clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What will the Royals lineup look like in 2015?

New, 92 comments

Ned Yost has decisions to make.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

With the signings of Alex Rios and Kendrys Morales, it looks like the Royals have their starting nine for the 2015 season - Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, Omar Infante, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Rios, and Kendrys Morales. But how should they line up? There are a couple of different approaches to take.

The Baseball Nerd Robot Method

In this method, we simply take the 2015 Steamer projections for each staring player, and plug them into the Baseball Musings Lineup Optimizer. Here is what the starting nine looks for next year, like according to Steamer.

Players AVG OBA SLG
Eric Hosmer .278 .339 .440
Alex Gordon .269 .344 .431
Kendrys Morales .264 .321 .424
Salvador Perez .276 .311 .428
Mike Moustakas .248 .306 .413
Lorenzo Cain .268 .318 .379
Alex Rios .260 .298 .394
Omar Infante .274 .312 .377
Alcides Escobar .260 .295 .347

Bleep, blorp, boop! What does the Lineup Optimizer say the best lineup would be based on those statistics?

LF Alex Gordon
1B Eric Hosmer
2B Omar Infante
C Salvador Perez
DH Kendrys Morales
RF Alex Rios
3B Mike Moustakas
SS Alcides Escobar
CF Lorenzo Cain

Here is a bit of an explanation from "The Book" on why those players are selected to hit where they are. Alex Gordon is the best on-base hitter, so he hits leadoff. Eric Hosmer is the best hitter overall, so he hits in the most important spot in the lineup, #2. The #3 spot is not so important, so Omar Infante slots in nicely there (not because of his RBIzzzzz). Salvador Perez is the best power hitter, so he hits fourth. Kendrys Morales is the next-best power hitter, so he hits fifth.

It would be pretty surprising to see Cain hitting ninth after the season he had. Steamer expects some serious regression from Lorenzo, who hit third towards the end of last year and was named ALCS MVP. Two lefties hit at the top of the lineup back-to-back, which might give Ned Yost a heart attack. The Lineup Optimizer projects that lineup to score 4.31 runs per game, or 698 for the season, an improvement over the 651 runs the Royals scored in 2014. But I think its safe to say we won't be seeing the Baseball Nerd Robot Lineup any time soon in Kansas City.

The Old School Lineup

Here is the old school thinking on starting lineups. Speedy guys hit leadoff. Guys who can bunt and handle a bat and don't hit for much power hit second. Your best hitter for average hits third. Your best hitter for power hits fourth. Your next-best hitter for power hits fifth. You also try to flip-flop left and right-handed hitters, so that a situational reliever can't have the advantage late in a game.

Based on that, I think the old school lineup would look something like this:

CF Lorenzo Cain
2B Omar Infante
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Kendrys Morales
LF Alex Gordon
C Salvador Perez
RF Alex Rios
3B Mike Moustakas
SS Alcides Escobar

If Cain regresses badly and Infante doesn't bounce back much, that could be two pretty weak hitters at the top of the lineup. You'd also be burying two of your better hitters at #5 and #6.

The Ned Yost Lineup

As Jeffrey Flanagan alluded to earlier this off-season, the Royals may view Alcides Escobar as a permanent leadoff hitter, his career .299 on-base percentage notwithstanding. This lineup just tweaks what Ned Yost went with during the Royals hot streak last fall, with Hosmer hitting third, Gordon hitting fifth, and Salvador Perez hitting seventh. Its possible maybe he attributes Omar Infante's poor 2014 to a bum shoulder and reinstates him as his "#2 hitter", moving Lorenzo Cain to leadoff and Escobar to a more fitting #9 spot in the lineup. However, this is probably the most likely lineup at this point.

That is, until mid-May when the Royals are slumping again, and Ned shakes it up again. Oh Ned, you so crazy!

What would be your ideal Royals lineup? What do you think WILL be their starting lineup?