All Forums > SimLeague Baseball > MLB > MLB: a bag of a**holes.
5/14/2014 12:12 PM
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.
5/14/2014 12:13 PM
Posted by tecwrg on 5/14/2014 11:28:00 AM (view original):
BL proves once again that he doesn't understand baseball.
Care to explain?
5/14/2014 12:26 PM
Posted by bad_luck on 5/14/2014 11:17:00 AM (view original):
Posted by burnsy483 on 5/14/2014 9:45:00 AM (view original):
I'll say this about the "an outs an out" argument, but I'm not getting into a conversation about this - the Mets have obviously adopted the "an outs and out" mentality, and there have been plenty of times in the last year or so when the Mets were in situations where a ground ball or a sac fly would have been beneficial, and the Mets struck out.  Drives you insane.  So, yes, generally putting the ball in play and making out has little benefit.  But you can be sure I'd rather the guy who slugs .500 with 100 strikeouts rather than the guy who slugs .500 with 200 strikeouts.  There's a benefit to putting the ball in play.
A couple different things going on here. You'd rather have a player who slugs .500 with 100 k's vs a player who slugs .500 with 200 k's. The guy with 100 k's is going to reach base between 30 and 50 more times than the guy with 200 k's. The question is, can the high K guy maintain that .500 slugging percentage if he makes an effort to reduce the strikeouts. I don't think he can. I think that, for some players, the cost of a high slugging percentage is the strikeouts.

Over a large sample, an out is an out. Obviously, there are certain situations where a ground ball out helps more than a strikeout. There are also certain situations where a ground ball out hurts a lot more than a strikeout. How often someone makes an out is infinitely more important than how they make their outs.
I'm not saying anyone should completely change their approach to cut their strikeouts in half, you're right, it would hurt them in the long run.  But there's situational baseball that seems to be ignored sometimes.  Choke up, but the ball in play with a guy on 3rd, 1 out, and a 1-2 count on you.  You can't strike out in that situation.  Guy on 2nd and nobody out, down 1 late?  If you have a chance to hit a ball hard on the right side, do it.  A home run isn't a complete necessity there, at the very least, move the runner to third.  I agree that Ks are just outs most of the time, but it seems that some players or teams take it too far.  There seems to be no difference in approach in situations where there probably should be.
5/14/2014 12:27 PM
Posted by MikeT23 on 5/14/2014 11:11:00 AM (view original):
If the ball isn't put in play, it's still two guys playing catch. 
Most baseball fans see more than that, but ok.
5/14/2014 12:29 PM
Obviously, there's also errors too.  The guy who strikes out 200 times will reach base by error more often than the guy who strikes out 100 times, all things equal.  That doesn't reflect in BA/OBP/SLG.
5/14/2014 12:35 PM
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.

How many hitters go up to the plate with the intention of "trying for a ground ball out"?

Do you understand the concept of trying to make contact and put a ball in play?

Does every ball put in play result in an out?
5/14/2014 12:37 PM
Posted by burnsy483 on 5/14/2014 12:26:00 PM (view original):
Posted by bad_luck on 5/14/2014 11:17:00 AM (view original):
Posted by burnsy483 on 5/14/2014 9:45:00 AM (view original):
I'll say this about the "an outs an out" argument, but I'm not getting into a conversation about this - the Mets have obviously adopted the "an outs and out" mentality, and there have been plenty of times in the last year or so when the Mets were in situations where a ground ball or a sac fly would have been beneficial, and the Mets struck out.  Drives you insane.  So, yes, generally putting the ball in play and making out has little benefit.  But you can be sure I'd rather the guy who slugs .500 with 100 strikeouts rather than the guy who slugs .500 with 200 strikeouts.  There's a benefit to putting the ball in play.
A couple different things going on here. You'd rather have a player who slugs .500 with 100 k's vs a player who slugs .500 with 200 k's. The guy with 100 k's is going to reach base between 30 and 50 more times than the guy with 200 k's. The question is, can the high K guy maintain that .500 slugging percentage if he makes an effort to reduce the strikeouts. I don't think he can. I think that, for some players, the cost of a high slugging percentage is the strikeouts.

