We’ve never worried to much about lineups. Over the course of a full season, it doesn’t make much of a difference. But in the framework of a single game, the lineup can make a huge difference.
But when people hear that Joe Maddon used 129 lineups last year in 162 games, it sounds like JoeMa has commitment issues. And to a certain extent, he does. But let’s put that number into some perspective.
The 129 different batting orders in 2010 was only slightly more than 2009 (125). It does mark a big jump over 2008 when he used 115 different lineups. But it is still well-short of the 145 lineups Maddon used in his first season (2006). 145! in 162 games! That, my friends, is not easy to do.
For fun, let’s compare Maddon to the Red Sox and the Yankees over the last five seasons. In general, Maddon does tend to tinker more than those two teams. But the extent of the tinkering does not appear to be that crazy…
All data via Baseball-Reference.com