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Best 1-5 Hitters in History?


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#1 jon abbey


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 10:42 AM

When I noticed the other day that the top 4 guys in Boston's lineup were all in the top 5 in the league in fWAR for hitters, I started to wonder what the best top 5 of a lineup ever has been and whether Boston's current guys were up there. I don't have time right now to do much research, but I can start it off with Boston's:

OPS+

Ellsbury-140
Pedroia-135
A-Gon-162
Youkilis-142
Ortiz-153

That's an average of 146.

#2 jon abbey


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 10:47 AM

1975 Reds

Rose: 132
Morgan: 169
Bench: 140
Perez: 124
Foster: 139

Average: 141

#3 jon abbey


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 10:50 AM

1999 Indians:

Lofton: 111
Vizquel: 110
Alomar: 139
Manny: 173
Thome: 141

Average: 135

#4 derekson

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 10:54 AM

I'd be more interested in seeing the comparison done by wRC+, especially since Ells and Pedroia steal a decent number of bags and all of these guys have great OBPs, and OPS+ underrates OBP relative to SLG.

#5 RingoOSU


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 11:01 AM

You can't average five OPSs without adjusting for PA.

#6 jon abbey


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 11:05 AM

You can't average five OPSs without adjusting for PA.


It's just shorthand, trying to find some candidates. Feel free to delve more deeply into the numbers any way you like.

1936 Yankees:

Crosetti: 105
Rolfe: 120
DiMaggio: 128
Gehrig: 190
Dickey: 158

Average: 140

#7 jon abbey


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 11:08 AM

1927 Yankees:

Combs: 141
Koenig: 83
Ruth: 225
Gehrig: 220
Meusel: 135

Average: 161 (!)

#8 Alternate34

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 11:08 AM

Consider their actual best 5 hitters (Koenig batted 2nd but was worse than Lazzeri), replacing Koenig with Lazzeri.

1927 New York Yankees.

Earle Combs - 141
Tony Lazzeri - 125
Babe Ruth - 225
Lou Gehrig - 220
Bob Meusel - 135

Average OPS+ - 169

Edit - Beaten by abbey, but decided to put the actual top 5 hitters.

2nd Edit - I should really use clearer language when making a side point.

Edited by Alternate34, 22 July 2011 - 12:33 PM.


#9 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 11:08 AM

You can't average five OPSs without adjusting for PA.


If you don't want to do all that work, you could at least just go with the median number. But if you want an accurate gauge, you're better off using a counting stat like WAR. The problem is lineups from older teams won't have defensive numbers. Of course, you're looking at purely offensive output, so something like wRC would be easy enough to compile and then add up. Fangraphs has wRC going as far back to 1871, which does take base running into account. The downside is that it's not adjusted for league or park effects, so the eras will skew the numbers.

Edited by Snodgrass'Muff, 22 July 2011 - 11:10 AM.


#10 jon abbey


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 11:10 AM

Now, if you are a stickler for lineup accuracy, the actual 1-5 was:


Yeah, I think lineup accuracy is important in this.

#11 Alternate34

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 11:12 AM

Yeah, I think lineup accuracy is important in this.


Edited my post to reflect that. However, when Koenig was not batting (Only 568 PAs) who batted second? I know that doesn't justify altering the top 5 order, but it does get to the counting stat issue.

#12 jon abbey


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 11:13 AM

Edited my post to reflect that. However, when Koenig was not batting (Only 568 PAs) who batted second? I know that doesn't justify altering the top 5 order, but it does get to the counting stat issue.


Yeah, my versions are obviously very rough, I'm using game 1 of each postseason for lineups.

#13 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 11:17 AM

This might be an interesting site-wide project sort of like the list of all time Red Sox players that was put up. Maybe we should look for volunteers to mine the data and post nominations over a period of time, stating the case statistically (we can come up with some rough criteria) and then have posters make arguments for or against various nominations, before voting on where these groups of hitters should end up. There would be a little variance in the voting based on preference for specific stats, but overall, I think we could come up with a pretty accurate list.

Maybe we could break it down by decade or even smaller chunks like 5 years? Just tossing ideas out on the table.

