Estimating Playing Plate Appearances Knowing Team Talent

I just got done writing up my hitter breakouts and need to make several playing time adjustments based on my projected lineup spot. I needed to find out how many plate appearances the lineup spot generated. After about a half dozen lookups, I decided to just create a simple table with the values.

To do this, I compared the preseason projection for runs scored for a team to the actual plate appearances from the leadoff batter. It’s important to use the projected numbers because that’s all that’s available before the season starts. Here is the graph comparing the two values since 2010 (ignoring 2020) that ended up with an r-squared under .10.

While the relationship isn’t significant (r-squared under 0.10, there is one. I was able to create the following formula to estimate the number of plate appearances using the projected runs scored per game and lineup spot.

Lineup Slot Plate Appearances = (10.655 x Proj RS/G +705) – ((Lineup slot – 1) * 17.81)

Using runs scored per game from our projected standings, here are the 2024 estimated plate appearances per lineup slot.

Projected Plate Appearance per Lineup Slot
Team R/G 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Braves 5.35 762 744 726 709 691 673 655 637 620
Dodgers 5.12 760 742 724 706 688 671 653 635 617
Astros 5.05 759 741 723 705 688 670 652 634 616
Yankees 4.97 758 740 722 705 687 669 651 633 615
Rays 4.66 755 737 719 701 683 666 648 630 612
Mariners 4.57 754 736 718 700 682 665 647 629 611
Orioles 4.73 755 738 720 702 684 666 649 631 613
Phillies 4.78 756 738 720 702 685 667 649 631 613
Blue Jays 4.72 755 737 720 702 684 666 648 631 613
Twins 4.64 754 737 719 701 683 665 648 630 612
Diamondbacks 4.74 756 738 720 702 684 666 649 631 613
Cardinals 4.82 756 739 721 703 685 667 649 632 614
Rangers 4.90 757 739 722 704 686 668 650 633 615
Cubs 4.66 755 737 719 701 683 666 648 630 612
Red Sox 4.92 757 740 722 704 686 668 651 633 615
Padres 4.52 753 735 718 700 682 664 646 628 611
Giants 4.47 753 735 717 699 681 664 646 628 610
Brewers 4.59 754 736 718 700 683 665 647 629 611
Marlins 4.51 753 735 717 700 682 664 646 628 611
Mets 4.66 755 737 719 701 683 666 648 630 612
Guardians 4.49 753 735 717 699 682 664 646 628 610
Tigers 4.46 753 735 717 699 681 663 646 628 610
Reds 4.85 757 739 721 703 685 668 650 632 614
Angels 4.77 756 738 720 702 685 667 649 631 613
Pirates 4.56 754 736 718 700 682 665 647 629 611
Royals 4.65 755 737 719 701 683 665 648 630 612
Athletics 4.17 749 732 714 696 678 660 643 625 607
White Sox 4.31 751 733 715 697 680 662 644 626 608
Nationals 4.30 751 733 715 697 680 662 644 626 608
Rockies 4.66 755 737 719 701 683 666 648 630 612

A major finding, at least for me, was that the difference between the Braves and A’s is just 13 PA. That’s it. The difference doesn’t seem to matter enough when making quick calculations.

I took the median values from the above table and created the 100% row in the following table. Besides Marcus Semien, hitters aren’t expected to play every game. I added a percentage of plate appearances to create a quick reference chart.

Predicted Plate Appearance per Lineup Spot
% of PA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
100% 755 737 719 701 683 666 648 630 612
90% 679 663 647 631 615 599 583 567 551
80% 604 589 575 561 547 532 518 504 490
70% 528 516 503 491 478 466 453 441 428
60% 453 442 431 421 410 399 389 378 367
50% 377 368 359 351 342 333 324 315 306

This table assumes that 2024 will have the same run-scoring environment as 2023. In the future, the run-scoring environment must be considered, and don’t assume the above table will work as a reference.





Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Richiemember
1 month ago

Excellent, Jeff, thank you! Again.

(umm, any chance of deriving whether warm weather pitchers’ parks play as more [relatively] neutral in cold April?? 🙂 )