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Saturday, April 26, 2014

BtBS: Scoring from first on a double: easier said than Dunn?

On Thursday, April 17th during a game between the Red Sox and White Sox, Alejandro De Aza doubled down the right field line with Adam Dunn on first and the game tied 1-1. Daniel Nava got to the ball quickly, fired a bullet to Dustin Pedroia who threw the relay home to beat Dunn by about two steps: [...]

It made me wonder how often runners on first score when a double is hit. Is it as cut-and-dried as most analysts think?

bobm Posted: April 26, 2014 at 05:23 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rbi double

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   1. cardsfanboy Posted: April 26, 2014 at 11:14 PM (#4695089)
   2. cardsfanboy Posted: April 26, 2014 at 11:31 PM (#4695098)
The article is pretty short and has a surprising(to me) conclusion, that less than 50% of people score from first on a double. The article also points out that he's going to come up with a more detailed study using the reams of new data that has become available over the past 10 years.

It's a nice start. Looking forward to the next installment on this article.
   3. smileyy Posted: April 26, 2014 at 11:45 PM (#4695106)
I've always had this notion in my head that you're more likely to score from second on a single than you are to score from first on a double, but I could be wrong.
   4. Greg K Posted: April 26, 2014 at 11:49 PM (#4695110)
I've always had this notion in my head that you're more likely to score from second on a single than you are to score from first on a double, but I could be wrong.

Yeah, just my rough sense from being a baseball fan:

A guy not scoring from second on a single usually elicits an explanation in my head (poor runner, hard single right at the outfielder, had to hold up to see if the ball drops)

A guy scoring from first on a double similarly elicits an explanation in my head (ball rattled around for a long time, quite a good runner)
   5. cardsfanboy Posted: April 27, 2014 at 12:43 AM (#4695157)
I've always had this notion in my head that you're more likely to score from second on a single than you are to score from first on a double, but I could be wrong.


I don't see how you could be wrong, I've seen average or even slow runners score from second on balls hit more or less right to the outfielder.

Looking at 2013 splits

In 2013...there were 5269 times there was a runner on second when a single was hit, they scored 3134 times... 59.4% of the time. Versus a runner on first and a double was hit 2476 times and scored 1007 times for a percentage of 40.6%.... Going back twenty three years to 1990 and you get 4920 situations in which in which a runner was on second and scored 3097 times, for a rate of 62.9% vs 2033 runners on first when a double was hit scoring 851 times for a percentage of 41.8%.

I wouldn't be surprised at all to see that is probably the normal rates historically.
   6. Bhaakon Posted: April 27, 2014 at 01:14 AM (#4695168)
Even a fast runner has to pause on a double hit in the air to be sure it won't be caught, while they can usually run hard from the get go on a single.

They're also held closer at 1B than 2B.
   7. Dr. Vaux Posted: April 27, 2014 at 02:06 AM (#4695172)
It also depends where the double is hit. Right field is optimal, I guess, but it's also depth, whether it's a line drive that the runner can immediately see is a hit or whether it's a fly ball, how long it takes to get the ball back in, and stuff like that. It's never been considered something that should be expected. Whether there are two outs makes a huge difference, too.
   8. cardsfanboy Posted: April 27, 2014 at 03:43 AM (#4695177)
It also depends where the double is hit. Right field is optimal, I guess, but it's also depth, whether it's a line drive that the runner can immediately see is a hit or whether it's a fly ball, how long it takes to get the ball back in, and stuff like that. It's never been considered something that should be expected. Whether there are two outs makes a huge difference, too.


The article does examine where it is hit, but doesn't include out situation.

The preliminary studies show that centerfield is optimum. Obviously it really depends on distance from home plate that the ball travels... more than just saying "it was left/right/center".
   9. Adam G Posted: April 27, 2014 at 09:36 AM (#4695208)
Related to #6... would be interesting to see situations with less than 2 outs and situations with 2 outs. Basically to see if waiting to see if it is caught has a big effect or not.
   10. Canker Soriano Posted: April 27, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4695215)
You also need to eliminate ground rule doubles from the equation (not sure how easy that is to do), since most of the time the umps would stop the runner at 3rd whether or not he would have scored. They likely drag the percentage down a bit, but not enough to bring it up to the level of scoring on a single would be.
   11. bobm Posted: April 27, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4695245)
All of MLB: 989 Doubles in 2013, less than 2 outs and With runners on 1-- : 326 RBI - 33%

