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.
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.