM
That right there is a team built to compete for 3rd place.

Wow, from fifth to third in one offseason. Not bad!

The Critic
08-25-2007, 10:09 AM
If Jim's one or two bombs away from 500 HR and Ozzie wants to do this for the last few games of a lost season, I don't see the harm.