- Dave Cameron, FanGraphs
In the Detroit Tigers' American League Division Series victory against the New York Yankees, Detroit manager Jim Leyland used a different lineup in each game. The mixing and matching worked out, with key hits from the likes of Ramon Santiago and Don Kelly, but the Tigers managed to score just 17 runs in the entire series. They'll have to produce more offense against the Rangers if they want a shot at the World Series.
We're here to lend Leyland a hand and help him come up with a steady lineup that can maximize his team's offensive output against Texas. He has some good hitters, but the order in which they're being used could be improved. Given that the Rangers are going to throw left-handers C.J. Wilson, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison in the series, Leyland will want to focus on getting his best anti-southpaw hitters to the plate as often as possible.
The lineup below might be unconventional, but it would improve the Tigers' chances of scoring runs and advancing to the World Series. Much of it is based on the work done by Tom Tango, Mitchel Lichtman and Andy Dolphin in "The Book," where they discovered that your best hitters should bat second and fourth and that the No. 3 hitter is not nearly as valuable as believed.
1. Ramon Santiago, 2B, Bats: Switch, .305 wOBA
Austin Jackson's speed has kept him at the top of the order all season, but the reality is that he just doesn't hit well enough to justify staying there. He struck out in 27 percent of his trips to the plate this year, and the Yankees were able to consistently get him out by throwing off-speed pitches out of the zone. Santiago isn't anyone's idea of Rickey Henderson, but his better contact rates and performance against southpaws this year win him the top spot in the batting order.
FanGraphs' Dave Cameron offers Jim Leyland and the Tigers a couple of suggestions to help Detroit score more runs, including moving Victor Martinez up in the batting order.