All Forums > SimLeague Baseball > MLB > MLB: a bag of a**holes.
5/14/2014 10:07 PM
Posted by dahsdebater on 5/14/2014 1:02:00 PM (view original):
Posted by The Taint on 5/14/2014 11:23:00 AM (view original):
Many more situations where a non strikeout out is more beneficial than a strikeout. Many more. Start with Sac Flies.
Sac flies aren't scored as outs in the box score, so they don't reflect on a hitter's stats, and really aren't relevant to the conversation.  You don't have to look at these 2 hypothetical .500 sluggers and assume the 100K guy would have more sac flies.  That's a recorded stat.  You can just look at their stat page on any number of websites or even one of the few remaining ink and paper publications on the subject.  Same with sac hits.  You can have a guy who strikes out a ton but changes approach in RBI situations.  Last year Chris Davis had a meaningfully decreased K-rate and an improved contact rate with RISP.  Cabrera does that nearly every year.  But Davis is worth bringing up because he still managed to strike out 199 times.  And had 7 sac flies.  Cabrera, still a good contact hitter with less overall Ks, had 2.  Of the 7 guys with 10+ sac flies last season, 5 of them had at least 100 Ks.

More than 75% of the time, making contact is virtually meaningless in and of itself.  Guys who strike out at a high rate 75% of the time still end up with a ton of Ks, but it says nothing about their approach.

Of course they're relevant to the conversation.  A sac fly scores a run in that situation, a strikeout doesn't.  The batter may not get credited with an AB though they do get credited with a PA which comes into play when looking at qualifying for batting titles.  The reason it's not an AB is because they are not penalizing a batter for having a successful at bat by subtracting from their batting average.

Though they may not figure in the box score for the batter(except for the plus to the RBI) it's still an out.  Which is what we are discussing here.  Are all outs created equal.

No, they are not, not even close. 
5/14/2014 10:20 PM
Did dahs discount 25% of the time as "meaningless"? 

7 outs per game per team are meaningless?    Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that more than 2 innings?
5/14/2014 10:42 PM
FWIW, I don't think it's 25% of the time. 

There's less than 2% of a chance that your opponent will make an error.
I can't imagine a team having more than 1 sac fly/hit per game with any regularity. 
Add in 1-2 times where a runner is moved but a sac is not credited. 

Seems to me that a ball in play, at best, would be beneficial 3-4 times a game. 
Take at least one of those away for hitting into a DP(wouldn't happen with a whiff).

10-12% of the time it's better to put it in play and we really don't know how that affects a guy "taking something off his swing" all the time in order to make contact but, IMO, that has to be worth something.  5-7% of the time it's better to make contact?   Not insignificant but certainly not 13-14 combined outs.
5/14/2014 11:15 PM
Posted by MikeT23 on 5/14/2014 10:42:00 PM (view original):
FWIW, I don't think it's 25% of the time. 

There's less than 2% of a chance that your opponent will make an error.
I can't imagine a team having more than 1 sac fly/hit per game with any regularity. 
Add in 1-2 times where a runner is moved but a sac is not credited. 

Seems to me that a ball in play, at best, would be beneficial 3-4 times a game. 
Take at least one of those away for hitting into a DP(wouldn't happen with a whiff).

10-12% of the time it's better to put it in play and we really don't know how that affects a guy "taking something off his swing" all the time in order to make contact but, IMO, that has to be worth something.  5-7% of the time it's better to make contact?   Not insignificant but certainly not 13-14 combined outs.
I see strike em out, throw em out double plays with some regularity.
5/15/2014 12:37 AM
Posted by bad_luck on 5/14/2014 12:12:00 PM (view original):
Posted by The Taint on 5/14/2014 11:23:00 AM (view original):
Many more situations where a non strikeout out is more beneficial than a strikeout. Many more. Start with Sac Flies.
Eh, there might be more individual situations, but they don't come up more often. And the run scoring benefit of say, moving a guy to third by making the second out, is still really low. 

This link gives you the average runs scored per base/out state, the chances of scoring a run in each base out state, and the frequency of plate appearances in each base/out state.

73% of the time, there is either no one on or two outs in the inning. No benefit to making an out in play vs a strikeout.

6.4% of the time, there is a runner on 2nd or a runner on third or runners on 2nd and 3rd with less than two outs. There is a benefit here to an out in play, assuming it isn't a pop up, come backer to the pitcher, a hard hit ball to the third baseman, or a shallow fly ball. I'll come back to the exact benefit of moving the runner in a minute.

19.1% of the time, there is a runner on first and less than two outs (includes runners on 1st & 2nd, 1st & 3rd, bases loaded). In this situation, a ground ball out is a disaster. 

Let's go from the third to the first table in the link, the average number of runs scored by base/out state. Side note: most of the time, teams aren't playing for one run, so the average number is better to use than the odds of scoring one, but feel free to do some analysis of the second table.

When a situation starts with no one out and no one on, teams score, on average, about half a run (.544) that inning. When that changes to one out, no one on, teams score, on average, .291 runs from then until the end of the inning. That first out reduces the average run scoring in this situation by .253 regardless of how it is made.

Looking at the exact situation you brought up earlier, Man on 2nd, one out. The average number of runs scored in this situation is .721, pretty good. Your chance of scoring one run is almost 42%. So you do what you're "supposed" to do and hit a ground ball to second, making the second out while moving the runner to third. With a runner on third and two out, the run scoring average goes down to .385. Had you struck out, your team is worse off, but not by much. With runner on 2nd two out, the run scoring average is .348.