All of MLB: 544 Doubles in 2013, 2 Outs and With runners on 1-- : 263 RBI - 48%
   12. bobm Posted: April 27, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4695250)
All of MLB: 1256 Singles in 2013, less than 2 outs and With runners on -2- : 523 RBI - 42%

All of MLB: 887 Singles in 2013, 2 Outs and With runners on -2- : 673 RBI - 76%
   13. Walt Davis Posted: April 27, 2014 at 06:16 PM (#4695461)
I thought this was pretty well-known, certainly by "analysts". It's been a while since I'd seen the numbers and I never remember them but what gets me every time I do is not about the doubles but is about that runners score from 2nd on a single a lot less than my brain thinks they do. The numbers in #12 are particularly surprising -- substantially less than half the time with less than 2 outs. (I wonder if that has shifted a bit over time with the shift towards HR and away from SB, you'd see fewer risks on the basepaths too I'd think.)

But I've always considered scoring from 1st on a double less than a 50/50 proposition.
   14. bobm Posted: April 27, 2014 at 07:09 PM (#4695489)
All of MLB: 1234 Singles in 1985, less than 2 outs and With runners on -2- : 589 RBI - 48%

All of MLB: 1137 Singles in 1990, less than 2 outs and With runners on -2- : 508 RBI - 45%

All of MLB: 1163 Singles in 1995, less than 2 outs and With runners on -2- : 542 RBI - 47%

All of MLB: 1335 Singles in 2000, less than 2 outs and With runners on -2- : 572 RBI - 43%

All of MLB: 1362 Singles in 2005, less than 2 outs and With runners on -2- : 559 RBI - 41%

All of MLB: 1320 Singles in 2010, less than 2 outs and With runners on -2- : 522 RBI - 40%
   15. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 27, 2014 at 07:17 PM (#4695496)
All of MLB: 1234 Singles in 1985, less than 2 outs and With runners on -2- : 589 RBI - 48%

All of MLB: 1137 Singles in 1990, less than 2 outs and With runners on -2- : 508 RBI - 45%

All of MLB: 1163 Singles in 1995, less than 2 outs and With runners on -2- : 542 RBI - 47%

All of MLB: 1335 Singles in 2000, less than 2 outs and With runners on -2- : 572 RBI - 43%

All of MLB: 1362 Singles in 2005, less than 2 outs and With runners on -2- : 559 RBI - 41%

All of MLB: 1320 Singles in 2010, less than 2 outs and With runners on -2- : 522 RBI - 40%


So what factors of these are responsible: more cautious baserunning, slower baserunners (due to changing skills teams are selecting for), better/more cautious third-base coaching, changing surfaces, stronger OF arms, harder-hit singles? What else would be a contributing factor.
   16. BDC Posted: April 27, 2014 at 07:56 PM (#4695506)
more cautious baserunning

My hypothesis would be that that's it, thanks to higher scoring environments. Why risk an out on the bases when the chance of a hit behind you is correspondingly greater?

But it's just a hypothesis. I do remember that in the 1980s announcers would talk about "stand-up doubles," for example, as opposed to sliding doubles. By 2005 it seemed to me that all doubles were stand-up. Runners cut way back on trying to stretch singles into doubles or doubles into triples; there was less and less percentage in doing so.
   17. Bhaakon Posted: April 27, 2014 at 08:27 PM (#4695514)
So what factors of these are responsible: more cautious baserunning, slower baserunners (due to changing skills teams are selecting for), better/more cautious third-base coaching, changing surfaces, stronger OF arms, harder-hit singles? What else would be a contributing factor.


Fewer hit and runs?

I'm not sure if they're tracked at all, but it certainly seems like they've virtually disappeared over the last 25 years or so.
   18. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 27, 2014 at 08:28 PM (#4695515)


Fewer hit and runs?


Good call.
   19. Canker Soriano Posted: April 27, 2014 at 10:36 PM (#4695535)
I think there are fewer hit and runs, but I'm not sure it's a big issue here - you don't see a lot of hit and runs with only a runner at 2nd base. I think if you looked at the rate of runners going 1st to 3rd on a single, the decrease in the hit and run would have a relatively bigger impact.

Given the factors in the list, I'd think changing surfaces would have made more runs score over time - 25 years ago you still had a lot of Astroturf stadiums, which meant the balls got to the outfielders faster and with truer hops to pick up and throw. The move to more grass should make getting to the ball and fielding it cleanly more difficult.

