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 Post subject: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:35 pm 
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Full day so far at work and I need a break before moving into the evening session of my day. Here goes.

Premise: John Russell's decision to have Jack Wilson bunt in the 8th inning of Saturday's loss to the Rockies was (a) sound baseball strategy and (b) no where close to an "idiotic" decision.

When analyzing any baseball decision, one must examine the particular circumstances under which the decision has been made. As Jack Wilson approached the plate, the Pirates were winning 7-4. Brandon Moss was on second base and Jason Jaramillo was on first base. There were no outs. it was the top of the 8th inning. John Grabow was warming up in the bullpen for the bottom of the 8th and Matt Capps was in the wings ready to pitch the 9th inning.

Wilson, for the '09 season, is hitting .255 against right handed pitching with a .270 OBP. Thus, he could be expected to get on base in just over one out of four plate appearances. He has a grand total of 13 extra base hits in 142 total plate appearances. That comes out to about one extra base hit in every 10 plate appearances. Against right handed pitchers, he has about a 50/50 chance of grounding out versus flying out. Wilson is, by all accounts, is a good bunter.

So . . . given the various scenarios . . . what would you want?

Best Result? Extra Base Hit. Liklihood? Low. Less than 10%.
Next Best Result? Single. Liklihood? Low. About 15% of the time.
Next Best Result? Walk. Liklihood? Very Low. He's more likely to get an extra base hit.

So . . . if you conclude that the chances of Wilson getting a hit or a walk are no better than 1 out of 4, what is the likely result. Obviously, the likely result is an out.

Here is where I go with the argument that "not all outs are created equal."

Wilson has K'd 15 times in 142 plate appearances. Thus, he is just as likely to strike out as he is to get an extra base hit.
In those 142 plate appearances, he has 45 ground outs and 45 fly outs.

If he will make an out 75% of the time, you want that out to result in runners at second and third as opposed to first and second. Let's look at Wilson as a hitter and the runners on base. Any fly ball that is less than to the warning track to CF or RF will not result in Moss advancing to 3B. Does Wilson have power to CF or RF? Nope. So . . . a fly out will not advance the runners. Will a ground out advance the runners? That is possible but, if Wilson can avoid a double play, the most likely result is first and third with one out.

So . . . . do you bunt in an effort to maximize the chances of advancing the runners? Pros: (1) Wilson as a hitter will make an out 75% of the time. (2) Wilson is a very good bunter. (3) Rockies are down 3 and can't afford to take chances to get anything other than a sure out. (4) Hinske is going to pinch hit; has good power to OF; is a double play candidate. Cons: Moss and Jaramilllo are not particularly fast.

Taking all of those into consideration, the sound strategy is to have your weak hitting, low OBP, good bunting player lay down a sacrifice bunt.

In response to individual arguments in previous thread:

1. Willton argued that "there is no reason to play for one run. The only time that it is ideal to ask a positional player to bunt is when the score is tied, not when up by 3 runs. There is no excuse for giving away outs when you are up by 3 runs. None." Jaybee reasserted this argument in stating that "the only time when it is ever correct to bunt is with an extremely poor hitter at the plate when scoring a single run will make a decisive difference in the outcome of the game" and "the only way to significantly increase your chances of winning in that situation is to score multiple runs. Sacrificing almost completely eliminates that possibility."

Couldn't disagree more. And, at risk of sounding insolent, this doesn't make an iota of sense to me. If it would have been OK to have Jack Wilson advance the runners with a sacrifice bunt when the score was tied in an effort to go ahead by one or two runs, why wouldn't it have been better for him to sacrifice in an effort to go ahead by four or five runs. I ask this: what is the greater liklihood of winnning? If you are up by 4 or 5 runs or if you are up by 1 or 2 runs? The obvious answer is that you have a greater chance of winning if you are up by 4 or 5 runs. So . . . if it is OK to sacrifice yourself in a tie game in the 8th inning when looking to score a run to break the tie, then it has to be better if that strategy could put you up at least by 4 runs.

2. Run expectancy charts show that you have a greater chance of scoring more runs if you don't give up an out. You have a higher run expectancy if there are no outs and runners on first and second than if there is one out and runners on second and third.

