The art of Protection in Major League Lineups
I have always argued that lineup protection does not exist in baseball.
The main reason is because a pitcher is facing a hitter one on one, not the guy on deck. He has to get get the guy who is up out, and worry about the guy on deck when he comes up.
MANY people said Miguel Cabrera was going to have a better year offensively this year because Prince Fielder is now batting behind him.
It's only been 2.5 months on the season, but Miggy is down this year. You have to assume he will improve as the season goes on.
He is being walked less, certainly (from 15% to 8%), and he is also striking out more (12.9 to 13.5%).
wOBA is down 56 points, and he is actually seeing more strikes this year than he did last year (58% to 63%) and less balls.
Meanwhile, Ryan Braun isn't doing any worse without Prince Fielder. In fact, he is hitting almost the exact same as he was last year (slash line, wOBA, wRC+, same walk rate, slight jump in strike out rate) and he is seeing the same number of strikes (63%) as last year.
What about fastballs?
Braun is seeing the exact same number of fastballs last year, as he is this year, same with Cabrera.
So is the argument that protection exists for only weaker hitters? Or is there still an argument for protection existing in major league lineups?
To those that do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty of baseball. If you want to learn about baseball, to appreciate baseball, it is necessary to understand the language she speaks.