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Keith Law Newsbeat

Monday, April 17, 2017

Keith Law: Let’s put the sac bunt to bed

IF YOU’VE SPENT any time on Twitter, you’ve probably come across fans and analysts criticizing manager decisions to bunt, from the band Puig Destroyer’s crude but effective song “Stop F—-ing Bunting” to my own term #smrtbaseball, an allusion to a Simpsons episode in which Homer calls himself smart, spells it S-M-R-T and then sets the house on fire. Here’s the main reason for all of this vitriol: In the majority of situations when it’s used, the sacrifice bunt is a terribly stupid play.

Let’s highlight some specific scenarios when you might see the bunt applied. With a man on first base and no outs, an MLB team’s probability of scoring at least one run in the inning in 2015 was 0.499, or roughly 50-50. Pushing that runner up to second in exchange for an out reduced those odds to 0.447, or just under 45 percent. So not only does the bunt reduce the number of runs the team could expect to score in that inning (from 0.84 to 0.65) but it reduces the team’s odds of scoring any runs at all. Remind me again what the point of the bunt was?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 17, 2017 at 04:50 PM | 66 comment(s)
  Beats: book, keith law, sacrifice bunt

 

 

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