#14 RingoOSU


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 11:18 AM

Speaking of top 5 hitters, the 2011 Tigers have the hugest gap between the best of the team and the rest of any team in history:
http://www.baseballt...red-jackets.htm

#15 JMDurron

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 11:33 AM

If you don't want to do all that work, you could at least just go with the median number. But if you want an accurate gauge, you're better off using a counting stat like WAR. The problem is lineups from older teams won't have defensive numbers. Of course, you're looking at purely offensive output, so something like wRC would be easy enough to compile and then add up. Fangraphs has wRC going as far back to 1871, which does take base running into account. The downside is that it's not adjusted for league or park effects, so the eras will skew the numbers.


I think the league and park effects are significant enough for this kind of comparison to make OPS+ weighted by PAs a better measure than wRC. How much do we trust the wRC baserunning data from the 1930s and 1920s?

Toward that end, just taking the lineups posted by JA (I used Alt34's 1927 Yankees), the results when OPS+ is weighted by PAs for each of the 5 players:

2011 Red Sox - OPS+ of 146.25 in 2057 PAs
1975 Reds - OPS+ of 140.88 in 3093 PAs
1999 Indians - OPS+ of 135.26 in 3187 PAs
1936 Yankees - OPS+ of 139.26 in 3245 PAs
1927 Yankees - OPS+ of 165.88 in 3242 PAs

I'm not verifying the lineups, just going with what gets posted here.

EDIT - To reflect most frequently used 1927 Yankees lineup

Edited by JMDurron, 22 July 2011 - 11:50 AM.


#16 RingoOSU


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 11:36 AM

Lazzeri batted 2nd 1 time and 6th 150 times.

And to answer an earlier question Ray Moreheart's 79 OPS+ filled in those other games.

Edited by RingoOSU, 22 July 2011 - 11:38 AM.


#17 JMDurron

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 11:48 AM

Ok, so I lied. I went to b-ref and got the following most frequent batters at each lineup spot for the 1927 Yankees

1st - Combs (151 games)
2nd - Koenig (115 games)
3rd - Ruth (151)
4th - Gehrig (155)
5th - Meusel (130)

I'm going to modify my 1927 Yankees data to reflect this order, since there's so much dispute here. Morehart only hit 2nd 39 times.

#18 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 11:52 AM

I think the league and park effects are significant enough for this kind of comparison to make OPS+ weighted by PAs a better measure than wRC. How much do we trust the wRC baserunning data from the 1930s and 1920s?


What concerns me is that OPS+ does not take OBP into account enough for my tastes. wRC+ is based on wOBA, which I like quite a bit more. I agree that wRC is a bad way to go, as it's not league or park adjusted, but wRC+ is, and it's designed to allow you to compare across leagues and years. And while the base running data from the 1920's and 1930's might not be perfect, I'd rather take it into account than ignore it entirely if we're looking for total offensive value. Plus, it's not like the base running portion is overly complex. It's SB and CS.

If we just want to look at the best "hitters" then OPS+ would work alright, but I still don't like the bias toward slugging.

#19 Alternate34

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 12:31 PM

If you don't want to do all that work, you could at least just go with the median number. But if you want an accurate gauge, you're better off using a counting stat like WAR. The problem is lineups from older teams won't have defensive numbers. Of course, you're looking at purely offensive output, so something like wRC would be easy enough to compile and then add up. Fangraphs has wRC going as far back to 1871, which does take base running into account. The downside is that it's not adjusted for league or park effects, so the eras will skew the numbers.


Some counting stats, particularly WAR, are not ideal for this. Comparing to replacement level player at the same position is normally very valuable. In a lineup discussion, it is less so. I think offensive output compared to a league wide benchmark better gets at what jonabbey is looking for here.

For example, I took a look at the 1998 Yankees. I didn't think they would be at the very top of teams and I was correct. However, their top two (Jeter, Knoblauch) would get a boost in WAR because they would be compared to a SS and 2B for replacement level. That boost would not be appropriate for this exercise because we are just looking for the 1-5 that contributed the most in runs, not compared to position. The conclusion is that OPS+, which does adjust for park and era to a degree, is a pretty good stat to use, if adjusted for PAs.

