Bunt to Win, July ’13 Edition #smrtbaseball #bunttowin

In July, there were a total of 113 non-pitcher, non-squeeze sacrifice bunts (~25/wk).

– 8 had a WPA/RE24 > 0 (5 were due to fielding errors, 3 were FC), 95 had a WPA/RE24 <= 0 That means that ~93% of those sacrifice bunts HURT the team, or did nothing to help the team win while giving up an out. - 28 (25%) were in the first 3 innings of the game (33 in inn. 4-6). - 54 (47%) were by the batter in the 1st or 2nd spot in the batting order. - 46 (41%) were 1-- --/0 ; 4 were 1-- --/1 (*) - 28 (25%) came with the bunting team behind (5) or ahead (23) by 2 or more runs. Ahead by 2 or more runs. 23 times. STOP BUNTING. - 10 (~9%) came via pinch-hitter. 3 were by pitchers in the 13th/14th innings, which I guess we can look past. But 7 times a manager said "You, get a bat, go give an out away." Amazing. (*) – The 4 1- -/1 bunts were more likely bunt for hit attempts, but we and the Play Index aren’t perfect. Notes: - If your defense of a sac bunt includes the point “But the defense might make an error!”, you’re right. If a 4.4% chance is a big part of your defense of the decision, you’re probably in the wrong. - The Yankees (of course) led the month (again!) with 8, the Rockies followed with 7 (as did the Royals). The Yanks taking the "too many homers" meme a bit too seriously, at this point. - 3 teams did not have a sac bunt attempt all month (Seattle, Atlanta, and the White Sox). Arizona, Oakland, and the Cubs all with just 1. Glimmers of hope, they. - #smrtbaseball #bunttowin favorites Bruce Bochy and Dusty Baker called for 6 and 5 saccys, "respectfully". SMRT-est bunt of the week: 7/26, Rangers at Indians. Leyons Martin, 6-8 (T8) | 12--/1. -.29 RE24. I don't think Ron Washington is more than league average in terms of calling for the sac bunt, but it's starting to look like he has a knack for calling them at the worst possible times. Texas has had (or tied for) the more RE/24-negative sac bunts every month this year. And yet, Ron Washington makes over $1 million per year. That’s the way baseball go, indeed.

Bunt to Win: June ’13 Edition #smrtbaseball #bunttowin

In June, there were a total of 134 non-pitcher, non-squeeze sacrifice bunts (~30/wk).

– 9 had a WPA/RE24 > 0 (all were due to fielding errors), 125 had a WPA/RE24 <= 0 That means that not quite 95% of those sacrifice bunts HURT the team, or did nothing to help the team win while giving up an out. - 26 (19%) were in the first 3 innings of the game (19 in inn. 4-6). - 59 (44%) were by the batter in the 1st or 2nd spot in the batting order.\ - 67 (50%) were 1- -/0 ; 3 were 1- -/1 (*) - 7 (5.2%) came with the bunting team behind (1) or ahead (6) by 2 or more runs. This is a substantial 'improvement' over last month, at least. (*) – The 3 1- -/1 bunts were more likely bunt for hit attempts, but we and the Play Index aren’t perfect. Notes: - The Yankees (of course) led the month with 10, the Rockies followed with 9. The Yanks tired of being told they hit too many homers. - Every team had at least 2 sac bunts. Surprising to us, the Padres only had 2. Bud learning? - #smrtbaseball #bunttowin favorites Bruce Bochy and Dusty Baker called for 5 saccys each. - If your defense of a sac bunt includes the point "But the defense might make an error!", you're right. If a 6.7% chance is a big part of your defense, you're probably in the wrong. SMRT-est bunt of the week: 6/20, As at Rangers. Elvis Andrus, 1-2 (B6) | 1- -/0. -.22 RE24. The astonishing thing is that Andrus had the crown for April and May, too. In May, it was the 3rd inning, and in April it was bunting in the first inning. Ron Washington makes over $1 million per year. That’s the way baseball go, indeed. Okay, that's a smidge unfair. There were 9 saccys with a RE24 of -.22, we just chose Elvis's because he'd been the man in April and May. If we were being totally fair, we'd give it to Eric Young Jr. On consecutive days (6/8 and 6/9), he bunted as the 2nd man the Rockies sent to the plate. Two days. In a row. In the 1st inning. At home. In Coors Field. There is not enough *facepalm* in the world...

