Wall Street Journal Lucky That Tony LaRussa Didn't Have to Kick its Ass
On their regular sports page Thursday, the Wall Street Journal takes a look at some of baseball's arguably "bad ideas." Included is the strategy of having the pitcher bat eighth, which a certain St. Louis Cardinals manager routinely did the past couple years but this year has said he will do more sporadically.
Several statisticians who have studied the matter say it does make some
sense. Seattle Mariners consultant Tom Tango says the move doesn't make
a huge difference, but could give the team something on the order of
two runs over the course of a season. In fact, he says, the No. 8 hole
is actually the ideal spot for the pitcher. "It's more important to set
up the top of the order with a bad hitter than a horrible one," he
says. That benefit, he says, outweighs the cost of letting the pitcher
get a few more at bats.
Also quoted in the piece is another old friend, Andy MacPhail, who weighs in on the question of whether it's possible for a tall catcher to succeed in the majors. MacPhail's opinion is relevant given the rising star of O's catching prospect, Matt Wieters, who stands 6-foot-5 and hit .355 with 27 homers last year between Class A and Double-A.
Andy's answer is non-committal.