#20 Al Zarilla


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 12:42 PM

1941 Red Sox

Dom DiMaggio
Bobby Doerr
Ted Williams
Jimmy Foxx
Joe Cronin

Avg. OPS+ = 144. Of course almost a third of that was Williams. I checked most of the other Williams years and I can't believe this year eclipses them all in OPS+.

#21 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 12:44 PM

Some counting stats, particularly WAR, are not ideal for this. Comparing to replacement level player at the same position is normally very valuable. In a lineup discussion, it is less so. I think offensive output compared to a league wide benchmark better gets at what jonabbey is looking for here.

For example, I took a look at the 1998 Yankees. I didn't think they would be at the very top of teams and I was correct. However, their top two (Jeter, Knoblauch) would get a boost in WAR because they would be compared to a SS and 2B for replacement level. That boost would not be appropriate for this exercise because we are just looking for the 1-5 that contributed the most in runs, not compared to position. The conclusion is that OPS+, which does adjust for park and era to a degree, is a pretty good stat to use, if adjusted for PAs.


But again, wRC+ does the same thing OPS+ does, it just does a better job of weighting OBP and SLG.

Edited by Snodgrass'Muff, 22 July 2011 - 12:48 PM.


#22 JohntheBaptist


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 01:03 PM

1931 A's

Bishop, 2B 113
Haas, CF 114
Cochrane, C 149
Simmons, LF 175
Foxx, 1B 140

Avg 138

edit--the 29-31 A's were all right in the same neighborhood with the same guys each year (swapping Jimmy Dykes for Mule Haas in '30)

Edited by JohntheBaptist, 22 July 2011 - 01:06 PM.


#23 kanga12

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 01:56 PM

1990 A's*

1. Rickey Henderson LF 188
2. Carney Lansford 3B 87
3. Jose Canseco RF 158
4. Mark McGwire 1B 143
5. Dave Henderson CF 125

Average = 140.2 OPS+

#24 thehitcat

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 02:01 PM

1990 A's*

1. Rickey Henderson LF 188
2. Carney Lansford 3B 87
3. Jose Canseco RF 158
4. Mark McGwire 1B 143
5. Dave Henderson CF 125

Average = 140.2 OPS+

Dude get out of my head. I was just coming back from BRef with this.

To add a little PA totals
Rickey 594
Lansford 564
Casnseco 563
McGwire 650
Hendu 494 (then they got Baines and McGee)

#25 Razor Shines

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 02:28 PM

Cool thread.

1982 Brew Crew:

1) Paul Molitor 129, also 41 steals in 50 attempts
2) Robin Yount 166
3) Cecil Cooper 142
4) Ted Simmons 112
5) Gorman Thomas 137

Weighted average OPS+: 138

Disclaimer: this is actually the 2nd most used lineup. The most common lineup had Ben Oglivie in the 5th spot instead of Thomas, which drops the weighted average OPS+ to 134.

#26 Bergs

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 02:28 PM

1999 Indians:

Lofton: 0
Vizquel: 0
Alomar: 0
Manny: 0
Thome: 0

Average: 0


Pedro game 5.

#27 tims4wins


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 02:34 PM

1993 Toronto Blue Jays

Devon White: 108 OPS+ (668 PAs)
Roberto Alomar: 141 OPS+ (683 PAs)
Paul Molitor: 143 OPS+ (725 PAs)
Joe Carter: 112 OPS+ (669 PAs)
John Olerud: 186 OPS+ (679 PAs)

Weighted: 138.24 OPS+

Bonus: 119 SB, 28 CS

Edited by tims4wins, 22 July 2011 - 02:43 PM.


#28 Razor Shines

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 02:36 PM

Where are you guys getting most frequent lineup position from?

It's under the "Other" tab in the baseballreference.com team pages.

#29 tims4wins


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 02:41 PM

It's under the "Other" tab in the baseballreference.com team pages.

Thanks, found it

#30 JMDurron

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 02:41 PM

I think the league and park effects are significant enough for this kind of comparison to make OPS+ weighted by PAs a better measure than wRC. How much do we trust the wRC baserunning data from the 1930s and 1920s?

