On Base Analysis by Batting Order

In the last couple of weeks there have been questions about the batting order. And historically there has much debate about who, and what kind of batter should bat in certain spots in the order.

So in response to those questions, and specifically about who is on base and what positions are run producers, this post will likely over-whelm you with more than enough numbers to play with.

But first a disclaimer. This data is based on the 2015 Game Day data and my summary of it. From prior experience, there are some errors/problems with the Game day data. And there is always the chance of a logic error in one of my programs. So if these numbers are not exactly the same as the numbers elsewhere, that should not be a surprise. But they should be more than good enough to provide some food for thought.


Let me first start with a description of the two sets of data. This first set of tables shows the distribution of who is on base by order in the lineup and is broken out by League, along with a table for just the Nats. Below that are comparable tables for RBIs by Batting Order.

What Bases are Occupied

The key to interpreting the columns in this first set of tables is hopefully simple once you understand the pattern.

  • Order, PAs should be self-explanatory
  • The LeadOff and ___ column add up to the number of times the position comes up with no one on base. I separated out those cases where that position in the order was leading off an inning vs. there simply was no one on base. Obviously, batting order 1 has way more leading off an inning (the first inning in every game for every team).
  • The other column headers denote who is on base. For example:
    • 123 is bases loaded
    • 1__ is a man on first
    • 1_3 is first and third
    • and so on
  • And RISP is the total of all the columns with a 2 (man on second) or 3 (man on third) in the column header.
  • The data cells contain the count on the first line, and the percent of PAs on the second line.

Two things jump out at me when I look at these tables:

  • Not much difference, overall, between the AL and NL. So yet another factoid that the DH does not have much of an impact on opportunities.
  • Looking at the count of PAs by order (focus on the table for the Nats as the differences are easier to conceptualize), seems to say that deciding to bat someone 4th vs 3rd (as just one example) to get them more PAs/ABs seems to not be a terribly valid argument. Is roughtly .6 PAs more a week worth it? And note how much more often 4th leads off an inning.

American League

ORDER PAS LeadOff ___ RISP 123 12_ 1_3 1__ _23 _2_ __3
1 11,228 4,528
40.3%
3,731
33.2%
1,704
15.2%
205
1.8%
543
4.8%
179
1.6%
1,265
11.3%
138
1.2%
434
3.9%
205
1.8%
2 10,932 1,776
16.2%
5,597
51.2%
1,872
17.1%
198
1.8%
594
5.4%
205
1.9%
1,687
15.4%
128
1.2%
517
4.7%
230
2.1%
3 10,700 1,867
17.4%
5,259
49.1%
1,871
17.5%
209
2.0%
622
5.8%
235
2.2%
1,703
15.9%
115
1.1%
469
4.4%
221
2.1%
4 10,440 2,625
25.1%
3,890
37.3%
2,169
20.8%
244
2.3%
738
7.1%
250
2.4%
1,756
16.8%
119
1.1%
566
5.4%
252
2.4%
5 10,208 2,406
23.6%
4,373
42.8%
2,043
20.0%
264
2.6%
721
7.1%
264
2.6%
1,386
13.6%
150
1.5%
462
4.5%
182
1.8%
6 9,965 2,079
20.9%
4,625
46.4%
1,784
17.9%
238
2.4%
582
5.8%
238
2.4%
1,477
14.8%
129
1.3%
424
4.3%
173
1.7%
7 9,684 2,222
22.9%
4,259
44.0%
1,744
18.0%
196
2.0%
621
6.4%
174
1.8%
1,459
15.1%
125
1.3%
444
4.6%
184
1.9%
8 9,412 2,157
22.9%
4,048
43.0%
1,794
19.1%
227
2.4%
535
5.7%
228
2.4%
1,413
15.0%
149
1.6%
469
5.0%
186
2.0%
9 9,090 2,053
22.6%
3,946
43.4%
1,771
19.5%
208
2.3%
570
6.3%
223
2.5%
1,320
14.5%
130
1.4%
440
4.8%
200
2.2%

National League

ORDER PAS LeadOff ___ RISP 123 12_ 1_3 1__ _23 _2_ __3
1 11,248 4,676
41.6%
3,785
33.7%
1,696
15.1%
157
1.4%
418
3.7%
170
1.5%
1,091
9.7%
162
1.4%
598
5.3%
191
1.7%
2 10,989 1,904
17.3%
5,506
50.1%
1,805
16.4%
189
1.7%
611
5.6%
178
1.6%
1,774
16.1%
100
0.9%
516
4.7%
211
1.9%
3 10,738 1,775
16.5%
5,311
49.5%
1,863
17.3%
170
1.6%
629
5.9%
220
2.0%
1,789
16.7%
107
1.0%
475
4.4%
262
2.4%
4 10,518 2,566
24.4%
3,831
36.4%
2,294
21.8%
240
2.3%
799
7.6%
264
2.5%
1,827
17.4%
116
1.1%
609
5.8%
266
2.5%
5 10,269 2,377
23.1%
4,249
41.4%
2,202
21.4%
255
2.5%
789
7.7%
327
3.2%
1,441
14.0%
147
1.4%
474
4.6%
210
2.0%
6 10,010 2,192
21.9%
4,517
45.1%
1,938
19.4%
268
2.7%
630
6.3%
216
2.2%
1,363
13.6%
149
1.5%
475
4.7%
200
2.0%
7 9,721 2,172
22.3%
4,249
43.7%
1,844
19.0%
213
2.2%
569
5.9%
217
2.2%
1,456
15.0%
126
1.3%
506
5.2%
213
2.2%
8 9,407 2,136
22.7%
4,098
43.6%
1,712
18.2%
200
2.1%
619
6.6%
225
2.4%
1,461
15.5%
80
0.9%
402
4.3%
186
2.0%
9 9,112 2,027
22.2%
3,840
42.1%
1,789
19.6%
213
2.3%
659
7.2%
203
2.2%
1,456
16.0%
105
1.2%
445
4.9%
164
1.8%