Again, at risk of sounding crass, I could give a rat's fart what some run expectancy chart says about historical trends in major league baseball. I care about the most likely results in the 8th inning of a game where the Bucs are leading 7-4 and Wilson is up, with Hinske on deck and McCutchen in the hole. I question the relevance of a Run Expectancy Chart to the 2009 Pittsburgh Pirates and the players who will be hitting in that situation. If DiMaggio was at the plate, with Gehrig on deck and Mantle behind him . . . I don't freaking bunt. But this is not a high scoring team. Wilson is not a great hitter. He is not great at working a walk. Hinske is slow and a good double play candidate. I'd much rather see him come to the plate with runners on second and third with one out than first and second with one out.

Unless you can show me some Run Expectancy Chart which has sufficient data to predict the number of runs that could be expected for these particular players on this particular team . . . I disregard the chart.

3. IA Pirate argued that "you step on their throat."

Agreed. Completely. And . . . scoring even a single run in that situation is "stepping on their throat." Down by 4 with 2 innings to go and Grabow and Capps on the mound looks more daunting than down by 3 with 2 innings to go. Consequently, you take an approach which gives you the best chance to score at least one (if not more) runs. Hinske's outs are more than 50% fly outs. He is more likely to get an extra base hit. If he makes an out, there is an excellent chance a runner on third would score. If he gets an extra base hit, that hit would drive in the slow-footed Jaramillo from second base as opposed to from first base. A single leaves a chance for Jaramillo to score. Even a single might not score Moss from second.

I'll analogize football again. 4th quarter, the Steelers are up by 6, 6:00 to play. 3rd and goal on the opponents' 16 yard line. Do you "go for the throat" and throw a pass into the endzone in the hopes of going up by two TDs or do you run the ball to the middle of the field and rely upon your kicker to go up by 9 and force the other team to score twice to beat you? Some may prefer the former but I'm the latter kind-of-guy. I rely upon my kicker to go up by 9 and rely upon the defense to hold the other team down. Screw the risk of an interception. Take the points.

Similarly, I say that you put yourself in a situation which best gives you the chance to go up by at least 4 runs and then rely on Grabow and Capps to close the door. I rely on Jack Wilson to execute. I think that is "stepping on their throats."

I'll conclude by asking those who say that sacrificing was not the right call the following question: If Brian Bixler was up to bat (and had to bat), would you want him swinging away or would you have him bunting? If your answer is: "I would have him bunting," then I would follow up with "why would you do that?" And, after you've given that answer, I'd ask you "how confident are you in your assessment that Jack Wilson would come up with a better result?"

Finally, I'll add that you don't have to agree with the above. I'll even admit that I could make some interesting arguments to have Wilson swing away. I don't find them compelling under the circumstances, but they exist. Bottom line, even if I disagree with them, they would be reasonable arguments. For those who claim that the decision to bunt was idiotic or reflect a losing mentality, I find those conclusions absolutely ridiculous. Actually, I have more disparaging adjectives to use but choose not to use them. There is absolutely, unequivocally sound baseball reasoning for having Wilson bunt in the 8th inning on Saturday. Indeed, I'd go so far as to say that bunting in that situation was a "no brainer" under the circumstances.

Wilson is to blame for an iffy bunt. Moss is to blame for a bad secondary lead and poor jump. Jaramillo is to blame for sleep walking at second base and for a stupid pitch call to Ionnetta.

If I question anything about the 8th, it is the decision to not pinch run Vasquez for Moss. Hinske could have gone to RF. You add better legs to get that 4th run and Morgan and McCutch would cover more than enough ground to offset the drop in defense with Hinske taking over for Moss in RF.

That's all. Back to work. Take it for what it is worth. :)

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No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:43 pm 
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I could not watch the game but the biggest question to me was why Matt Capps was not pitching the 9th? I have been scratching my head over that one for a couple of days now.