Toward that end, just taking the lineups posted by JA (I used Alt34's 1927 Yankees), the results when OPS+ is weighted by PAs for each of the 5 players:

2011 Red Sox - OPS+ of 146.25 in 2057 PAs
1975 Reds - OPS+ of 140.88 in 3093 PAs
1999 Indians - OPS+ of 135.26 in 3187 PAs
1936 Yankees - OPS+ of 139.26 in 3245 PAs
1927 Yankees - OPS+ of 165.88 in 3242 PAs

I'm not verifying the lineups, just going with what gets posted here.

EDIT - To reflect most frequently used 1927 Yankees lineup


Adding the new nominees to this list, and sorting by OPS+ weighted by PAs

1927 Yankees - 165.88
2011 Red Sox - 146.25
1941 Red Sox - 143.78
1990 A's - 141.15
1975 Reds - 140.88
1936 Yankees - 139.26
1931 A's - 138.24
1993 Blue Jays - 138.24
1982 Brewers - 137.99
1999 Indians - 135.26


EDIT - I'm too slow, more nominees have appeared. I'll edit this when I get the chance.

Edited by JMDurron, 22 July 2011 - 02:50 PM.


#31 Alternate34

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 03:01 PM

But again, wRC+ does the same thing OPS+ does, it just does a better job of weighting OBP and SLG.


Yeah, you're right. Here are some wRC+ numbers for the teams mentioned. For lineups I used the B-Ref lineup tool to figure out who had the most appearances at each slot. I think one of the keys to this exercise is finding a team that (1) scored a shitload of runs and (2) had well known number 1 and number 2 hitters. Too many times those managers have only a decent lead-off man and then pop a relatively poor #2 hitter in there. This is fairly common knowledge (number 2's generally were "bat control" guys) but just looking up offensive juggernauts, they would be awesome if you used 3-7 rather than 1-5.

1927 Yankees

Combs - 143
Koenig - 83
Ruth - 214
Gehrig - 210
Meusel - 136

Average - 157

1975 Reds

Rose - 137
Morgan - 188
Bench - 142
Perez - 125
Foster - 138

Average - 146

1999 Indians

Lofton - 121
Vizquel - 121
Alomar - 147
Manny - 171
Thome - 143

Average - 141

2011 Red Sox

Ellsbury - 147
Pedroia - 143
Gonzalez - 162
Youkilis - 147
Ortiz - 155

Average - 151

1930 Athletics

Bishop - 121
Dykes - 118
Cochrane - 142
Simmons - 178
Foxx - 161

Average - 144

1996 Mariners

Cora - 92
Rodriguez - 162
Griffey Jr. - 152
Martinez - 165
Buhner - 128

Average - 140

1953 Brooklyn Dodgers

Gilliam - 107
Reese - 110
Snider - 165
Robinson - 143
Campanella - 153

Average - 136

1982 Brewers

Molitor - 137
Yount - 167
Cooper - 140
Simmons - 111
Oglivie - 115

Average - 134

1999 Rangers

McLemore - 88
Rodriguez - 125
Greer - 128
Gonzalez - 138
Palmeiro - 155

Average - 127

Comments: Threw in this one to show how a bad leadoff hitter, a great hitters park, and a great hitters era can make what looks like 3 HoF seasons look a little worse.

1919 White Sox

Leibold - 121
Collins - 134
Weaver - 101
Jackson - 157
Felsch - 115

Average - 126

Comments - Threw in this one because it is a famous team and it is not a particularly good offensive team that actually put their 5 best hitters at the top.

If I can find the time, I might try a weighted approach, counting the best hitter once, the second best hitter twice, etc. The reason for this is that some of these teams are really a great 2-5, or in the case of the 1927 Yankees, a great 1 and 3-5. Also did this alot earlier in between work and missed a few teams, though I guessed a lot of the teams that came up. Wasn't sure which earlier Red Sox team to use. 1941 was probably the best option. 1950 scored a shit ton of runs, but that was because the whole lineup was above 100 wRC+

#32 Trlicek's Whip

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 03:21 PM

Great thread. Fun to re-remember some solid seasons by players and teams. The thought process behind finding elite lineups was fun too.

