Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Carlos Pena Or Blake Dewitt?

Lately the Cubs have been batting Blake DeWitt 3rd, pushing Carlos Pena to the 5th slot. This drives me unnecessarily crazy. Consider the following data, which shows the 2011 running averages of these two hitters:


The statistics are pretty clear. Carlos Pena is finally heating up for the Cubs, but Blake Dewitt is looking as lost as ever — and that's not even mentioning his fielding in left.

Basically what we see in that chart is a power slugger finally returning to form, towering over a near-failed project. Then why oh why is Pena getting shuffled into the 5th spot of the lineup so frequently? Behold, the Cubs most frequent lineups:

Courtesy of Baseball Reference.

In half of those lineups, Pena is batting 5th while an inferior hitter bats 3rd or 2nd. Altogether, Pena has 56 PAs in the 4th spot and 137 PAs in the 5th. Move those inferior hitters lower, and then slide Pena to number 4 or 3. Please stop the madness!

Another way of looking at this, perhaps in a more simple means, is win probability added (WPA). How much have these two hitters helped the team?

This comparison is almost pointless; of course, Pena has added more winningness to the team:

Blake DeWitt is struggling to add anything of value:

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