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Lineup Tweaking

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A few potential changes in lineups are in the works. The Red Sox want to move Bill Mueller over to second base to make room for Kevin Youkilis in the lineup at third. This also gives them the ability to bench Mark Bellhorn. Basically, addition by subtraction, but with some addition thrown in as well. Or so I think. Let's run some numbers to see how effective (or ineffective) this would be:

Bill Mueller
.278/.392/.374
AB: 187
HR: 3
2B: 9
BB: 29
SecAvg: .251
Iso: .096
EqA: .271
Rate (3B): 106
FRAA: 2
FRAR: 10

Mueller is doing fine defensively over at third base at the moment, and that is an important point. Check out his career numbers defensively at second base:

Career Rate: 86
Last Three Seasons: 79, 85, 80.

The sample size is very small (53 games total) but any season with more than 1 or 2 games at second has him playing below average at the position defensively.

Mark Bellhorn
.235/.349/.355
AB: 200
HR: 3
2B: 15
BB: 35
SecAvg: .300
Iso: .120
EqA: .250 (.260 League Average, .230 Replacement Level)
Rate (2B): 107
FRAA: 4
FRAR: 17

Bellhorn is not known for his defensive prowess, but he has had average and slightly above average seasons before; just none from 2002-2004. 2005 seems to be one of those years though, and with Mueller's defensive shortcomings at second, that is an important point to consider. Let's see how much offense Youkilis brings to the table in order to better understand where the Red Sox stand:

Kevin Youkilis
.327/.431/.490
AB: 49
HR: 1
2B: 5
BB: 7
SecAvg: .306
Iso: .163
EqA: .316
Rate (3B): 109 (2004: 111)
FRAA: 1
FRAR: 3

Youkilis is an above average defensive third basemen. He is also most likely the best offensive option among these three players. That isn't even taking 2005 into consideration; his 2004 line beats out what these players are hitting as well for the most part. Euclis, the Greek God Of Walks is simply more deserving of a lineup spot at this point in time than Bellhorn and Mueller. Since we have seen their Rate's for Runs Above Average per 100 games, let's check out their MLVr's (Marginal Lineup Value Rate):

Mueller: .041
Bellhorn: -.080
Youkilis: .284

Basically, Mueller is contributing .041 RPG, Bellhorn is taking away -.080 RPG, and Youkilis is contributing .284 RPG. Along with their defensive rates:

Mueller: 80 (2B)
Bellhorn: 107 (2B)
Youkilis: 109 (3B)

We can see that adding Mueller to second base and benching Bellhorn, while playing Youkilis makes sense offensively, but defensively it takes away from what the Red Sox have. What is it that they have at the moment?

2005 Defensive Efficiency
.6855 (11th in AL)

Ugh...so you make the defense worse while improving a lineup that is averaging 5.48 RPG (second in the AL to Texas at 5.59 RPG).

The best way I can think to do this analysis is to multiply MLVr by 100 games to come out to a number of runs, and then combine that with the Rate runs above/below 100 to see the Net Runs of this switch. Results:

Mueller: 4.1 + -14 (Career Rate at 2B) = Net Runs-9.9

Bellhorn: -8 + 7 = Net Runs -1

Youkilis: 24.1 + 9 = Net Runs 33.1

Mueller and Bellhorn combined over 100 game span would account for -10.9 Runs total. Mueller and Youkilis on the other hand would account for 23.2 Runs over the next 100 games. That's a difference of +34.1 Runs Per 100 games. I can use this confidently for this reason: I don't think Mueller is as awful defensively at second as has been shown, but I also am not sure if Youkilis is as great offensively as he has been, so it could even out in a way. However you slice it, adding Youkilis to third and moving Mueller has a net result of runs far superior to the current setup.