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The Giants’ #8 Hitters

Posted by Raphy on May 12, 2010

The production that the  Giants have received from the 8th spot in their lineup this season has been remarkable. Here are the numbers for the 8th spot in each team's line-up heading into today.

Rk G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB ROE BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
1 SFG 40 31 124 105 22 46 14 0 4 14 3 1 15 18 .438 .508 .686 1.194 72 1 1 2 1 3 2 .500 213 234
2 NYY 40 31 125 108 19 34 0 5 3 19 1 0 13 20 .315 .398 .491 .889 53 1 2 2 0 0 1 .365 114 149
3 CHC 41 34 134 113 18 32 4 3 5 16 0 0 19 26 .283 .383 .504 .888 57 1 0 1 1 2 3 .325 130 148
4 BOS 47 34 140 118 15 32 6 0 7 19 3 0 19 34 .271 .377 .500 .877 59 0 1 2 0 0 3 .325 116 145
5 CIN 47 33 132 111 11 35 8 0 2 19 1 0 20 14 .315 .424 .441 .866 49 3 1 0 0 3 0 .347 138 144
6 SDP 43 32 128 108 14 32 6 1 3 19 4 2 18 24 .296 .402 .454 .855 49 2 1 1 0 5 1 .358 145 141
7 NYM 46 33 133 120 20 34 7 0 7 19 1 1 7 22 .283 .331 .517 .847 62 1 3 0 3 1 1 .287 134 136
8 WSN 40 33 126 112 12 34 6 2 2 17 1 0 12 21 .304 .365 .446 .812 50 2 0 0 2 1 2 .352 116 127
9 LAD 45 33 136 113 15 36 6 0 1 11 0 0 17 18 .319 .403 .398 .801 45 2 1 2 3 3 0 .361 107 126
10 TOR 40 35 139 130 20 29 8 0 9 18 3 0 7 30 .223 .273 .492 .766 64 1 2 0 0 2 0 .220 98 111
11 ARI 41 34 139 119 14 27 7 0 5 18 0 0 20 34 .227 .338 .412 .750 49 3 0 0 0 6 0 .275 92 110
12 MIL 42 33 141 126 16 31 7 4 2 14 0 0 15 20 .246 .326 .413 .739 52 1 0 0 0 0 2 .279 84 107
13 ATL 42 33 129 108 12 28 3 0 3 13 2 0 17 23 .259 .367 .370 .738 40 1 2 1 1 2 2 .301 114 108
14 FLA 52 33 132 116 15 27 10 0 3 15 1 2 12 28 .233 .318 .397 .715 46 2 3 0 1 1 3 .279 103 100
15 PHI 37 32 128 105 13 24 5 0 2 13 0 0 20 24 .229 .354 .333 .688 35 5 1 1 1 2 0 .275 76 95
16 CHW 39 33 125 110 15 23 7 0 4 12 2 1 14 23 .209 .304 .382 .686 42 3 1 0 0 1 0 .229 91 92
17 TBR 40 33 134 116 19 29 7 0 1 12 0 1 16 15 .250 .346 .336 .682 39 5 1 1 0 0 2 .280 86 93
18 MIN 41 33 136 127 14 31 8 0 3 9 0 1 9 23 .244 .294 .378 .672 48 7 0 0 0 0 3 .277 70 88
19 COL 36 32 128 115 11 27 10 0 1 16 0 0 11 27 .235 .313 .348 .660 40 2 2 0 0 3 0 .299 76 86
20 OAK 42 33 127 114 15 24 6 1 3 14 2 0 11 32 .211 .286 .360 .645 41 0 1 1 0 0 1 .266 87 81
21 KCR 38 33 132 120 11 27 3 2 2 11 0 1 9 18 .225 .277 .333 .610 40 2 0 2 1 0 1 .248 66 71
22 STL 79 33 133 117 9 26 2 1 2 11 0 0 10 31 .222 .289 .308 .597 36 2 1 5 0 3 0 .286 61 68
23 SEA 39 32 123 106 14 20 5 0 2 10 2 0 15 29 .189 .293 .292 .585 31 4 1 0 1 1 0 .237 83 65
24 TEX 53 33 129 109 11 25 2 0 0 6 1 1 15 26 .229 .333 .248 .581 27 1 2 3 0 1 1 .301 67 66
25 DET 37 32 129 105 8 19 5 0 1 9 1 0 16 26 .181 .298 .257 .556 27 2 2 5 1 0 0 .228 43 58
26 HOU 50 32 115 110 8 24 3 0 2 10 0 0 2 25 .218 .246 .300 .546 33 5 2 1 0 1 0 .265 85 53
27 CLE 32 30 116 101 7 17 6 1 1 8 1 0 12 27 .168 .261 .277 .538 28 2 1 1 1 0 2 .216 56 52
28 LAA 40 35 132 123 7 24 4 1 2 13 2 1 5 34 .195 .235 .293 .528 36 3 2 0 2 0 1 .247 51 48
29 BAL 43 33 124 117 5 21 5 0 3 16 0 0 7 25 .179 .226 .299 .525 35 6 0 0 0 0 0 .202 54 47
30 PIT 138 33 129 109 6 19 2 1 1 7 0 1 10 35 .174 .248 .239 .486 26 1 1 8 1 0 2 .243 48 38
TOT 1390 984 3898 3411 396 837 172 22 86 408 31 13 393 752 .245 .328 .384 .712 1311 71 35 39 20 41 33 .290 94 100
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/12/2010.