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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:51 pm 
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Ok, so I'm going to take a look at actual win expectancies here, taking into account that Jack was in the plate, as No.9 rightly pointed out that we have to do in this situation. (Win expectancies are here: http://winexp.walkoffbalk.com/expectancy/search)

With runners on 1st and 2nd, no one out, and up by three, the Pirates should win the game roughly 94% of the time. Any strategy going forward should be based on the play that moves us the closest to 100%. The options are:

1. Have Jack swing away. The most significant possibilities here are:
a. GIDP, which Jack does 9% of the time on average over his career. After the DP, there's a runner on third and two outs. New expectation of winning: 94% (unchanged).
b. Single out, which will happen with Jack roughly 63% of the time (I'll say runners do not move up for the sake of argument). New expectation of winning: 93%, or 1% less than before.
c. Walk, happens 5% of the time, now bases are loaded none out. New chances of winning: 99%, increase of 5%.
d. Hit, happens the remaining 23% of the time (I'll say an extra base hit will score only one). Pirates are now up by four, no one is out, and we'll say for the sake of argument that the runners average out to be on first and third. New chances of winning: 99%, increase of 5%.

2. Have Jack sacrifice bunt. Possibilities are:
a. He is unsuccessful and makes an out (neglect DP possibility as small). Jack has only been successful on two-thirds of his sacrifice attempts throughout his career, so he'll make an out one-third of the time when trying to sacrifice. Now we have runners on 1st and 2nd, one out, up by three. New chances of winning: 93%, decrease of 1%.
b. He is successful in his bunt attempt, which will happen two-thirds of the time. Now there are runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out, Pirates still up by three. New chances of winning: 96%, increase of 2%.

Summary of expected chances of winning:

Option 1, Jack swings away:
(0 x 9%) + (-1 x 63%) + (5 x 5%) + (5 x 23%) = 0.77

So if Jack swings away, on average, the Pirates increase their chances of winning from 94% to roughly 94.8%.

Option 2, Jack attempts to sacrifice:

(-1 x 33%) + (2 x 67%) = 1

If Jack attempts a sacrifice, the Pirates increase their chances of winning from 94% to 95%.

So No. 9, based on this, you are correct. With Jack at the plate in that situation, the Pirates should attempt a sacrifice.

I will point out that I rounded in several places and made some assumptions that increased the error, so in actuality, there is no statistically significant difference to having Jack bunt or swing away.

In conclusion:

No. 9, my previous statement regarding when it is appropriate to sacrificewas definitely an overstatement. It is a possibility that sacrificing increases your chances of winning in this situation. Personally, I would not give up the out. But I will absolutely stipulate that reasonable people can disagree on this, which I was much less apt to do before.


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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:12 pm 
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jaybee24 wrote:
Ok, so I'm going to take a look at actual win expectancies here, taking into account that Jack was in the plate, as No.9 rightly pointed out that we have to do in this situation. (Win expectancies are here: http://winexp.walkoffbalk.com/expectancy/search)

With runners on 1st and 2nd, no one out, and up by three, the Pirates should win the game roughly 94% of the time. Any strategy going forward should be based on the play that moves us the closest to 100%. The options are:

1. Have Jack swing away. The most significant possibilities here are:
a. GIDP, which Jack does 9% of the time on average over his career. After the DP, there's a runner on third and two outs. New expectation of winning: 94% (unchanged).
b. Single out, which will happen with Jack roughly 63% of the time (I'll say runners do not move up for the sake of argument). New expectation of winning: 93%, or 1% less than before.
c. Walk, happens 5% of the time, now bases are loaded none out. New chances of winning: 99%, increase of 5%.
d. Hit, happens the remaining 23% of the time (I'll say an extra base hit will score only one). Pirates are now up by four, no one is out, and we'll say for the sake of argument that the runners average out to be on first and third. New chances of winning: 99%, increase of 5%.

2. Have Jack sacrifice bunt. Possibilities are:
a. He is unsuccessful and makes an out (neglect DP possibility as small). Jack has only been successful on two-thirds of his sacrifice attempts throughout his career, so he'll make an out one-third of the time when trying to sacrifice. Now we have runners on 1st and 2nd, one out, up by three. New chances of winning: 93%, decrease of 1%.
b. He is successful in his bunt attempt, which will happen two-thirds of the time. Now there are runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out, Pirates still up by three. New chances of winning: 96%, increase of 2%.

Summary of expected chances of winning:

Option 1, Jack swings away:
(0 x 9%) + (-1 x 63%) + (5 x 5%) + (5 x 23%) = 0.77

So if Jack swings away, on average, the Pirates increase their chances of winning from 94% to roughly 94.8%.

