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Discussion: place best hitters last strategy

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Jan. 2, 2013
CAPT D5
124 posts
place best hitters last strategy
Have ran across a group of players who claim that better hitters should bat at the bottom of the batting order. The explanation given was that it would surprise the other tournament team, and where a batter hits in the order makes no difference anyway, since they get up the same amount of times. My response was "BS", that this is just a way for lesser hitters to move move up in the order not for the benefit of winning but for personal benefit. A lot of goofy stuff in senior softball, but this is something new for me. Do others share this strategy of putting better hitters at the bottom of the order? This group advocating this strategy seem to do poorly for some reason in tournaments, perhaps winning is just a low priority, and personal benefit is all they are about.
Jan. 2, 2013
JBTexas
Men's 60
259 posts
Over this past season our 9 thru 12 hitters had about 20-25 fewer at bats then the top eight, why would you take the bat on of your best hitters that many times for what reason??? This is one of the dumbest ideas I have heard of. Just my opinion but I won't do it as a coach or want it done to me as a hitter.
Jan. 2, 2013
CAPT D5
124 posts
JBTexas, What amazed me about this strategy was how few stepped forward and confronted the strategy. Just shows how much some want to play and will go along as long as it doesn't affect them. This is the third time encountering this and the same group of lower level players advocating it. Better players it seems often encounter this type stuff on new teams and if they confront it are subject to retaliation and bad mouthing I guess going along becomes the norm. I remember a post about when a new player just mentioned how he usually batted higher, not just bitching, and the poster bragged, that the new player never played with that team again. It might be worthwhile for others to step up and confront some of the BS before it becomes the accepted.
Jan. 2, 2013
rightrj1
Men's 55
203 posts
Capt, just look at it this way....Some of us THINK THE GAME and some just play the game!!!
Jan. 2, 2013
MaverickAH
59 posts
In my mind, either is an oversimplification when it come to putting together a lineup. There are so many other variables to think about in addition to just focusing on batting average. This era of homerun limits kind of throws lineup strategy back to the days of alloy bats.

Ideally, you want hitters throughout your batting order. That's the only way you're going to turn over your lineup & get everybody more AB's. One thing that slowpitch has taught me is that you're going to get opportunities to impact on a game no matter where you hit in the lineup. Player psyche can also affect where someone hits.
Jan. 2, 2013
garyheifner
349 posts
I believe a question somewhat like this came up a few years ago. The general feeling was that you bat your top "4" power hitters 3rd-4th-6th-8th and your best singles hitters 1st-2nd and the rest on down in between your power guys.
Jan. 2, 2013
CAPT D5
124 posts
Got it rightrj1, thinking is too much to ask of some. Many though, do both think and play at a top level, and and care about who they play with and about what is right. Hey, as long as you are playing, no problem, don't rock the boat. Luckily, we are free to pick who we play with. I think I will not play on a team with players not caring about what is right. End of this discussion for me, I have better things to do.
Jan. 3, 2013
Wayne 37
192 posts
I used to bat in the 10 hole on a past team that was good hit, no field. But I would be surprised if I wasn't one of the team leaders in average and RBIs. The two batters behind me left me on base too often to score runs was the big drawback.
Jan. 4, 2013
bkb555
87 posts
not a good idea at all......worst case scenario, your best hitters might not get up until the 3rd inning......maybe sprinkling a few weaker hitters throughout the lineup.....BUT best way to go is to put best hitters in position where they get the most at bats and the most chances to drive in runs...bottom line
Jan. 5, 2013
HJ
Men's 70
432 posts
Some argue the only logical way to do the lineup is strictly by on base % and adjust after every game. There is no 1 answer and it is a perfect discussion for a cold January night in Cleveland.
Jan. 6, 2013
Webbie25
Men's 60
1956 posts
HJ-by adjusting after every game you have no stability in your lineup. You put added pressure to perform every game. I think any changes need to be carefully considered. If a guy knows that if he goes 1-4 he will move from 3rd to 8th in the lineup, that's not good.
PS- I tried that approach once, also changing lineups to account for the wind. If the wind was blowing out to right, I moved right field hitters up in the lineup. It messed everyone up.
Jan. 6, 2013
Omar Khayyam
984 posts
Changing a lineup is an art in itself for a manager. On the first AAA team I played for, in my first tournament, I hit three triples in the first game. The manager moved me up to hit fourth where I didn't belong. It took me most of the season to demonstrate that was not the best place for me (I kept overswinging, trying for the big blast, to justify my placement in the lineup).

On another team, some years later, I was hitting 9th in a 12-man continuous lineup. I stayed there the whole season. When the year-end stats came out, everyone was surprised to see that I led the team in RBIs, even though I was up about 25 times less than the third and fourth hitters. I was also second in batting average, another surprise. Probably a lineup change should have been made sooner.