I'd think of teams that had a memorable HR hitter (Bonds, Sosa, etc.) then B-Ref that hitter's peak years to see who else in the lineup raked. Most teams either had two studs offset by three "fair" i.e. non-elite OPS+ numbers.

Then I started thinking of prolific *leadoff* hitters and of course kanga nailed Rickey Henderson/A's, which was the first team that came to mind for me.

A lot of lineups fail the test because they didn't stack their top OPS's 1-5. The 2000 Houston Astros set HR records that season, but Juilo Lugo led them off with only an OPS+ of 90, and Craig Biggio was on the wrong side of 30 so only put up a 93 (as opposed to 130+ seasons in his late-20's. And Richard Hidalgo (44 HR) was second to Bagwell (47) on the team but he spent all year hitting 6th.

Several CLE teams in the mid-90's were deep - but spread out over the entire batting order. In 1995 they penciled in Omar Visquel in the "prototypical" #2 spot. While Eddie Murray was still productive, he wasn't as scary as Thome and Ramirez anymore. Here's the 1995 CLE hitters #1-6:

Lofton 110
Visquel 78
Baerga 108
Belle 177
Murray 129
#6 Jim Thome 157
#7 Manny Ramirez 147

alternate34 stole my thunder while I was posting this!

1996 Mariners

Cora - 92
Rodriguez - 162
Griffey Jr. - 152
Martinez - 165
Buhner - 128

Average - 140


To add to this, their HR totals:
Cora 6
A-Rod 36
Griffey 49
Buhner 44
Edgar 26! His OPS led the team, buoyed by 52 doubles.

Edited by Trlicek's Whip, 22 July 2011 - 03:24 PM.


#33 Trlicek's Whip

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 03:28 PM

To get on the board, I loved the 1989 SF Giants. Kevin Mitchell's 47 HR breakout/outlier season was so much fun to follow that year. [I'm using OPS+ as the down-and-dirty stat]:

Brett Butler 105
Robby Thompson 108
Will Clark 175
Kevin Mitchell 192
Ernie Riles 115

Average OPS+ 139

Another case of two other-worldly hitters, and a bunch of solid but not supernatural seasons by the other 3/5 of the lineup.

Edited by Trlicek's Whip, 22 July 2011 - 03:30 PM.


#34 tims4wins


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 03:37 PM

To get on the board, I loved the 1989 SF Giants. Kevin Mitchell's 47 HR breakout/outlier season was so much fun to follow that year. [I'm using OPS+ as the down-and-dirty stat]:

Brett Butler 105
Robby Thompson 108
Will Clark 175
Kevin Mitchell 192
Ernie Riles 115

Average OPS+ 139

Another case of two other-worldly hitters, and a bunch of solid but not supernatural seasons by the other 3/5 of the lineup.

The '93 Giants were pretty darn good too, buoyed by Bonds' 204 OPS+. If they didn't have stupid Darren Lewis leading off (sounds familiar), they'd have had a weighted averaged OPS+ of 141.74 (assuming Willie McGee would have replaced him). With Lewis, it was 134.91

Lewis: 70
Thompson: 135
Will Clark: 117
Matt Williams: 136
Bonds: 204
(McGee: 102)

#35 RedOctober3829


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 04:13 PM

1975 Red Sox

Bernie Carbo 142
Dwight Evans 119
Carl Yazstremski 111
Fred Lynn 161
Jim Rice 127

Avg OPS+ of 132


2007 Phillies
Jimmy Rollins 119
Chase Utley 146
Pat Burrell 128
Ryan Howard 144
Aaron Rowand 124

Avg OPS+ of 132

#36 gammoseditor


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 04:20 PM

I have the 02 Giants* at 142.

Kenny Lofton 102
Rich Aurilia 92
Jeff Kent 147
Barry Bonds* 268
Benito Santiago 103



*Cheated

EDIT: not sure how I put 09 Giants, I just used the 02 lineup from a playoff game.

Edited by gammoseditor, 22 July 2011 - 04:27 PM.


#37 bowiac


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 04:24 PM

A pure cheese nominee to beat the 2011 Red Sox. The 2001 Giants.

