Astros Lineup Battle- First Base- All-Yuli vs. All-Mancini

The Intro and Disclaimer


Earlier this season I reset a 2021 analysis I did of the optimal Astros batting order (https://www.larrythegm.com/post/the-2022-optimal-astros-batting-order). Since then, the Astros have made two big trades, had key injuries, and some others have suffered from serious performance issues.


I put out post trade deadline what I thought the lineup should be, but let's go back to our fun lineup tool and see what it thinks. As a reminder, here is where the simple lineup analysis tool is located (https://www.baseballmusings.com/cgi-bin/LineupAnalysis.py). The are many flaws with this over simplified tool but directionally and within say 30% I think we can get the right answers here. I would expect teams have FAR more advanced tools to do something similar on a daily basis. So even given this disclaimer, let's pretend that the answers here give us at least an accurate magnitude type of perspective here.


For this series we are going to look at several topics:


First Base- All-Yuli vs. All-Mancini


What would a team full of Gurriels score vs. a team full of Mancinis? Our tool can give us an idea.


Gurriel currently has a o.293 OBP and a 0.372 SLG. According to the tool a team full of Gurriels would score 3.542 runs per game.


Mancini currently has a o.333 OBP and a 0.424 SLG. According to the tool a team full of Mancinis would score 4.755 runs per game.



Before we are done with this series we will conclude with the BEST lineup and compare that to Dusty's standard lineup. For now let's estimate the impact of the Yuli vs. Mancini decision every night. Above we said the difference between a lineup full of Mancinis is 1.213 runs per game better than a lineup full of Gurriels. If we divide that by nine we get the impact of the single decision nightly.


Overall, playing Yuli over Mancini is costing the Astros on average 0.13 runs per game or the equivalent of 22 runs per year. What is the difference between a player that scores 102 runs a year and one that scores 80 runs a year? What is the difference between a player that has 102 RBI a year and one that has 80 RBI?


Here is a more complete set of data that shows the overall results and platoon splits.


Yuli hits LHP with a lot more power so the LHP gap is essentially zero. THIS is why I say Yuli should play vs. LHSP. The gap vs. RHP makes it clear that Mancini should start in RHSP games a vast majority of the time.


For context, there is NO defensive metric difference between these two that is even close to this level of magnitude.


In our optimal Astros lineup, we need Mancini vs. RHSP and Yuli vs. LHSP.


A side note on the possible accuracy of this tool- I plugged into the tool the average MLB hitter (0.312 OBP/ 0.391 SLG)- an All-average hitter lineup if you will. The tool indicates that lineup would score 4.10 runs per game. The average runs per game is 4.30. This is way better than I thought.


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