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.