Now that the regular 2011 Oriole lineup is pretty much set, I thought it was time to mess around with lineup optimization. What, you have something better to do until Spring Training?
Using ZIPS projections and BaseballMusings.com 's lineup optimizer, I constructed what I thought would be the optimal "traditional" style lineup. Here's the lineup and the projections I used initially:
* I couldn't find a ZIPS projection for J.J. Hardy yet...I used the FanGraphs.com fan projection instead.
According to the lineup optimizer, this lineup will produce 5.0 runs per game, 810 runs for a season. By contrast, the Oriole offense only scored 3.8 runs per game in 2010. 5.0 runs a game in 2010 would have put Baltimore among the offensive elite in the American League, only behind the Yankees (5.3) and tied for second with the Rays and Red Sox. Hopefully, these projections have some merit.
Anyway, here's the optimal lineup given by the calculator. It would produce 813 runs over a season.
I would really like to think that Roberts power has been sapped so much that he would be a bottom of the lineup hitter in 2011 but that's my heart speaking more than my head. But I can't find a projection that has him slugging .450 again.
Regardless,the offensive talent has improved greatly which as we've seen in the past matters much more than the order of the lineup. With health and a little luck (like Matt Wieters finally starts to hit like we all think he could), this offense could actually be something special.