Bunt To Win, May ’13 Edition

In May, there were a total of 113 non-pitcher, non-squeeze sacrifice bunts (~22/wk).

– 6 had a WPA/RE24 > 0, 107 had a WPA/RE24 <= 0 That means that almost 95% of those sacrifice bunts HURT the team, or did nothing to help the team win while giving up an out. - 26 (23%) were in the first 3 innings of the game (21 in inn. 4-6). - 42 (37.2%) were by the batter in the 1st or 2nd spot in the batting order (For the second month running, the 3rd spot is the only one w/ 0 bunts, so that’s something) - 56 (56.1%) were 1–/0 ; 2 were 1–/1 (*) - 16 (14.2%) came with the bunting team behind (3) or ahead (13) by 2 or more runs (*) – The 2 1–/1 bunts were more likely bunt for hit attempts, but we and the Play Index aren’t perfect. Notes: - The Astros led the month with 10, the Dodgers followed with 9 each. (Maybe this is why there's an east coast bias!). - Those 2 teams are a combined 24 games under .500 - There was exactly 1 team with no sacrifice bunts in May. Big points to whoever guesses which team. It wouldn't have been in our top 10 guesses. SMRT-est bunt of the week: 5/27, Rangers at Diamondbacks. Elvis Andrus, 1-2 (T3) | -2-/1. -.31 RE24. The astonishing thing is that Andrus had the crown for April, too. Last month it was bunting in the first inning, this month it was only the 3rd but that's cold comfort. Ron Washington makes over $1 million per year. That’s the way baseball go, indeed.

Bunt To Win: April ’13 Edition

In April, there were a total of 139 non-pitcher, non-squeeze sacrifice bunts (~35/wk).

– 11 had a WPA/RE24 > 0, 128 had a WPA/RE24 <= 0 That means that over 90% of those sacrifice bunts HURT the team, or did nothing to help the team win while giving up an out. - 20 (14.4%) were in the first 3 innings of the game (31 in inn. 4-6). - 61 (43.9%) were by the batter in the 1st or 2nd spot in the batting order (3rd spot is the only one w/ 0 bunts, so that's something) - 78 (56.1%) were 1--/0 ; 3 were 1--/1 (*) - 37 (26.6%) came with the bunting team behind (6) or ahead (31) by 2 or more runs (**) (*) - The 3 1--/1 bunts were more likely bunt for hit attempts, but we and the Play Index aren't perfect. (**) - There was 1 bunt with the bunting team behind by 3 runs. The Mariners were the smrt team, and to drive the point home they did this in the bottom of the 6th inning. Outs? We don't need no stinking outs! Notes: - The Padres led the month with 10, the Angels and Mariners followed with 9 each. (AL West baseball: It's FAN-tastic!). - Those 3 teams are a combined 18 games under .500 - The White Sox have just 1 sac bunt on the month. A beacon in the darkness! SMRT-est bunt of the week: 4/9, Rangers at Rays. Elvis Andrus, 0-0 (B1) | 1--/0. -.23 RE24. Honestly, we feel that unless it is part of a hostage negotiation situation, if you have your 2nd batter of the game bunt you should be forced to forfeit the game. That's the way baseball go, indeed.

The week in Sac Bunts: 6/25 – 7/1

Last week there were a total of 41 non-pitcher, non-squeeze bunts (continuing a rough weekly pace of 40-45/per).

– 13 had a WPA/RE > 0 ; 28 had a WPA/RE24 <= 0 That means over 68% of attempts HURT the team, or did nothing to help the team win. - 5 (12.2%) were in the first 3 innings of the game (21 in inn. 4-6) - 21 (51.2%) came from the first 3 lineup spots - 17 (41.5%) were 1--/0 ; 4 were 1--/1 - 16 (39.0%) came with the bunting team behind (5) or ahead (11) by 2 or more runs. Gems: - 6/27, Nationals @ Rockies. Dexter Fowler (quickly becoming a SMRT All Str), 9-1(B5) | 1--/0. For emphasis: DOWN 8 runs, bottom of the 5th. Again, DOWN 8 RUNS. And he bunted the runner into a FC out at 2B. As bad as bunting when DOWN 8 RUNS is, if you do it you MUST advance the runner. Again: DOWN 8 RUNS.

