Siberian Baseball

Thursday, April 03, 2008

It appears that the Brewers have hired a nerd

In a story that flew under my radar, Milwaukee catcher, Jason Kendall, is batting ninth to start the season in an attempt to gain a competitive edge in the National League this year. It was a little confusing to figure this out from the stands during yesterday's game.

According to the Brewers' web site, the idea was kicked around initially in Spring Training, when Ned Yost told reporters:

"We've done studies on this. It's not just that we come up one day and say, 'You know, Jason Kendall's gonna hit ninth.'

"You've had a lot of smart people looking at it and crunching numbers and seeing if, numbers-wise, it made sense."

To me, this sounds like the Brewers have a new stat nerd in house and after breaking down his numbers, they found a way to shake up the established baseball world. From the rumors I've been hearing, sabrematicians looooove shaking up baseball's old guard.

The idea is that with a contact hitter like Kendall, you double up your leadoff-hitting potential by having the catcher bat last before you hit the top of the order. That's great, but I don't quite understand the idea of taking a player who your team values for his ability to put the ball in play and moving him to a spot in the order where he'll see the mathematical minimum of at-bats.

Then again, the Brewers are 2-0 this year, so I'll just shut up now.

Update: One of the Ballhype users had this waiting for me in my inbox and it lines up with this discussion, so I'll add it here.

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