Option 2, Jack attempts to sacrifice:

(-1 x 33%) + (2 x 67%) = 1

If Jack attempts a sacrifice, the Pirates increase their chances of winning from 94% to 95%.

So No. 9, based on this, you are correct. With Jack at the plate in that situation, the Pirates should attempt a sacrifice.

I will point out that I rounded in several places and made some assumptions that increased the error, so in actuality, there is no statistically significant difference to having Jack bunt or swing away.

In conclusion:

No. 9, my previous statement regarding when it is appropriate to sacrificewas definitely an overstatement. It is a possibility that sacrificing increases your chances of winning in this situation. Personally, I would not give up the out. But I will absolutely stipulate that reasonable people can disagree on this, which I was much less apt to do before.


Jaybee -
Interesting analysis. Thanks for taking the time. Bottom line . . . something that we can agree upon . . . Bucs let one slip away in rather poor fashion. Pulling one out in the 9th tonight would have salved the wound somewhat but, alas, LaRoche couldn't seal the deal.
No. 9

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:20 am 
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Just wanted to log in to say I enjoyed reading this thread.


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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:48 am 
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Nice post No. 9. Allow me to retort.

No.9 wrote:
I could give a rat's fart what some run expectancy chart says about historical trends in major league baseball.

We can argue all day long about probabilities in that situation and whether or not a bunt is safer/smarter than a regular AB. But I'll gladly dump the charts and just talk turkey.

Situationally (runners on, force situation), Wilson grounds into a dp 6.25% of the time, which is actually pretty good. Pujols by comparison gdp's at a 10% clip. More specifically, with runners on first and second, he's gdped 11 times in 275 ABs, that's a 4% rate. So I'm feeling pretty good that even if Wilson does hit into an out, it will only be one. So that's out of the way.

Next I'm comparing his unsuccessful bunt rate with his successful OBP rate. Why? Because I really don't care that he is successful with the bunt 67% of the time. I'm giving up an out for that 67%, it's a sunk cost. So there is a 33% chance that Jack will unsuccessfully bunt and a 30% chance that he'll make base safely. I'm playing for the bigger inning so I don't bunt.

The problem with the bunt , outside of the obvious out, is that it completely eliminates any chance of extra bases and walks. And yes, I read your post and agree that Jack is not really adept in either of these categories, but I'd counter that with a bunt you can guarantee that none of those outcomes is possible.

So I'm left to wonder, should I let Wilson swing away and hope for a hit with no outs, or give up an out and let Hinske swing away with one out?

Hinske and everyone else batting behind Wilson has no bearing on this decision because they will bat regardless of what Wilson does, with the exception of a triple play. So Hinske comes to the plate with:

1) no outs - not possible with the bunt; bases could be cleared or full (a win either way) via batted ball
2) one out - via bunt or batted out; second and third only via bunt; any combination via batted out
3) two outs - unlikely in either situation though the batted ball involves slightly more risk

I'd take my chances on #1 as I see no benefit to be had giving up the out and opting for #2.


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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:49 pm 
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Argentum -
As I said, reasonable arguments can be made for having Wilson swing away. I'm not inclined to go with that decision but understand why others would go that route.

Here's where you and I diverge:
1. I'm not "playing for the bigger inning." I'm playing for the best chance to get at least one more run on the board and anything above that is gravy. I see the 4th run as being far more important than the chance at the 5th or 6th run. On the margins, going up 4 is (IMO) the key.
2. I don't agree with you that Hinske should play no role in the decision. If you want to take your chances with Wilson swinging away, the most probably outcome with an out is runners on first and third or runners at first and second. In either of those situations, the double play is available and Hinske will never be confused with McCutchen in his ability to get down the line. Similarly, if Brian Bixler is on deck, I would not bunt Wilson because the chances of Bixler getting a hit are close to nil and having him hit a fly ball are also remote. I think that you have to consider who is on deck.
3. Admittedly, this is nitpicking . . . but a bunt does force the defense to make a play and there is the possibilty of an error or a FC which does not beat the runner. So, remote as it is, there is the chance that - on a bunt - that the bases would become loaded or even a run scored on an error. Which, to be fair, also exists with a batted ball. But swinging away brings a K into the equation. SacBunt does not.

