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Casey McGehee signing: Updated Marlins lineup optimization

The Miami Marlins have made yet another signing, this time with the aim to improve their work versus left-handed pitching. How does the addition of Casey McGehee change the lineup?

How will Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee help each other in the lineup?
How will Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee help each other in the lineup?
Jason Miller

The Miami Marlins signed free agent third baseman Casey McGehee not only to shore up the position for 2014 but to also provide a platoon partner for free agent addition Garrett Jones. In our last installment of lineup optimization, we saw that Jones is a terrible hitter versus left-handed pitching and could use a platoon partner to avoid being exposed regularly to lefites. McGehee provides that for Miami and, while the move was unnecessary, it could be welcome at the plate at least.

What does the Marlins' latest optimized lineup look like? We will use the same rules we have posted in the previous lineup optimization articles and try to make the best lineup for the Fish with their current roster.

A Reminder

Remember the basic rules of optimizing the lineup.

Keep in mind that we have optimized the lineup recently after the Saltalamacchia signing. Fish Stripes readers by now should be aware of how we optimize batting lineups. You can read the rules again in the linked article, but the gist is that we want our best hitters batting first, second, and fourth, with our best on-base guy batting first and our best power guy batting cleanup. The other two top hitters can hit third or fifth interchangeably, and the rest of the roster fills out the lineup in descending order of quality.

Right-Handed Lineup
1 Christian Yelich .342
2 Jarrod Saltalamacchia .323
3 Garrett Jones .324
4 Giancarlo Stanton .399
5 Marcell Ozuna .304
6 Rafael Furcal .300
7 Casey McGehee .300
8 Pitcher ---
9 Adeiny Hechavarria .273

The only difference here is the addition of McGehee over Donovan Solano at the third base spot. You will note that Solano is not significantly worse than McGehee versus righties; the difference is between a .300 wOBA for McGehee and a .292 mark for Solano, which was the difference between Andrelton Simmons (.248/.296/.396) and Jimmy Rollins (.252/.318/.348) last season. Essentially this lineup is no different from the previous one, and it is likely that McGehee gives up just as much or more on the defensive end when compared to Solano.

Left-handed Pitching
1 Marcell Ozuna .324
2 Casey McGehee .316
3 Donovan Solano .306
4 Giancarlo Stanton .424
5 Rafael Furcal .300
6 Christian Yelich .299
7 Adeiny Hechavarria .290
8 Pitcher ---
9 Jarrod Saltalamacchia .277

That is a much-improved lineup versus lefties. The team now only has one significant hole in the lineup in Saltalamacchia, and while they still have three other mediocre/bad hitters versus left-handers, there is some upside in those guys. Yelich, in particular, is young and could figure out his problems versus lefties at some point, which would turn this lineup around greatly.

McGehee slots into the second spot, with Ozuna taking nominal leadoff duties. This is not ideal, since the Marlins would prefer someone who can draw walks batting leadoff. McGehee owns a career 7.7 percent walk rate, but his poor baserunning and still-mediocre walk rate do not make him a good leadoff candidate.

If Yelich proves to be an improved hitter next season, he could move up the lineup and be batting third for the team. The rest of the roster versus lefties is more or less set, however, with the top three batters hitting first, second, and cleanup. Giancarlo Stanton gets to stay in the cleanup spot and drive runners in instead of being wasted at third with fewer baserunners on board and more two-out situations.

What do you Fish fans think? Better lineup now than before? Let us know your thoughts!