Over a large sample, an out is an out. Obviously, there are certain situations where a ground ball out helps more than a strikeout. There are also certain situations where a ground ball out hurts a lot more than a strikeout. How often someone makes an out is infinitely more important than how they make their outs.
I'm not saying anyone should completely change their approach to cut their strikeouts in half, you're right, it would hurt them in the long run.  But there's situational baseball that seems to be ignored sometimes.  Choke up, but the ball in play with a guy on 3rd, 1 out, and a 1-2 count on you.  You can't strike out in that situation.  Guy on 2nd and nobody out, down 1 late?  If you have a chance to hit a ball hard on the right side, do it.  A home run isn't a complete necessity there, at the very least, move the runner to third.  I agree that Ks are just outs most of the time, but it seems that some players or teams take it too far.  There seems to be no difference in approach in situations where there probably should be.
I agree with most of that. Obviously there are situations where it is better to make an out in play vs striking out. But when someone like tec says this:
The K rate has risen because hitters have become greatly undisciplined over time due to the desire to swing for the fences.  The PED era, with the emphasis on the home run, is what created that mindset.  Now that home runs are down because PEDs have been curtailed, we still have the residual by-product of the excessive K's. Hopefully, the next generation of players will adapt accordingly and become more disciplined with their approaches at the plate.
He isn't saying that there are some situations that require a ball in play, he's saying that the overall approach is flawed, that strikeouts should be reduced across the board. 
5/14/2014 12:41 PM
When you have 2 strikes on you, you should probably change your approach at the plate at least a little bit.  Overall batting averages are slowly falling the last few years, probably because of what tec is saying.  The batter is better off trying to put the ball in play; you're not likely to do much damage when it comes to slugging with 2 strikes on you.
5/14/2014 12:44 PM
Posted by tecwrg on 5/14/2014 12:35:00 PM (view original):
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.

How many hitters go up to the plate with the intention of "trying for a ground ball out"?

Do you understand the concept of trying to make contact and put a ball in play?

Does every ball put in play result in an out?
I'm a little confused as to what you think I'm arguing here. I'll try to answer your questions but keep in mind that no one is arguing that a hit is the same as a strikeout.

1.) I don't know. I hope, for the most part, zero. Let's look at the situation. A player goes up to the plate with a guy on 2nd and one out. He strikes out. What do you think he should have done differently? If you say, "shorten up, make contact, and put the ball in play," my response would be, "doesn't that increase the likelihood that he will make an out because he won't hit the ball as hard?"

2.) I think all players are trying to make contact when they swing. I'm not arguing that they shouldn't. I'm arguing that they shouldn't change their approach in this situation merely for the sake of making contact. Weak contact here doesn't really help the situation.

3.) If a ball in play doesn't result in an out, the saying, "an out is an out," doesn't apply. 
5/14/2014 12:54 PM
Posted by bad_luck on 5/14/2014 12:44:00 PM (view original):
Posted by tecwrg on 5/14/2014 12:35:00 PM (view original):
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.

How many hitters go up to the plate with the intention of "trying for a ground ball out"?

Do you understand the concept of trying to make contact and put a ball in play?

Does every ball put in play result in an out?
I'm a little confused as to what you think I'm arguing here. I'll try to answer your questions but keep in mind that no one is arguing that a hit is the same as a strikeout.

1.) I don't know. I hope, for the most part, zero. Let's look at the situation. A player goes up to the plate with a guy on 2nd and one out. He strikes out. What do you think he should have done differently? If you say, "shorten up, make contact, and put the ball in play," my response would be, "doesn't that increase the likelihood that he will make an out because he won't hit the ball as hard?"

2.) I think all players are trying to make contact when they swing. I'm not arguing that they shouldn't. I'm arguing that they shouldn't change their approach in this situation merely for the sake of making contact. Weak contact here doesn't really help the situation.

3.) If a ball in play doesn't result in an out, the saying, "an out is an out," doesn't apply. 
With two strikes, in general, you want your batter to change their approach; shortening their swing to try to make contact and put the ball in play.  That's smart baseball.

There are going to be exceptions to this, based on personnel and game situation.  But the rule of thumb is, with two strikes, "just make contact".

5/14/2014 1:00 PM
Posted by tecwrg on 5/14/2014 12:54:00 PM (view original):
Posted by bad_luck on 5/14/2014 12:44:00 PM (view original):
Posted by tecwrg on 5/14/2014 12:35:00 PM (view original):
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.

How many hitters go up to the plate with the intention of "trying for a ground ball out"?

Do you understand the concept of trying to make contact and put a ball in play?

Does every ball put in play result in an out?
I'm a little confused as to what you think I'm arguing here. I'll try to answer your questions but keep in mind that no one is arguing that a hit is the same as a strikeout.

1.) I don't know. I hope, for the most part, zero. Let's look at the situation. A player goes up to the plate with a guy on 2nd and one out. He strikes out. What do you think he should have done differently? If you say, "shorten up, make contact, and put the ball in play," my response would be, "doesn't that increase the likelihood that he will make an out because he won't hit the ball as hard?"

2.) I think all players are trying to make contact when they swing. I'm not arguing that they shouldn't. I'm arguing that they shouldn't change their approach in this situation merely for the sake of making contact. Weak contact here doesn't really help the situation.

3.) If a ball in play doesn't result in an out, the saying, "an out is an out," doesn't apply. 
With two strikes, in general, you want your batter to change their approach; shortening their swing to try to make contact and put the ball in play.  That's smart baseball.

There are going to be exceptions to this, based on personnel and game situation.  But the rule of thumb is, with two strikes, "just make contact".