I come back to my conclusion. You see things through different colored glasses on this and I'm fine with that. I disagree and would not play it that way. But . . . these strategies are not black-and-white; they involve shades of grey and are multi-factorial. As I have posted time and time and time again, these are the types of debates that I enjoy the most. You may not like him, but John Russell is where he is because of a lifetime devoted to the sport. I think that I have a pretty decent working knowledge of the game but I will admit that it doesn't hold a candle to what is in his head. He is surrounded by Varsho, Hill, Beasley and Kerrigan in the dugout. The collective baseball knowledge of these guys far exceeds what we could ever hope to know. As Az can likely attest, try sitting next to a scout sometime. They see stuff that ordinary folks don't. Thus, while I may disagree here and there with a lineup or a move, I have a difficult time concluding that anyone in that position is an idiot. There are usually reasons underlying any decision made on the diamond.

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Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:25 pm 
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No. 9, I agree that there is no right or wrong etched in stone. I wouldn't call JR an idiot even though I disagree with bunting in that situation. If you read my responses in the other thread I was actually sticking up for JR because I didn't think it fair to say he was only playing for one run in that situation. A successful bunt moves runners into scoring position, a subsequent base hit in all probability scores two. I'm just not a proponent of intentional productive outs.

As for who is on deck, I'd counter that Hinske is going to see a lefty no matter what happens. He and Wilson are equally effective (lousy) against pitchers who throw from the same side as they hit. So I really don't see any advantage to having Hinske take the RBI reins over Wilson. As for Bixler, if he's in the hole, and you can't PH for him, game over no matter what you decide.

While we're nitpicking, a sac bunt attempt can make the count 0-2 or 1-2 real quick. The odds of getting a hit in those counts if you fail on the bunt are low. Unless of course you bunt on two strikes and foul out, which is recorded as a strike out.


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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:39 pm 
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For those of you who disagree with the bunt, I'm wondering: is there ever a time you think a position player should bunt? I'm not a big proponent of bunting, but this was one of the times I agreed with it.


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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:44 pm 
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Jack Round Tripper wrote:
For those of you who disagree with the bunt, I'm wondering: is there ever a time you think a position player should bunt? I'm not a big proponent of bunting, but this was one of the times I agreed with it.

When one run is worth more than two runs. Namely, when it's the 9th inning of a tie ballgame. There, increasing the odds of scoring one run is more productive than increasing the odds of scoring more than one run, as the extra runs are not material to winning the game.

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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:52 pm 
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What would Jim Leyland do?


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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:34 am 
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Az Bucco fan wrote:
What would Jim Leyland do?


WWJD
What Would Jim Do


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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:07 am 
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Nice, I like that. Way more than the original.


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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:30 am 
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Az Bucco fan wrote:
Nice, I like that. Way more than the original.


I think i am going to make those rubber arm bands that say that and give them to any of the players that will take them Friday night when i go. Well i will probably have my nephew that me and my girlfriend are taking to the game give it to them, because they will take it from alittle kid. I'm going to go to Walmart tomorrow to buy the kit to makes those bands. I think you can put up to 20 letter including the spaces so maybe it will be a good luck charm for whoever takes them.


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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:48 am 
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Willton wrote:
Jack Round Tripper wrote:
For those of you who disagree with the bunt, I'm wondering: is there ever a time you think a position player should bunt? I'm not a big proponent of bunting, but this was one of the times I agreed with it.

When one run is worth more than two runs. Namely, when it's the 9th inning of a tie ballgame. There, increasing the odds of scoring one run is more productive than increasing the odds of scoring more than one run, as the extra runs are not material to winning the game.


Willton, I think normally we're on the same page, but No. 9 is not incorrect about playing for one run in this situation. Yes, scoring more than one run essentially puts the game away, but you have to weight that against the likelihood of scoring multiple runs with Jack at the plate.

Moving runners from 1st and 2nd base with no outs to 2nd and 3rd with one out is one of those situations that increases your probability of scoring at least one run. It does decrease your total run expectation...however, if you look at the win expectancy charts, increasing the lead from three runs to four runs increases your chances of winning from 94% to about 97%, which is more significant that I thought it would be before I looked at the numbers.

