Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Sunday, March 17, 2013

BtBS: A Magic Number to Increase Your Odds of Winning

Joe Lemire from Sports Illustrated wrote a piece a while back detailing this very thing. He calls it baseball’s magic number but I like to look at it as the Rule of 39. [...]

Peterson asked the team’s analytics department to research the correlation of winning percentage with the number of batters faced in a game. That research, he said, found a tipping point between 38 and 39 batters faced.

—snip—

Here’s why: Since 1991 home teams that have faced fewer than 39 opposing batters in a nine-inning game—four full times through the lineup, plus three additional hitters—win roughly three-quarters of the time (74 percent) while teams that have faced 39 or more hitters have won only 31 percent of games.Moreover, in the last 22 seasons home teams that have faced 39 opposing hitters have won almost exactly 50 percent of their games—50.082 percent, to be more precise—making 39 the inflection point of winning or losing.

bobm Posted: March 17, 2013 at 02:12 AM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rick peterson

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. jacjacatk Posted: March 17, 2013 at 09:39 AM (#4389766)
I'm not sure how's it vaguely surprising that the fewer batters you face in a game the more likely you are to allow fewer runs and the more likely you are to win. The idea that they appear to want to draw from this is that teams could do better with starters pitching fewer innings and relievers pitching more since their performances would then be more likely to result in fewer batters faced. While that's probably true, it seems to assume that pitching resources are decidedly less finite than in real life, and ignores the 25-man roster limit. It might be interesting to see some team try to build a pitching staff out of 25 guys with options left and a AA/AAA affiliate a car drive away, but I suspect that even if it could be done productively it'd just end up with the roster management rules getting changed.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: March 17, 2013 at 09:54 AM (#4389770)
AL 2012 average batters per game = 38.2
NL 2012 average batters per game = 38.2
   3. McCoy Posted: March 17, 2013 at 10:16 AM (#4389777)


Bloody bastards.
   4. bookbook Posted: March 17, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4389817)
Isn't this just a fancy way of saying that OBP is the most important stat?
   5. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 17, 2013 at 11:50 AM (#4389845)
Kind of interesting. A standard game has 27 outs of course, so this suggests that an average game has 11 PAs that don't end in an out. Which seems ... rather low, actually. That's an OBP of .289, while the actual rate in the NL was .318 last year.
   6. OsunaSakata Posted: March 17, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4389859)
Kind of interesting. A standard game has 27 outs of course, so this suggests that an average game has 11 PAs that don't end in an out. Which seems ... rather low, actually. That's an OBP of .289, while the actual rate in the NL was .318 last year.


Some of the outs wouldn't appear in that calculation of OBP because they would have come from double plays, caught stealing, pick-offs and outs on the bases immediately after a hit.
   7. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: March 17, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4389862)
Some of the outs wouldn't appear in that calculation of OBP because they would have come from double plays, caught stealing, pick-offs and outs on the bases immediately after a hit.


Plus sacrifice bunts which don't count against OBP

edit. And not only that, but outs on the bases mean another PA ends up on base. Of course, that can also be balanced by reaching on an error.
   8. cardsfanboy Posted: March 17, 2013 at 12:21 PM (#4389874)
Reading the article, it's another way for someone to put up the goal of having starting pitchers go only three innings(one time through the lineup) This is something I used to like, but over the years I have grown to not like the concept, and to think it wouldn't work.

Of course I think this is another of those causation = correlation messes that people try to interpret as having meaning. Factor in that you can probably get similar results by looking at runs allowed and win percentage and I'm not sure this article really offers much that is new or isn't plainly obvious.

   9. John Northey Posted: March 17, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4389888)
Of course, the WBC and spring training both give examples of limiting starting pitchers to a far shorter leash. Are runs up or down in those situations?
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: March 17, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4389892)
Of course, the WBC and spring training both give examples of limiting starting pitchers to a far shorter leash. Are runs up or down in those situations?


Not really comparable though, in spring training they aren't trying to win and often times are looking at just working one or two pitches. And the WBC doesn't really have the same level of competition that MLB has.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: March 17, 2013 at 04:46 PM (#4390030)
The big thing y'all missed on 38 PA per game and OBP is that often the home team only makes 24 outs. If for no other reason than that I missed it and probably should have tried to calculate it as PA per 9 innings which is probably closer to 39-40.

In fact I'd wager that teams have outstanding winning percentages in games in which they make fewer than 27 outs while they almost always lose when they give up fewer than 27 outs.

cfb #8 ... I think that was the point of #1 and #2. If you have allowed fewer than 38 PA per game, you have probably allowed fewer runs than average so of course the win % goes up. It would make no sense at all to use relievers more often to reduce the number of batters faced -- you'd do it to reduce the number of runs scored.

Batters faced per game (or 9 innings) is of course very closely related to WHIP. AL average WHIP*9 + 27 gives 38.77 BF per 9 unadjusted for DP, CS, HBP (I think), etc. It does include SH though.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: March 17, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4390060)
On BF, it would be interesting to see whether (after controlling for pitcher quality) RA goes up after 38 batters (or wherever). I don't see any particular reason for that to be the case -- it's one of the reasons to have relievers -- but at least then it might serve as a magic number of some sort.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
BFFB
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - April 2015
(15 - 2:03am, Apr 02)
Last: Squash

NewsblogThe Phillies are selling liquor and wine now, so fans can drown their sorrows
(19 - 2:01am, Apr 02)
Last: Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman

NewsblogJohn Axford's son recovering from Rattlesnake bite
(11 - 1:58am, Apr 02)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogNeyer: Maps? Just good clean fun.
(31 - 1:56am, Apr 02)
Last: OCF

NewsblogWashington Post: Jenkins: Lessons From the School of Hardwood
(8 - 1:33am, Apr 02)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogOTP - March 2015: You’re out, tobacco: Bill would ban products at all California baseball venues
(4026 - 1:32am, Apr 02)
Last: Shredder

NewsblogSean Doolittle's girlfriend will buy your tickets to A's Pride Night
(90 - 1:31am, Apr 02)
Last: Ken Cloude Atlas (Voxter)

NewsblogMarcus Semien Is a Shortstop Now | FanGraphs Baseball
(2 - 12:47am, Apr 02)
Last: Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB)

NewsblogWhere’s the Beef: Can the Red Sox Survive Their Crap Starting Pitching?
(24 - 12:32am, Apr 02)
Last: ptodd

NewsblogNeyer: Ortiz isn't a bad guy -- or a Hall of Famer
(32 - 12:21am, Apr 02)
Last: bobm

NewsblogChicago Cubs Kris Bryant and the service-time game | FOX Sports
(205 - 12:21am, Apr 02)
Last: Spahn Insane

NewsblogAdd beards, afros, mustaches to players on Baseball Reference
(4 - 11:52pm, Apr 01)
Last: Pat Rapper's Delight

NewsblogGrantland (Keri): 2015 NL East Preview
(20 - 10:30pm, Apr 01)
Last: AJMcCringleberry

NewsblogThe Common Law Origins of the Infield Fly Rule
(4 - 10:08pm, Apr 01)
Last: Greg K

NewsblogMacnow: Phillies' Ryne Sandberg is wrong man for wrong team
(38 - 9:40pm, Apr 01)
Last: Moeball

Page rendered in 0.2093 seconds
48 querie(s) executed