Nationals

ORDER PAS LeadOff ___ RISP 123 12_ 1_3 1__ _23 _2_ __3
1 752 306
40.7%
264
35.1%
116
15.4%
7
0.9%
30
4.0%
11
1.5%
66
8.8%
7
0.9%
46
6.1%
15
2.0%
2 735 115
15.6%
373
50.7%
125
17.0%
13
1.8%
40
5.4%
17
2.3%
122
16.6%
7
1.0%
37
5.0%
11
1.5%
3 717 132
18.4%
335
46.7%
119
16.6%
10
1.4%
47
6.6%
9
1.3%
131
18.3%
5
0.7%
30
4.2%
18
2.5%
4 702 169
24.1%
249
35.5%
159
22.6%
17
2.4%
67
9.5%
17
2.4%
125
17.8%
5
0.7%
37
5.3%
16
2.3%
5 681 154
22.6%
271
39.8%
159
23.3%
19
2.8%
65
9.5%
27
4.0%
97
14.2%
12
1.8%
25
3.7%
11
1.6%
6 664 138
20.8%
290
43.7%
147
22.1%
21
3.2%
37
5.6%
19
2.9%
89
13.4%
10
1.5%
47
7.1%
13
2.0%
7 648 141
21.8%
289
44.6%
111
17.1%
10
1.5%
42
6.5%
8
1.2%
107
16.5%
10
1.5%
23
3.5%
18
2.8%
8 626 143
22.8%
289
46.2%
113
18.1%
15
2.4%
43
6.9%
21
3.4%
81
12.9%
6
1.0%
20
3.2%
8
1.3%
9 604 141
23.3%
254
42.1%
111
18.4%
9
1.5%
42
7.0%
18
3.0%
98
16.2%
2
0.3%
32
5.3%
8
1.3%

Runs Produced by Batting Order

These tables show the┬áruns produced by each batting order position. I label them RBIs, but they technically aren’t RBIs as they include runs scored due to errors, doubles plays, and so on. And the total runs produced by HRs and Solo HRs were split out from the RBIs column.┬áNote that the HRs column includes the Solo HRs. The percentages are based on total PAs for that position.

And if you want to break things out yourself, the bottom of the post includes a link to download all of these tables as CSV files.

What jumps out at me when I look at this is how much better the Nats were in 2015 in producing runs (per PA) by the middle of the order – probably greatly influenced by Bryce Harper.

And thanks to Brandon at ImageWorksCreative, internal links now work – in other works you can click instead of scrolling to see the tables for OnBase by Batting Order.

American league

Order PAs RBIs HR RBIs Solo HRs RBIs per PA HR RBIs per PA
1 11,228 995 320 157 0.089 0.029
2 10,932 1,203 501 204 0.110 0.046
3 10,700 1,443 601 220 0.135 0.056
4 10,440 1,496 681 203 0.143 0.065
5 10,208 1,315 521 186 0.129 0.051
6 9,965 1,185 505 177 0.119 0.051
7 9,684 1,044 375 157 0.108 0.039
8 9,412 970 322 129 0.103 0.034
9 9,090 885 240 95 0.097 0.026

National League

Order PAs RBIs HR RBIs Solo HRs RBIs per PA HR RBIs per PA
1 11,248 962 316 164 0.086 0.028
2 10,989 1,123 412 156 0.102 0.037
3 10,738 1,439 609 187 0.134 0.057
4 10,518 1,569 652 224 0.149 0.062
5 10,269 1,388 566 210 0.135 0.055
6 10,010 1,085 347 138 0.108 0.035
7 9,721 1,023 329 130 0.105 0.034
8 9,407 890 267 85 0.095 0.028
9 9,112 628 147 62 0.069 0.016

Nationals

Order PAs RBIs HR RBIs Solo HRs RBIs per PA HR RBIs per PA
1 752 67 26 14 0.089 0.035
2 735 59 13 7 0.080 0.018
3 717 73 40 16 0.102 0.056
4 702 124 61 23 0.177 0.087
5 681 102 35 14 0.150 0.051
6 664 105 39 11 0.158 0.059
7 648 63 29 9 0.097 0.045
8 626 75 25 6 0.120 0.040
9 604 35 11 5 0.058 0.018

So at this point, we will leave it to our readers to weigh in with their thoughts.

And to download CSV (Comma Separated Values – which can be opened in Excel) files for the data in the above tables:

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