Where do I like to play? Second or sixth work for me. But it is difficult for a manager to balance in stats along with guys who sulk if they are too low in the lineup, aging power hitters who don't have the 3-4-5 power anymore but have ALWAYS batted fourth, no-hit but speedy guys who like leadoff or second, courtesy runners who have to be a certain place in the lineup to maximize their use, occasional late arrivals who get placed at the end of the lineup, close buddies who get to choose where they hit, etc. etc. It is an art.
Jan. 6, 2013
SS13
17 posts
That has to be the dumbest idea ive ever heard, why would you take the bat out of the best hitters on your team, there is a reason why the guys who hit 800+ bat in the top of the order.
If it is an average 5+ at bats per tourney I see no advantage to limit their at bats.
Jan. 7, 2013
HJ
Men's 70
432 posts
Webbie, The adjustment would be based upon OBP for the whole season to that date, not based on the immediately prior game. On that basis there would be little change game to game. Note, it is not batting average but OBP which would factor in walks and getting on by error. I am not advocating since I don't have the knowledge to know what is best, but want the discussion based on what others were in fact suggesting.
Aside: I often hear heated debates on whether a batter got on by a hit or error. This approach makes that distinction irrelevant. It rewards the
guy who walks, the fast runner who causes errors by making guys hurry and the placement hitter who
hits to weak fielders.
Jan. 7, 2013
Omar Khayyam
984 posts
HJ, your observation on fast runners who make infielders hurry their throws and placement hitters who pick on weak fielders was spot on. I have had both on my team and their OBP more than makes up for their lack of power.
Jan. 7, 2013
Webbie25
Men's 60
1956 posts
I also agree with your assessment. Too many coaches don't factor in speed in assessing errors. OBP is the only way to go.
I thought the way you phrased it you would be changing every game.
Still, sometimes a lineup is working and not worth changing that chemistry even if stats dictate it. It really is a crapshoot sometimes to find what works best.
Jan. 9, 2013
HJ
Men's 70
432 posts
I don't play tournament SB and don't follow the discussions on the limitations on HRs. But it seems to me that if HRs are limited, then the high OB% hitter who doesn't hit homers becomes more valuable and perhaps should be higher up in the batting order. Does this make sense?
Jan. 10, 2013
stick8
1261 posts
HJ the short answer would be depending on what the rule is after the home run limit is reached.
Although not etched in stone with every team in a general sense:
--If it's an out then many teams will opt to bat the non-hr hitters who have a high on-base percentage higher up in the order.
--If it's a walk, single or one base award then many teams will opt to bat the hr hitters higher in the order.
Interestingly enough some upper level teams have major hr hitters who are so skilled at handling the bat that they can be high on-base percentage hitters if the situation calls for it.

Jan. 10, 2013
CAPT D5
124 posts
Obviously, this better batter last strategy was to allow lesser hitters to bat ahead of better hitters, on teams that winning was less important than taking care of personal desires. Only seen this strategy on losing teams. Old guys can be good at BS. If you are a better player its best to stay clear of these type teams and players. These are lesser players who are playing for fun and have little regard for integrity. How often did any great hitter in baseball bat at the bottom of the order. Even my wife laughed at this strategy. When discussed with better players they also laughed the idea off, noting no good team has done it as a winning strategy. Anyway, more power to those who want to use the strategy, I just don't want to be associated with such nonsense.
Jan. 10, 2013
HJ
Men's 70
432 posts
Thanks stick. CAPT, I agree with you that lesser hitters should bat lower in the order. My question goes to who is the lesser hitter. You use that term w/o being specific. I suggested that perhaps the higher OB% hitter should batter higher in the order than the occasional power hitter with a low OB%.
Jan. 10, 2013
cal50
Men's 50
266 posts
stick, I have always thought that you put together a lineup with 2 sets of 1 - 5 hitters.
lead off
opposite field
power
power
5th

then no matter where you are at the end of an inning you are a threat the next inning.

The key is to make sure that all hitters no matter how good are ok in their lineup role.

Some hitters will hit differently depending on if they feel they are "slighted" in the lineup.
Jan. 11, 2013
stick8
1261 posts
Cal50 that would be excellent if you can put together a team of hitters like that. As you imply with your last two sentences getting everyone to accept their role isn't always easy. Some players buy into it and far too many times others don't. We've seen this play out quite often in young mans ball but do you see this play out very often in senior ball?
Jan. 11, 2013
cal50
Men's 50
266 posts
Stick, I have not seen it as a problem at all on our 50 team. I agree harder for the younger ones to accept it.
Jan. 11, 2013
garyheifner
349 posts
I did observe "2" teams last year who did hit some very good/great hitters at the bottom of the order during the prelims.