An astonishing .438/.508/.686. Their 1.194  is the highest OPS for any team batting slot this season. (The White Sox #4 hitters are second at 1.132). How have they done it?  Here's the breakdown for the team's #8 hitters this season.

Rk G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB ROE BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
1 Eugenio Velez 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 538 465
2 Eli Whiteside 6 6 19 17 6 8 4 0 2 5 0 0 1 4 .471 .500 1.059 1.559 18 0 0 1 0 0 0 .545 195 328
3 John Bowker 3 1 5 5 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 .400 .400 1.000 1.400 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 313 282
4 Nate Schierholtz 12 11 46 38 10 19 6 0 1 3 2 1 6 5 .500 .578 .737 1.315 28 0 1 1 0 2 0 .563 183 268
5 Matt Downs 4 4 18 15 2 7 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 4 .467 .556 .667 1.222 10 0 0 0 0 0 1 .636 176 243
6 Ryan Rohlinger 1 1 3 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 .500 .667 .500 1.167 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 100 234
7 Andres Torres 4 4 14 11 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 2 .273 .429 .364 .792 4 1 0 0 0 1 1 .333 127 126
8 Juan Uribe 4 4 16 14 3 5 0 0 0 4 1 0 1 2 .357 .375 .357 .732 5 0 0 0 1 0 0 .385 92 107
9 Aubrey Huff 1 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 -100 -100
10 Sergio Romo 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
11 Brandon Medders 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
12 Jeremy Affeldt 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Team Total 40 31 124 105 22 46 14 0 4 14 3 1 15 18 .438 .508 .686 1.194 72 1 1 2 1 3 2 .500 213 234
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/12/2010.

A lot of players over-performing when they happen to hit 8th. As you would expect, these players have not hit nearly as well at other spots in the line-up. This convergence of luck and randomness is sure to dissipate over the course of the season, but it is certainly fun to look at now.

How does this rate historically? PI does not offer us an easy way of determining that, but I can provide you with one stat.
Here are the leaders (1920-1939,1952-2010) for the teams with the most games in their first 31, in which their starter from the 8th spot had at least one hit.

Only the 1925 Pirates had more than this year's Giants.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 at 2:32 pm and is filed under Game Finders, Splits. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

10 Responses to “The Giants’ #8 Hitters”

  1. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    The 1925 Pirates' #8 hitters were their catchers, Earl Smith and Johnny Gooch. Over the team's first 31 games, Smith hit .388/.437/.575 (1.012), with 3 HR and 18 RBI; Gooch hit a much weaker .316/.366/.395 (.761), with no HR and 4 RBI. Throw in one hitless at-bat from Carson Bigbee, and Pirates' #8 hitters had a combined .923 OPS in those 31 games.

    Smith finished the 1925 season with an .845 OPS (109 OPS+), Gooch with a .730 OPS (82 OPS+), and the Pirates won the World Series.