I agree that a player should alter his approach with two strikes. I think that includes expanding the zone, being willing to hit the ball the other way, etc. I don't agree that they should make contact at all costs. I think they should still swing hard. Again, an out is an out. Hitting a weak ground ball is, more often than not, going to result in an out. I'll trade the small possibility of a weak grounder finding a hole for the small possibility that they will drive the ball for an extra base hit.
5/14/2014 1:02 PM
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.

5/14/2014 1:08 PM
Posted by tecwrg on 5/14/2014 12:54:00 PM (view original):
Posted by bad_luck on 5/14/2014 12:44:00 PM (view original):
Posted by tecwrg on 5/14/2014 12:35:00 PM (view original):
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.

How many hitters go up to the plate with the intention of "trying for a ground ball out"?

Do you understand the concept of trying to make contact and put a ball in play?

Does every ball put in play result in an out?
I'm a little confused as to what you think I'm arguing here. I'll try to answer your questions but keep in mind that no one is arguing that a hit is the same as a strikeout.

1.) I don't know. I hope, for the most part, zero. Let's look at the situation. A player goes up to the plate with a guy on 2nd and one out. He strikes out. What do you think he should have done differently? If you say, "shorten up, make contact, and put the ball in play," my response would be, "doesn't that increase the likelihood that he will make an out because he won't hit the ball as hard?"

2.) I think all players are trying to make contact when they swing. I'm not arguing that they shouldn't. I'm arguing that they shouldn't change their approach in this situation merely for the sake of making contact. Weak contact here doesn't really help the situation.

3.) If a ball in play doesn't result in an out, the saying, "an out is an out," doesn't apply. 
With two strikes, in general, you want your batter to change their approach; shortening their swing to try to make contact and put the ball in play.  That's smart baseball.

There are going to be exceptions to this, based on personnel and game situation.  But the rule of thumb is, with two strikes, "just make contact".

This is a really outdated line of thinking.  The reason why most teams don't adhere to it much of the time is that modern statistical analysis has demonstrated virtually beyond doubt that in most situations it's wrong.  Just making contact isn't a particularly valuable thing to do.  What do you think a guy's batting average might be on a "just make contact" swing?  Let's be extremely generous and call it .200.  I doubt it's much over .150, if that, in reality.  But let's call it .200.  And a guy in protect mode might OBP what if he's hitting .200?  .225?  .240?  We'll give him .240 - again, extremely generous.  And his slugging?  Also .240 if he's lucky?  Not a lot of XBH on protection swings.

Now look at the dude who continues to take borderline pitches and swing hard at a mistake.  What's his average?  .150?  But he's taking some balls.  He probably OBPs close to that same .240.  And the kind of hitters who slug .500 in general are still going to slug .400+ with 2 strikes.  So really, who's more valuable in this situation?

5/14/2014 1:21 PM
Posted by bad_luck on 5/14/2014 1:00:00 PM (view original):
Posted by tecwrg on 5/14/2014 12:54:00 PM (view original):
Posted by bad_luck on 5/14/2014 12:44:00 PM (view original):
Posted by tecwrg on 5/14/2014 12:35:00 PM (view original):
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.

How many hitters go up to the plate with the intention of "trying for a ground ball out"?

Do you understand the concept of trying to make contact and put a ball in play?

Does every ball put in play result in an out?
I'm a little confused as to what you think I'm arguing here. I'll try to answer your questions but keep in mind that no one is arguing that a hit is the same as a strikeout.

1.) I don't know. I hope, for the most part, zero. Let's look at the situation. A player goes up to the plate with a guy on 2nd and one out. He strikes out. What do you think he should have done differently? If you say, "shorten up, make contact, and put the ball in play," my response would be, "doesn't that increase the likelihood that he will make an out because he won't hit the ball as hard?"

2.) I think all players are trying to make contact when they swing. I'm not arguing that they shouldn't. I'm arguing that they shouldn't change their approach in this situation merely for the sake of making contact. Weak contact here doesn't really help the situation.

3.) If a ball in play doesn't result in an out, the saying, "an out is an out," doesn't apply. 
With two strikes, in general, you want your batter to change their approach; shortening their swing to try to make contact and put the ball in play.  That's smart baseball.

There are going to be exceptions to this, based on personnel and game situation.  But the rule of thumb is, with two strikes, "just make contact".

I agree that a player should alter his approach with two strikes. I think that includes expanding the zone, being willing to hit the ball the other way, etc. I don't agree that they should make contact at all costs. I think they should still swing hard. Again, an out is an out. Hitting a weak ground ball is, more often than not, going to result in an out. I'll trade the small possibility of a weak grounder finding a hole for the small possibility that they will drive the ball for an extra base hit.
You should always swing hard. Always. But shorten your swing and choke up a touch with 2 strikes.  Change your approach a little bit.  Too often there are guys taking big long swings on 2-2 like they would on 2-0. This is a newer trend, and I think the "out is an out" mentality is at least partially to blame.
5/14/2014 1:27 PM
But the "out is an out" mentality is correct. Most of the time, your swing on 2-2 should be the same as 2-0 because, most of the time, the strikeout isn't any worse than any other out.
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