1. Marvin "The Natural" Bernard. 100 OPS+ in 429 PA.
2. Rich "I used to be good?" Aurilia. 146 OPS+ in 689 PA.
3. Barry "Lamar" Bonds. 259 OPS+ in 664 PA.
4. Jeff "Fuck you" Kent. 131 OPS+ in 696 PA.
5. J.T. "I didn't get many PA" Snow. 101 OPS+ in 348 PA.

I have them combining for a weighted 156 OPS+.

#38 JGray38

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 04:32 PM

1935 Tigers:
Fox - 133 (581 PA)
Cochrane - 138 (522 PA)
Gehringer - 138 (709 PA)
Greenburg - 170 (710 PA)
Goslin - 102 (651 PA)

AVG (weighted by PA) = 136.8

#39 Trlicek's Whip

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 05:55 PM

2003 St. Louis Cardinals

Bo Hart 87
J.D. Drew 132
Pujols 187
Edmonds 160
Rolen 138

AVG OPS+ = 140.8

Fernando Vina hit 1st in just as many games as Hart, but even with the swap the Cardinals' 1-5 hitters punched up a 139.8.

Edited by Trlicek's Whip, 22 July 2011 - 05:56 PM.


#40 Rough Carrigan


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Posted 22 July 2011 - 08:36 PM

The 1931 yankees still have, I think, the single season scoring record with 1067 runs in 154 games and a pitcher in the lineup. Their 1-5?

Earl Combs --125
Joe Sewell --109
Babe Ruth ---218
Lou Gehrig --194
Ben Chapman -135
avg = 156.2


Even the weak link there, Joe Sewell had a .390 OBP, almost exactly his career OBP. He didn't have any power but, so what? He was batting in front of Ruth and Gehrig! And this 1-5 still left Bill Dickey and Tony Lazzeri and a shortstop, Lyn Lary, rolling up a 113 OPS+.

#41 tims4wins


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Posted 23 July 2011 - 11:25 AM

If we're going to get serious about this analysis, I think we need to consider standard deviation in whatever metric we choose to rank these teams by. Not all weighted average OPS+ is created equal - I'd rather have 5 guys all put up a 140, than have some of the Bonds-skewed lineups.

#42 SumnerH


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Posted 23 July 2011 - 02:02 PM

If we're going to get serious about this analysis, I think we need to consider standard deviation in whatever metric we choose to rank these teams by. Not all weighted average OPS+ is created equal - I'd rather have 5 guys all put up a 140, than have some of the Bonds-skewed lineups.


If you're talking about which you'd rather have today, I'm not sure that I agree. Top-heavy lineups are much easier to improve by upgrading one of the guys at the bottom end; the all 140 OPS lineup is tough to move the needle on.

#43 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 23 July 2011 - 02:13 PM

If you're talking about which you'd rather have today, I'm not sure that I agree. Top-heavy lineups are much easier to improve by upgrading one of the guys at the bottom end; the all 140 OPS lineup is tough to move the needle on.


The context of this discussion is "greatest of all time" though, which is a different question than "which would you have right now, with a little over a week before the trade deadline?" When talking about past offenses and comparing them to other teams, I think the top heavy line ups would suffer in a head to head match up and thus, his point stands.

Your statement that you'd rather have an offense you can improve, if we're talking about having that offense on the field today, is an interesting one, but I disagree with it. I think a relentless lineup of 140-ish hitters is better than a peaks and valleys (to some extent) offense with one guy blasting 190, another at 150 and a few down in the 120's. Both are tough offenses, but the even approach means less opportunities for a pitcher to breathe and more consistent success in getting on base, which leads to scoring runs. A pitcher who's on can work through those 120-ish hitters and around the big sluggers. If it's all guys roughly around 140 you can't do that.

And that's why you'd be looking to upgrade. The problem is, you're not guaranteed to find an upgrade, and even if you fine one, you might have one or two more "soft" spots in the line up to deal with. Give me the more even keeled line up.

