Blog Entry

John Dewan's Stat of the Week

Posted on: June 15, 2008 12:24 pm

The latest installment of the John Dewan Stat of the Week, reprinted with permission:

Who can score from the 7-8-9 slots?

June 12, 2008

The Chicago Cubs have the best record in baseball. But here in Chicago the debate continues -- where should Alfonso Soriano bat? It will be a moot point for the next six weeks or so because Soriano broke a bone in his left hand after getting hit by a pitch last night.

The key reason that many folks want to see Soriano bat further down in the lineup is his power. Soriano has a ton of solo home runs, and game leadoff home runs. It's nice to get that 1-0 lead after your first batter of the game, but wouldn't it be nicer if some of those home runs came with men on base?

The Cubs are winning and all things are rosy on the north side of Chicago. People are beginning to lighten up on Soriano. One of the reasons is that the hitters ahead of Soriano are scoring runs, despite the fact that it's the weakest part of the lineup. The average NL team (not counting the Cubs) has scored 66 runs out of their 7, 8 and 9 slots so far this year. The second-best team, the Phillies, have scored 80 runs from their 7-8-9 slots. The Cubs have scored 92. They are scoring almost 50% more runs than the other NL teams from their 7-8-9.

Runs Scored from 7-8-9 Slots
Chicago Cubs  92 
Average of other NL teams  66 

Even the nine slot is hitting .238 for the Cubs. Compare that to the average pitcher who hits about .140. Counting pinch hitters, double switches, and the Tony La Russa strategy of batting your pitcher eighth, the NL nine hole is averaging a .182 batting average overall.

Over in the AL, only two teams have a higher OPS than the Cubs out of their 7-8-9 slots. The White Sox have the best (.804), the Red Sox No. 2 (.758), and the Cubs have the third best (.756) in all of baseball despite having their pitchers bat.

Source: Baseball Info Solutions (through games of Wednesday, June 11, 2008)

Copyright © 2008 by John Dewan.
Permission to reprint or broadcast this information is granted only if used in conjunction with the following citation: "Used with permission from John Dewan's Stat of the Week™,"

Category: MLB

Since: Jun 29, 2007
Posted on: June 15, 2008 4:37 pm

John Dewan's Stat of the Week

Maybe I'm confused by stats but here's my thoughts on this.  Doesn't the high number of runs scored by 7-8-9 actually support having Soriano 'lead off'?  Those are the 3 batters in front of him and they are the ones getting on base at a very high average (best in NL).  I would think that the 1 spot would be a great place for Soriano to bat then.  What is the OBP of the would be 1-2-3 guys if he was moved into a 'clean up' role?  Is it significantly higher than the current 7-8-9?  To me the Cubs have the right equation going for them and knowing Lou he probably gets that the 'lead off' guy can, in essence, be batting 'clean up' with out being moved from the 1 spot.  This is the same guy that wanted to 'start' his 'closers' so that the 'starters' could potentially come in and work with a lead.

I openly admit I don't pay attention to stats for this very reason.  The same numbers can be used to support both sides of a discussion.  If I am wrong please let me know, I'm here to learn.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or