There’s a very interesting “special section” for Opening Day in today’s Cincinnati Enquirer. In the section entitled “See the ball. Hit the ball. Any questions?”, there is a section entitled “Narron’s 1-8 101”, which I don’t think is in the online edition.

Narron talks about how he determines batting order:

Leadoff: “On-base percentage,” So maybe Bob Boone wasn’t crazy for putting Adam Dunn (career .383 OBP) in the leadoff spot a few years ago.

No. 2: Again, on base is the biggest factor. But another factor is being able to move the leadoff man over when he gets on.

No. 3: I’ve always heard you want your best hitter to get up in the first inning,” Narron said. “That makes sense. That’s Baseball 101. A guy who can hit with power, get on base, that’s the ideal guy.”

No. 4: Power’s a premium here. You’re not afraid to put a guy in the 4 spot who will strike out, ” Narron said.

No. 5: Narron wants someone who gets on base, but has power. “For whatever reason, the No.5 hitter leads off a lot of innings. Now, you want a guy who’s more of a contact guy than you do (the guy) hitting fourth.”

No. 6: The best hitter who’s not in one of the top 5 spots. The Reds used Austin Kearns here most often last year, and they were 26-18 when they did.

No. 7: See No. 6

No.8: The toughest spot in the NL, because pitchers typically bat 9th. “in our league, hitting 8th, it’s a bad spot for a guy,” Narron said, “You’d like to have a guy who has some strike-zone knowledge. You have to swing at some pitches you might not want to.”

He says that you put your best batting order out there simly by starting with the highest OBP, followed by the 2nd highest, 3rd, etc.

“OBP, getting on base, all the way through,” Narron said, “If you go by stats, you get your highest OBP guys up there as quick as you can. That’s the way you’re going to score the most runs.”

But he says there’s more to it than that. “Some guys -for whatever reason – might not have the same OBP if you start moving them around. You go on OBP, but then you go on feel as to how guy’s fit in the batting order.”

The article also says he doesn’t like stringing together 2 or more left handed hitters.

But none of this explains Tony Womack at the top of the order, ever.

One Response

  1. JinAZ

    I agree that this isn’t terribly consistent with Womack batting leadoff. But it does speak to some awareness of some of the issues surrounding lineup construction that have been raised by the stats community–the value of OBP in the #1 and #2 slots, the #4 guy being all about power, the #5 being about a mix of OBP and SLG, the #6 spot being about power, etc.

    He may not subscribe to the ideas about the #3 slot being a good place for a relatively weaker hitter, or that the pitcher should hit 8th and a high OBP, low SLG guy should bat 9th. But those are pretty radical ideas that I don’t really expect to see executed in MLB any time soon. Not even sure if I buy into them (especially the 3-hole thing). -j