Brewers’ 6-7-8 hitters for ’08

The 2008 Milwaukee Brewers will feature a variety of batting orders, if the past is any indication–Ned Yost used 109 different batting orders in ’07, according to Baseball-Reference.com. The most frequently used lineup was only used in 9 of the 162 games, so trying to determine “the” lineup is not particularly worthwhile.
That said, Yost’s lineups tend to have a common thread–in all 6 of the most commonly used lineups in ’07, Rickie Weeks batted leadoff in all of them, while J.J. Hardy hit second in 5 of the 6. While one would like to believe that Yost changed lineups due to some elaborate algorithm that would increase the chances of scoring runs, changes were made due to injuries and whether or not a particular player was “hot” (e.g., Corey Hart in midseason) or “not” (Weeks in midseason).
In my last post, I offered a “core” lineup against right-handed hitters prior to the return of Mike Cameron:
1. Rickie Weeks, 2B
2. Corey Hart, RF
3. Prince Fielder, 1B
4. Ryan Braun, LF
5. Gabe Gross, CF
6. Jason Kendall, C
7. J.J. Hardy, SS
8. Bill Hall, 3B
9. Ben Sheets, P
After I posted, I began re-evaluating the #6 and #7 spots, and decided that Jason Kendall is rather likely to see a decline in output this year due to age, while J.J. Hardy could build upon his 2007 season and improve; therefore, my recommended “core” line-up against right-handed hurlers now stands at:
1. Rickie Weeks, 2B
2. Corey Hart, RF
3. Prince Fielder, 1B
4. Ryan Braun, LF
5. Gabe Gross, CF
6. J.J. Hardy, SS
7. Jason Kendall, C
8. Bill Hall, 3B
9. Ben Sheets, P
Of course, the “core” lineup will never be “established,” as Yost will change his lineup as needed…so what I am proposing is what I’d like to see the first lineup to be tested.
Of course, then there needs to be the starting point for a lineup for left-handed starters…so far, I’ve concluded that the first five ought to be:
1. Rickie Weeks, 2B
2. Corey Hart, CF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Bill Hall, 3B
With J.J. Hardy, Jason Kendall, and the right-handed hitting Joe Dillon rounding out the order. In determining which players should round out the order, let’s look at the OPS for each against left-handers in ’07:
1. Joe Dillon, 1.414 !!
2. J.J. Hardy, .950
3. Bill Hall, .795
4. Jason Kendall, .671 {NL stats only}
Huh. Well, first, I will exercise my option to move Billy Hall back out of the #5 spot (sorry, Bill–until you prove you can get more than 5 HR’s in 148 AB’s against southpaws, J.J.’s 9 dingers in 152 AB’s wins out); Joe Dillon’s sample size is too small, so the default line-up against lefties should be:
1. Rickie Weeks, 2B
2. Corey Hart, CF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. J.J. Hardy, SS
6. Bill Hall, 3B
7. Jason Kendall, C
8. Joe Dillon, RF
9. starting pitcher
That’s what I’d like to see…at least for one game.

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