– “Best” of the week(s): 6/27, Brewers @ Reds. Nyjer Morgan, 5-2(T5) | 12-/0. -.58 RE24, because when you sac bunt the runner on 2B into an out at 3B you’re just lighting outs on fire. Good jorb!

The Week (or two) in Sac Bunts: 6/11-6/24

Over the past 2 weeks, there were a total of 93 non-pitcher, non-squeeze bunts (continuing a rough weekly pace of 40-45/per).

– 22 had a WPA/RE > 0 ; 71 had a WPA/RE24 <= 0 That means over 76% of attempts HURT the team, or did nothing to help the team win. - 30 (32.3%) were in the first 3 innings of the game (19 in inn. 4-6) - 43 (46.2%) came from the first 3 lineup spots - 42 (45.1%) were 1--/0 ; 4 were 1--/1 - 26 (28.0%) came with the bunting team behind (10) or ahead (16) by 2 or more runs. Gems: - 6/16, Rockies @ Tigers. Dexter Fowler, 0-4(T8) | 1--/1. Fowler pops out to 3B. Long-form: Down *4* runs with a man on 1B but with only 5 outs left, Dexter Fowler decides to bunt. Even if you think he's bunting for a hit, you have to admit this is a particularly stupid decision. We'll go out on a limb and say that if you only have one more out than runs your team is behind, you should not be bunting. Period. - "Best" of the week(s): 6/22, Dodgers @ Angels. The Angels' Bobby Wilson, ahead 5-6(B6) | -2-/0. The cherry on top? He bunted Aybar into an out at 3B and then the Angels went on to score 2 runs anyway, on a Trout BB and Hunter 2-RBI single. A lovely -.58 RE in a relatively low-leverage (LI 1.05) situation? Good jorb!

The Week in Sac Bunts: 6/4-6/10 (2012)

Last week, there were a total of 45 non-pitcher bunts. Removing the 4 squeeze bunts (*), of the remaining 40…

– 9 had a WPA/RE24 > 0 ; 9 had a WPA = 0/RE < 0 ; 22 had a WPA/RE24 < 0
That means over 75% of sac bunt attempts did nothing to help the team win, and 55% HURT them.
– 10 were in the first 3 innings of the game (12 in inn. 4-6)
– 11 came from the first 3 lineup spots
– 19 were 1–/0 ; 3 were 1–/1
– 10 came with the bunting team behind (7) or ahead (3) by 2 or more runs
Down 2 or more seems like the best time to trade an out for a single run.

The “best” bunt of the week: 6/10/12, Mets @ Yankees. Nick Swisher, 0-3(B2) | 12-/0. Swisher bunts the first pitch he sees and Jon Niese throws out the lead runner at 3B. This is a terrible bunt on so many levels, we don’t even… Someone should tear that page out of the binder.

#bunttowin folks, #bunttowin

(*) Friday’s 10th inning walk-off squeeze (squeeze bunts are good, remember?) by Wilson Valdez pinch-hitting for Sam LeCure against Phil Coke that won the game for the Reds being the obvious best of the bunch.

Smrt baseball’s favorite target: The Sac Bunt

Sac bunts are stupid. Think of it this way: If a player said to you “Man, I love purposely trying to make an out just to move the guy(s) on base up 90 feet!” you’d say “Shut up, Juan Pierre.”

Seriously. The very idea, when said aloud, explains how stupid it is. (*)

Now, we’re talking specifically about sacrifice bunts. Squeeze bunts are fine (smart, even!), because trading an out for a run is much better than trading an out for any other 90′ stretch of dirt. Bunting for a hit is okay, I guess, but the players who are most likely to do this are the players most likely to see a defense prepared for it so, not great baseball.

We’re not fooled by claims that the runner can beat out the throw or the defense could make an error and thus sac bunts are fine. If those things happen, you’ve FAILED to do what you set out to (make an out). Just because you fail into a better situation doesn’t change the fact that you failed.

We’d have to think on it more to be sure, but it’s possible that the only thing more hated than a sac bunt is a pitcher who just can’t help but walk a guy trying to sac bunt. Free tip: If they want to make outs, help them.

(*) – Yes, there are exceptions to every rule. There ARE situations in which a sac bunt has a positive expectation. Those situations are rare, and they certainly don’t happen in the first, say, 6 innings of a game. Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is embarrassed and trying to save face.