  2. Funny you should post this given that RBI by #8 hitters was a question in this week's stat challenge.

  3. Will be interesting to see where the Cardinals finish there now that TLR's hitting the pitcher 8th again.

  4. Andy - Sheer coincidence. I heard the Mets' announcers talking about the Giants #8 stats, that's what sparked my curiosity.

  5. DoubleDiamond Says:

    The #8 hitter for an AL team would likely be a better hitter (relatively speaking) than the #8 hitter for an NL team. On the other hand, some AL teams put a fairly decent hitter at #9 and puts the worst hitter at #9 for the same reason that LaRussa puts the pitcher in the #8 slot - to give the top of the order a better chance to drive someone in, even before the pinch hitters and double switched guys take over #9 later in the game.

    It might be interesting to compare #8's with #9's in the American League.

  6. It's certainly always been my instinct that the #8 hitter in the AL is usually the worst hitter in the lineup. No idea if my instinct is correct.

    Here are the 2009 splits by batting order number:

    Split PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SF IBB tOPS+
    Batting 1st 10683 9468 1502 2693 474 80 215 986 437 137 1003 1587 .284 .355 .420 .775 3972 146 70 61 35 104
    Batting 2nd 10442 9377 1410 2595 487 70 271 1208 259 73 811 1557 .277 .337 .430 .767 4035 227 84 85 21 101
    Batting 3rd 10186 9031 1302 2479 533 28 354 1384 113 28 970 1689 .274 .348 .457 .805 4130 247 93 85 64 110
    Batting 4th 9963 8743 1315 2319 477 25 400 1445 115 38 1040 1887 .265 .347 .463 .810 4046 213 100 75 93 112
    Batting 5th 9746 8671 1250 2367 468 22 368 1319 99 39 901 1745 .273 .344 .459 .803 3983 201 81 82 56 110
    Batting 6th 9531 8522 1168 2261 487 35 339 1175 107 46 859 1748 .265 .335 .450 .785 3835 217 71 63 63 105
    Batting 7th 9271 8333 1033 2138 445 43 260 1108 114 52 750 1691 .257 .322 .414 .736 3449 197 82 66 41 93
    Batting 8th 9004 8057 1012 2030 403 39 234 1026 116 48 735 1744 .252 .318 .399 .716 3213 207 71 69 30 88
    Batting 9th 8703 7763 946 1901 357 46 119 786 181 81 625 1661 .245 .305 .349 .654 2707 162 73 62 6 72
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 5/12/2010.

    Looks like I'm wrong, although those #9 hitting stats do include pitchers in interleague games. However I doubt that alone accounts for the 60-some point gap in OPS. Note in particular the huge disparity in intentional walks--although that is probably due mostly to the benefits of facing #8 or #9 in favor of #1.

    The stolen bases tell a large part of my story. I feel like most AL teams put a young speedster in the #9 slot. This is usually a guy like Roberto Kelly in his early days, who wasn't all that good at getting on base yet but stole a lot of bases. Eventually when his OBP went up some and older players declined, he moved from #9 to #1.

  7. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    It might be time to do an entry on how bad leadoff hitters have been this season. Compare the 2009 MLB OPS figure for leadoff hitters, .775, with the OPS achieved by AL leadoff hitters so far in 2010: .701. (NL leadoff hitters have put up an OPS of .715 — not much better.) In fact, although MLB leadoff hitters had a 59-point OPS advantage over #8 hitters in 2009, in 2010 the eighth-place hitters have a four-point advantage over the leadoff hitters, .712 to .708! One reason is that AL leadoff hitters almost never hit home runs — only 21 so far, less than all other batting positions except the NL #9 spot. Also, NL leadoff hitters are not hitting singles: despite 63 more PA than #2 hitters, they have five fewer singles than the #2 hitters. Contrast that with the AL, where leadoff hitters have 84 more singles than the #2 hitters.

  8. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Actually singles seem to be down throughout MLB. Don't remember where I saw that....maybe a Raphy comment somewhere on this site?

  9. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Here, JT.

  10. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Ahh...well, your knowledge is being remembered, even if your name is not.