James Click generously answered my email regards running his lineup calculations for my version of the Giants lineup.
Using 2004 numbers for the lineup below, sorting by descending OBP, I get an average of 978 runs (min: 831, max: 1127, stdev: 46). Sorting ascending, I get 892 runs (min: 760; max: 1045, stdev: 45). This is by far the biggest difference I’ve found going through various “real” lineups like this and obviously it’s due almost entirely to Bonds. Using what I would assume is the Giants’ most likely lineup and keeping Bonds fourth, the mean is 965. Moving him to third yields 972, second is 974, first is 975. Most of this is due to the fact that his power is lost on Matheny and (pitcher) in the 8/9 holes the higher he goes. I’m looking to do a follow-up article discussing the interaction between OBP and SLG in the lineup, but it appears from this small sample that moving higher OBP in the lineup shows diminishing returns if it’s accompanied by high SLG following low OBP, confirming some standard lineup ideas. I’ll have to do some more research to find out just how much.
So, what Click is saying is that my version of the lineup would be the most effective. Here, I’ll show it in a graph:
OBM lineup: AVG 978
Alou lineup: AVG 965
Bonds 3rd: AVG 972
Bonds 2nd: AVG 974
Bonds 1st: AVG 975
So you can’t just move him up, you’ve got to exercise some discipline and move other guys into non-traditional slots. But, Bonds is so much more effective than even the best guys in the league, he’s worth it. He’s also saying that stacking guys with the best OBP in front of the best SLG also holds water, so it would be important to figure out exactly where you can hide the pitcher and Matheny. Again, in my lineup, they are in the middle, so that I can at least have two occasions where I am controlling the matchups.
It would also be possible that, would Alou be ballsy enough to actually do this, Bonds would understand that him on first with no outs is probably more valuable then even a home run (statistically, over the long run), and he would see to it that he would be even more selective than normal. This would make the lineup even more effective.
I’m looking forward to Click’s followup.