Those very good hitters batted at the top in the championship bracket play.

2 conclusions:

They were giving the lower order hitters the chance of more at bats at the beginning of the tourney to get them ready.

Or

They were sandbagging and wanted to keep the prelim scores low so as not to reveal a possible ringer team.

Possibly a reason I don't know about.

There was a 3rd team we scouted in the prelims that won by a run and had all singles to do it. When we met them in championship bracket play, the order was slightly different and the 1st "6" hitters either hit it out or easily burned our outfielders. Interesting

All my guys know their role and where they bat in the order. The only changes are when a guy does or doesn't show up and we all move up or down one slot. Makes it a whole lot easier on everyone.
Jan. 12, 2013
bernie
Men's 55
64 posts
Being that statics play a large part in how we determine success in this sport over time, many fctors play out in choosing a lead-off hitter.

On Base Percentage is probably a top priorty along with natural speed, ability to hit to all fields, base-running smarts and a natural ability to step up in big situations.

Given that the lead off spot in the order would always have the most AB opportunities over a season, why wouldn't you put that "lead-off" hitter in the number one spot vs 12, 13, or higher where he can maximize his opportunities.

Having a good hitter on the bottom of the order is of importance to set the stage for the top, but certainly not your best hitter. The only scenario I could see is if that hitter has no "wheels" forcing him to limp to first and foregoing extra base hits. Then it may make sense to some.
Jan. 13, 2013
JDub
Men's 50
131 posts
Malo 37,

These guys really know what they're talking about. I think we should adopt their Strategy and switch our 1 & 2 with our 10 & 11. What do you think Chuckie (LMFAO) ? ! ? !
Jan. 13, 2013
Webbie25
Men's 60
1956 posts
JDub, after what you guys did to us (GSF) in Prescott (you are Az Elite, right?) I don't think we would have noticed a difference in your lineup.
Jan. 13, 2013
Tim Millette
478 posts
I have just one question on this "best hitter hitting last thing....

I you do it..... Where do you bat your sponsor, coach or PITCHER?
Jan. 13, 2013
stick8
1261 posts
I bat last on my team (OKI) but I don't consider myself the best hitter.
Depending on how many we decide to bat:
Our main sponsor bats around 9th.
When our listed coach is there he doesn't play, when he isn't there the acting coach bats 4th or 5th.
We have 3 pitchers, one bats right in front of me, one bats 5th or 6th, another bats 7th.
It usually works out pretty well.
Jan. 13, 2013
CurtfromKY
38 posts
There are sev good points made and a few not so good. Are we not talking about slow pitch softball and most of us believe that you should be able to hit ANYWHERE in the lineup? One comment was the lower batters had 20-25 fewer at bats..does this mean that the others were making outs before they could get their ABs in? If a team has 8-9 strong hitters, then why even bat more than 10--you should be able to win almost every game. If you bat more than 10, why not scatter the "weak" batters(2) between them instead of taking 2 useless outs before you get to lead-off? BTW-I hit for a good avg and prefer to be 10th or 11th.
Jan. 14, 2013
HJ
Men's 70
432 posts
Curt, every game ends w/someone in the batting order. Unless it is the last batter in the lineup, everyone after the last batter will have 1 less at bat, period. If you are the last 3 batters in the lineup, over a season you will have significantly less at bats. I don't know where you play, but where I play every fielder gets to bat. Scattering your weaker hitter can kill rallies. Again you don't define a weak hitter. To me a guy with a hi OBP (relative to his teammates) who hits singles is not a weak hitter.
Jan. 14, 2013
CurtfromKY
38 posts
You are right HJ that the game ends w an out but that doesn't mean it is the last 2 or 3 in the lineup. I agree w your OBP comment though...I didn't define weak hitter because they are what this thread is about. How many teams have you played on that single hitters were not as "recruited" or thought of as power hitters? I personally would rather have a team of basehitters with a good BA and OBP.
April 10, 2013
SS
1 posts
I used to play with a group in a small town that played more for fun then competition but as one of the fastest guys there and with one of the top 3 ob as well as HR's and triples it woud drive me nuts when they would put me 7-9 or behind someone who could not or would not run the bases.

It's hard to turn of the competitive juices but I managed to, but the guys pushing this mentality were those who quite frankly could neither hit or run.
April 11, 2013
Malo37
55 posts
I agree that your last 2 hitters are very important. Our "lowriders" are awesome and they're job is to roll it over to the top. I've always believed that you bat your best hitters at the top just so they get more at bats. But that's just me......
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