#44 DeJesus Built My Hotrod


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Posted 23 July 2011 - 03:54 PM

Just looking at the 2004 Sox to see how they matched-up. Using most common batting order from B-Ref:

Damon 702 PAs, 117 OPS+
Bellhorn 602 PAs, 107 OPS+
Ortiz 669 PAs, 145 OPS+
Manny 663 PAs, 152 OPS+
Nomar 169 PAs, 118 OPS+

Weighted Avg OPS+ = 129.7

Edit: to be fair, we all know that Nomar wasn't a mainstay in the line-up that season. Furthermore, the Sox used 141 different line-ups that year so Tito did lots of juggling.

The 2004 Yankees just for comparison:

Williams 651 PAs/108 OPS+
Jeter 721 PAs/114 OPS+
Sheff 684 PAs/141 OPS+
Slappy 698 PAs/131 OPS+
Leatherface 680 PAs/137 OPS+

Weighted Avg OPS+ = 126.3

Edited by DeJesus Built My Hotrod, 23 July 2011 - 04:06 PM.


#45 tims4wins


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Posted 23 July 2011 - 04:19 PM

If you're talking about which you'd rather have today, I'm not sure that I agree. Top-heavy lineups are much easier to improve by upgrading one of the guys at the bottom end; the all 140 OPS lineup is tough to move the needle on.

Just talking historical context. For instance, the 1990 A's had a weighted average OPS+ of 140. The 1993 Blue Jays had a weighted average OPS+ of 138. But the '90 A's had a guy with an 87 hitting 2nd - someone 13% worse than the league average OPS. That is an "easy" out at the top of the order, and thus I don't think as fearsome of a lineup as the '93 Jays, whose worst hitter among the top 5 was a 108. That's a 21% difference in your worst hitter. Personally, I'd rather have all 5 guys be threats than have 2 or 3 of the guys be supermen along with a couple "easy" outs.

The '96 Mariners are another example, with Cora's 92 in the leadoff spot. Or Bo Hart's 87 for the '03 Cards. Or even Koenig's 83 for the '27 Yankees.

#46 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 23 July 2011 - 04:22 PM

I figured the 2003 offense would beat the 2004 team here, since they scored more runs and hit more home runs. Surprisingly, that isn't the case... mostly because the 1 and 2 hitters just weren't that good.

Damon - 94 OPS+ (680 PAs)
Walker - 95 OPS+ (544 PAs)
Nomar - 121 OPS+ (687 PAs)
Manny - 160 OPS+ (679 PAs)
Papi - 144 OPS+ (404 PAs)

Total of a 122.09 OPS+

#47 tims4wins


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Posted 23 July 2011 - 04:29 PM

I figured the 2003 offense would beat the 2004 team here, since they scored more runs and hit more home runs. Surprisingly, that isn't the case... mostly because the 1 and 2 hitters just weren't that good.

Also, the '03 6-9 was absurd:

Millar: 110
Nixon: 149
Mueller: 140
Varitek: 120

Non-weighted average: 129.75

Maybe the best 6-9 of all time?

Edited by tims4wins, 23 July 2011 - 04:30 PM.


#48 DeJesus Built My Hotrod


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Posted 23 July 2011 - 04:31 PM

I figured the 2003 offense would beat the 2004 team here, since they scored more runs and hit more home runs. Surprisingly, that isn't the case... mostly because the 1 and 2 hitters just weren't that good.

Damon - 94 OPS+ (680 PAs)
Walker - 95 OPS+ (544 PAs)
Nomar - 121 OPS+ (687 PAs)
Manny - 160 OPS+ (679 PAs)
Papi - 144 OPS+ (404 PAs)

Total of a 122.09 OPS+


I thought that two but then eyeballed the seasons that Damon and Walker had and figured the '04 group was going to be well ahead. Damon was much better and while your average pink-hatter might not believe it, Bellhorn was a fair-bit better than Walker.

#49 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 23 July 2011 - 04:36 PM

Maybe the best 6-9 of all time?


It's possible. It would be interesting finding out where the entire line up from the 2003 team would end up all time. Damon and Walker will bring them down a bit, but that offense was ridiculous. I realize we're doing 1-5 here, so I'll stop the derailing before it starts. But maybe when we're done with this, we could do something similar for entire line ups. Might be a better project for the off season, though, when we're all bored and looking for things to do.