# Batting the pitcher 8th

I've seen some managers bat their pitchers 8th. Tony LaRussa was one of the more noticeable ones. Is this move statistically sound? Why or why not?

Ignore cases like Dontrelle Willis early in his career or Michah Owings, both of whom are good hitters anyway. I'm talking about run-of-the-mill, bad at hitting, pitchers.

La Russa's penchant for batting the pitcher 8th got a fair amount of press a few years ago.

This link from Retrosheet does some significantly more detailed statistical analysis about general lineup composition.

Here's a PDF from 1999 that does a comparison between Larussa and Gant.

These basically conclude that there is essentially no statistical difference.

And finally, here is the Sabermetric Guide to Managing. It includes an optimized lineup and clearly claims that batting the pitcher 8th is better.

• It's the system behind the real events that led to the movie "Moneyball". Basically, by taking the same statistical analyses that are used in investments and business to identify potential strengths and opportunities, and applying them to the players on the team and opposing players, the A's were able to be successful in MLB despite being a very money-poor team. Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 15:24

If two people strike out, or get out in any other fashion, and 3 people get onto base, your 6th and 7th hitters have a chance to bring in runs by getting a hit. Thus pushing the pitcher back to 8th to allow for this extreme scenario of giving your self two chance to get a run score after immediately getting two outs at the start of your lineup.

``````get-out get-out on-base on-base on-base hit=run hit=run pitcher last man
``````
• what? pitcher usually bats 9th so I'm not sure about your reasoning here. Care to explain a bit more? Commented May 24, 2012 at 12:58

Several reasons, basically along the lines of "you don't want the pitcher batting last in the 9th inning":

• In the case of a no-hitter, everyone will have batted 3 times and the pitcher will be last at the plate. This is a really bad situation; if it's been a pitcher's duel all night and the score is only 1-0, your pitcher, typically your worst batter, is your last hope.

• A team, statistically, gets an average of 9.27 hits in a game. So, on average, you can expect everyone to bat four times, and again, your pitcher will be last at the plate in an average situation.