February 19, 2008

Now Leading Off...

Forget public financing of presidential campaigns, there ought to be a little box on your tax return you can check off and have the government donate money to Baseball-Reference.com. Their latest gadget is a tool that displays all the splits for a given batting slot on a team in any given year. Want to know how the Yankee cleanup hitters did in 2005? No problem. (Why did Rueben Sierra ever bat cleanup on that team?)

That's an easy example of telling you something you already knew: guys who bat 4th for the Yankees are good. Here's a more interesting question: Who was the Nationals best leadoff hitter in 2007? Here's your answer. Surprised? I know I was.

Yes, all the usual small sample size caveats apply, and there are many other issues that prevent him from being a realistic option as an everyday leadoff man. But consider this, the Nationals let this 31 year-old walk (and sign as a minor league FA with the Cardinals) and signed 38 year-old Bret Boone.

Just for fun: the second best leadoff hitter on your 2007 Washington Nationals? GUZMANIA!

Some historical perspective:

  • 2006 - Damn, Alfonso was awesome.
  • 2005 - Admire Wilkie's April, 'cause there sure ain't much else to admire.

A little fooling around can tell you why Manny tentatively has Guzie penciled into the top spot and why he desperately hopes Felipe returns to form. It doesn't look like Plan C is much of an option.

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