by Joe Giglio
Splits – statistics used to break down performance based on variables – are used during the course of every single game. Manager’s break down batter vs. pitcher splits before games to ensure the best lineup possible. Home/road splits are taken into account for teams that play in Petco or Coors Field. Of course, all this information is only as good as the roster given to each skipper. Pinch-hitting for a hitter who struggles against lefties is only smart if there’s a replacement that dominates them.
But what if managers had any combination possible to them on a daily basis. If they could, how would the ultimate lineup look vs. right-handed pitching? How about against a tough lefty? Here’s a snapshot of what the “perfect” lineup would look like if every player were willing and able to be penciled into the lineup on a given day.
*Stats and splits for the 2012 season
**Weighted Runs Created, +wRC, is a stat that measures runs created by simplifying the composite box score. In general, a score of 120 is excellent, 100 great, and 80 above average.
Against right-handed pitching:
C: Jarrod Saltalamacchia - .953 OPS, 159 wRC+
1B: Joey Votto – 1.160 OPS, 203 wRC+
2B: Robinson Cano – 1.021 OPS, 173 wRC+
3B: David Wright – 1.063 OPS, 190 wRC+
SS: Jed Lowrie - .914 OPS, 150 wRC+
LF: Josh Hamilton – 1.165 OPS, 202 wRC+
CF: Adam Jones - .935 OPS, 154 wRC+
RF: Mark Trumbo – 1.074 OPS, 194 wRC+
DH: Adam Dunn - .986 OPS, 166 wRC+
Against left-handed pitching:
|Hairston has a 1.134 OPS vs LHP|
Picture courtesy of US Presswire
C: Jesus Montero – 1.100 OPS, 210 wRC+
1B: Paul Goldschmidt – 1.114 OPS, 189 wRC+
2B: Jose Altuve – 1.068 OPS, 191 wRC+
3B: David Wright – 1.007 OPS, 172 wRC+
SS: Derek Jeter – 1.150 OPS, 215 wRC+
LF: Scott Hairston – 1.134 OPS, 208 wRC+
CF: Andrew McCutchen – 1.195 OPS, 221 wRC+
RF: Giancarlo Stanton – 1.127 OPS, 196 wRC+
DH: Billy Butler – 1.163 OPS, 217 wRC+
Conceivably, even the toughest pitchers in baseball would quiver at the site of these lineups. For pitchers like Jake Arrieta and Max Scherzer – hard throwers with ERA’s over 6.00 against lefties – facing a lineup full of those who mash would be impossible to navigate. On that same note, Jamie Moyer and Matt Harrison can’t get righties out. Facing a lineup of Jeter-Altuve-McCutchen-Wright-Stanton-Butler-Goldschmidt-Montero-Hairston would end in disaster. Of course, no team could ever pull off a split lineup as one-sided as these examples. If they ever could, the likely result would be home run derby.
Joe Giglio is a sports talk host at WNST in Baltimore, co-host of the Just a Bit Outside podcast on iTUNES, former intramural coordinator at DeSales University, husband, and baseball fanatic willing to argue Jeff Bagwell's Hall of Fame candidacy at a moment's notice. Follow him on Twitter @JoeGiglioSports and check out his blog at joegiglio.blogspot.com.