I wouldn't want my hitters shortening up in that situation and trying for a ground ball out. The benefit is small. I'd much rather risk a strikeout and that small benefit and have them take a real swing and have a chance at an extra base hit.
It's 6.4%.

19% of the time, though, a ground ball out is a disaster. Much, much worse than a strikeout.
5/15/2014 1:36 AM
Looking at the exact situation you brought up earlier, Man on 2nd, one out. The average number of runs scored in this situation is .721, pretty good. Your chance of scoring one run is almost 42%. So you do what you're "supposed" to do and hit a ground ball to second, making the second out while moving the runner to third. With a runner on third and two out, the run scoring average goes down to .385. Had you struck out, your team is worse off, but not by much. With runner on 2nd two out, the run scoring average is .348.

There's never been any coach in the world asking their players to ground out to the right side(making the second out) to move the runner over to third. Ever.  I said that if you were going to make the second out, you are better off moving the guy to third with a grounder than striking out, your odds are better at scoring.  I see your percentages agree with me.
5/15/2014 7:52 AM
Posted by The Taint on 5/14/2014 11:15:00 PM (view original):
Posted by MikeT23 on 5/14/2014 10:42:00 PM (view original):
FWIW, I don't think it's 25% of the time. 

There's less than 2% of a chance that your opponent will make an error.
I can't imagine a team having more than 1 sac fly/hit per game with any regularity. 
Add in 1-2 times where a runner is moved but a sac is not credited. 

Seems to me that a ball in play, at best, would be beneficial 3-4 times a game. 
Take at least one of those away for hitting into a DP(wouldn't happen with a whiff).

10-12% of the time it's better to put it in play and we really don't know how that affects a guy "taking something off his swing" all the time in order to make contact but, IMO, that has to be worth something.  5-7% of the time it's better to make contact?   Not insignificant but certainly not 13-14 combined outs.
I see strike em out, throw em out double plays with some regularity.
OK, let's put it at the bottom end.   5% of the time it would be more beneficial to put the ball in play.   1.35 times per game per team. 

Teams are averaging just over 4.2 runs per game.    .155 runs per out.   

So, essentially, a strikeout instead of putting the ball in play is costing teams .21 runs per game.   34 runs per year.   

How significant is that?
5/15/2014 8:32 AM
Isn't the statnerd rule of thumb "10 runs = 1 win"?  Something like that?

So 34 runs a year would be around 3 to 4 wins.

5/15/2014 9:08 AM
I'm not a statnerd.   If I was, I would have broken down each situation, how often it occurred and used the expected run production to get to my "34 runs per year" conclusion.

That said, I don't think anything will be completely conclusive because we're dealing with actual people.  Like it or not, what Brett Gardner should do in any given situation is entirely different than what Mark Texiera should do in the same situation. 

5/15/2014 9:21 AM
I think we can agree that "all outs are equal, so it doesn't matter how they're made" is a pretty dumb statement.
5/15/2014 9:22 AM
Yup
5/15/2014 9:26 AM

Depends on who "we" is.    But I can be included in the "we".     30ish runs per year seems like a few wins to me.    And a few wins per year might make the difference between ending your season in Sept or Oct. 

 

5/15/2014 9:27 AM
It appears to me that dahs dismisses something that happens 25% of the time as "virtually meaningless".     I don't think he can be included in "we". 
5/15/2014 11:30 AM
Posted by The Taint on 5/15/2014 1:36:00 AM (view original):
Looking at the exact situation you brought up earlier, Man on 2nd, one out. The average number of runs scored in this situation is .721, pretty good. Your chance of scoring one run is almost 42%. So you do what you're "supposed" to do and hit a ground ball to second, making the second out while moving the runner to third. With a runner on third and two out, the run scoring average goes down to .385. Had you struck out, your team is worse off, but not by much. With runner on 2nd two out, the run scoring average is .348.

There's never been any coach in the world asking their players to ground out to the right side(making the second out) to move the runner over to third. Ever.  I said that if you were going to make the second out, you are better off moving the guy to third with a grounder than striking out, your odds are better at scoring.  I see your percentages agree with me.
Sure, you're slightly better off in that specific situation grounding out instead of striking out.

But you're worse off in more situations grounding out to second. Anytime there is a guy on first and less than two outs and you ground out, you've reduced your run scoring by way more than the small amount you gained in your scenario. For example, if you have guys on first and second and no one out, the average run scoring for that inning is over 1.5. That is a huge opportunity. Striking out here sucks, it reduces your average run scoring to 0.963 but it isn't a disaster like a double play, leaving a guy on third and two out, reducing your average run scoring to 0.385.

Double play situations are much more common than productive out situations. And that's before you eliminate many outs in play that aren't actually productive  - pop ups, shallow flies, come backers, etc.

Lastly, if you aren't asking your players to change their approach in productive out situations, what are we arguing about? That's my entire point. That it isn't worth changing a player's approach just for the sake of avoiding the strikeout.
5/15/2014 11:37 AM
Posted by tecwrg on 5/15/2014 9:21:00 AM (view original):
I think we can agree that "all outs are equal, so it doesn't matter how they're made" is a pretty dumb statement.
All outs aren't perfectly equal, as we see with the run matrix. 75% of the time, all outs are exactly the same. 6% of the time, a productive out nets you a slight gain in run scoring. 19% of the time, an out in play is either neutral or a complete disaster.

If you understand baseball, you know that hitters don't get to pick and choose when and how they make their outs. Guys who avoid strikeouts and make a lot of outs in play also hit into a lot of double plays.

We can also look at it on the team level and see that there is absolutely zero correlation between run scoring and strikeout totals.
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