Putting the game away with multiple runs increases the chances of winning to essentially 100%. So in order to correctly try for multiple runs, the team must be at least half as likely to score multiple runs as it is to score a single run. If that's not the case, it's ok to try for one run. And it's arguable that Jack is a bad enough hitter to justify that strategy.

With the sample sizes on which the win expectancies are based, you can say that there is enough error that the strategies are statistically indistinguishable from one another. Again, I would not give up the out personally, but I don't fault No. 9 for advocating for the sacrifice.


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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:47 am 
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Az Bucco fan wrote:
Nice, I like that. Way more than the original.


Are you saying Jesus Christ cant lay down a bunt?

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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:17 pm 
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He can't hit the breaking ball either.


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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:17 pm 
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jaybee24 wrote:
Willton wrote:
Jack Round Tripper wrote:
For those of you who disagree with the bunt, I'm wondering: is there ever a time you think a position player should bunt? I'm not a big proponent of bunting, but this was one of the times I agreed with it.

When one run is worth more than two runs. Namely, when it's the 9th inning of a tie ballgame. There, increasing the odds of scoring one run is more productive than increasing the odds of scoring more than one run, as the extra runs are not material to winning the game.


Willton, I think normally we're on the same page, but No. 9 is not incorrect about playing for one run in this situation. Yes, scoring more than one run essentially puts the game away, but you have to weight that against the likelihood of scoring multiple runs with Jack at the plate.

Moving runners from 1st and 2nd base with no outs to 2nd and 3rd with one out is one of those situations that increases your probability of scoring at least one run. It does decrease your total run expectation...however, if you look at the win expectancy charts, increasing the lead from three runs to four runs increases your chances of winning from 94% to about 97%, which is more significant that I thought it would be before I looked at the numbers.

Putting the game away with multiple runs increases the chances of winning to essentially 100%. So in order to correctly try for multiple runs, the team must be at least half as likely to score multiple runs as it is to score a single run. If that's not the case, it's ok to try for one run. And it's arguable that Jack is a bad enough hitter to justify that strategy.

With the sample sizes on which the win expectancies are based, you can say that there is enough error that the strategies are statistically indistinguishable from one another. Again, I would not give up the out personally, but I don't fault No. 9 for advocating for the sacrifice.

I understand the numbers from a Jack-centric perspective. I'm just saying that as a general matter, a sac bunt is only prudent when the value of scoring 1 run is higher than the value of scoring multiple runs, and such a situation typically only presents itself in the 9th inning of a tie ballgame. I'm well aware of how bad Jack is as a hitter, and I know that it must play into the decision-making.

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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:54 pm 
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Willton wrote:
I understand the numbers from a Jack-centric perspective. I'm just saying that as a general matter, a sac bunt is only prudent when the value of scoring 1 run is higher than the value of scoring multiple runs, and such a situation typically only presents itself in the 9th inning of a tie ballgame. I'm well aware of how bad Jack is as a hitter, and I know that it must play into the decision-making.


But, Wilton, this is the constant flaw in your arguements. All AB's in every game, are Jack-centric, or LaRoche-centric or whomever v. whomever-centric.

And, while the large sample size given by all of MLB will show you trends for MLB, it doesn't necessarily correlate to Jack-centric game situations. It is a great starting point for a number of decisions, I will admit. And, it is a good starting point to look at the situation as the game situation develops, but you HAVE to go deeper than "the MLB sample size says... " when deciding a game situation.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: May it please the court . . . in defense of "the bunt" . . .
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:24 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
And, while the large sample size given by all of MLB will show you trends for MLB, it doesn't necessarily correlate to Jack-centric game situations. It is a great starting point for a number of decisions, I will admit. And, it is a good starting point to look at the situation as the game situation develops, but you HAVE to go deeper than "the MLB sample size says... " when deciding a game situation.

ZM


A good example of this may very well be seen on Sunday when Russell et al may deem it in the team's best interests to play small ball against Greinke. Given the liklihood of few chances to score on that guy . . . I could see some small ball strategy right from the get go.
If it looks like Lee has his good stuff tonight . . . you may see it tonight as well.

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