My vote would be another one for the run environment, in the same way that we saw fewer stolen bases. It's not worth it to get guys thrown out on the bases when everyone in the lineup is capable of hitting for extra bases.
   20. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 27, 2014 at 10:47 PM (#4695537)
Given the factors in the list, I'd think changing surfaces would have made more runs score over time - 25 years ago you still had a lot of Astroturf stadiums, which meant the balls got to the outfielders faster and with truer hops to pick up and throw.


It's a give and take. More turf also means more balls sneak through than with grass infields (and grass infields probably yield more infield singles, which almost never get guys home from second). And singles that aren't hit directly to the outfielder may put them in a worse position from which to make a strong throw home (moving more side to side than toward home). Probably a wash, all things considered.

But yes, the reduced hit and runs would figure to drop the number of runners on first scoring on doubles, rather than men on second guys scoring on singles.

   21. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 28, 2014 at 08:04 AM (#4695613)
What about the ballparks themselves? A large percentage of the ballparks have changed since the early 1990s (consider: Safeco opened in 1999 - making it only the 15th "newest" ballpark). The dimensions and surfaces of these ballparks must make some difference in the kind of data we're looking at in this thread.

Also: I'd love to see similar data by ballpark. For example, whether there are two outs or not, if there is a runner on 2nd, and a ground ball single is hit to LF, it is pretty unlikely that all but the fastest runner is going to try to score. On the other hand, there are some singles to LF that are obviously not going to be caught, or that take more time to get to the left fielder - like those that hit off the wall on the fly.

Differing outfield dimensions must vary these percentages a fair amount, right?
   22. Moeball Posted: April 28, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4695839)
A couple of weekends ago the Padres were playing the Giants at Petco, two outs and bases loaded (X Nady was on first) with Chase Headley up. Headley smoked one down the right field line into the corner - I was watching the flight of the ball and the right fielder, who also bobbled the ball instead of picking it up cleanly. I looked to check the runners and wasn't surprised to see Headley cruising into third base. This had me thinking the scorer was going to call this a triple at best, scoring all 3 runners, or at worst a double and an error on the right fielder. What I was surprised to see was Nady getting thrown out at the plate to end the inning. He should have scored easily on the play - with two outs, all the runners should have been in high gear, plus, with the right fielder bobbling the ball, Nady shouldn't have had any difficulty scoring. I looked up at the monitor to watch the replay and it looked like Nady had been at full speed going from first to third but then went into cruise control going home, and he appeared to be surprised that there was a throw coming to the plate at all. Padres wound up losing the game 4-3 so the run that Nady took off the scoreboard with either 1)lack of hustle or 2)physical inability to run full speed from first to home (not sure which one is worse?)kept them from having a chance to tie up the game.
   23. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 28, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4695868)
Padres wound up losing the game 4-3 so the run that Nady took off the scoreboard with either 1)lack of hustle or 2)physical inability to run full speed from first to home (not sure which one is worse?)kept them from having a chance to tie up the game.


Worse, it kept them from having the go-ahead run on third.

   24. alilisd Posted: April 28, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4696000)
Runners cut way back on trying to stretch singles into doubles or doubles into triples; there was less and less percentage in doing so.


Doesn't this assume runners are factoring this into their play though? I doubt many players have any idea of the math behind this sort of thinking. If there's any sort of thinking going on by a player, I would imagine it more likely to be, "I'm not going to try to stretch this. I've got my hit, I'm sure as heck not going to take a chance on pulling a muscle, or getting hurt on the slide." Injuries put them at jeopardy of losing millions.
   25. Esmailyn Gonzalez Sr. Posted: April 28, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4696084)
X Nady was on first

Oh come on. That could only be Xavier Nady, who had to have retired 5 years ago.
Right?
Right??
   26. Moeball Posted: April 28, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4696085)
Worse, it kept them from having the go-ahead run on third.


Good point. You know, this is one case where the “little things” about base running and execution – the kinds of things that don’t usually show up in traditional stats - really can make a difference in winning or losing games.

I also think that while those percentages may seem pretty consistent about how often players score from second on singles or score from first on doubles - wouldn't you think it varies from team to team as well?

Maybe my memory is faulty, but I don't seem to remember the Padres as being very good at scoring from first on a double, as in the example referenced above...
   27. dr. scott Posted: April 28, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4696103)
A couple of weekends ago the Padres were playing the Giants at Petco, two outs and bases loaded (X Nady was on first)


Did not know Nady was back with the padres... I did a double-take and had to reread the first part to make sure it didn't say a decade ago.

to the topic at hand.. I'm sure this is all due to better defense now that no one has to field in the tornado conditions of Candlestick.

edit:whoa... coke to 25
   28. bobm Posted: April 29, 2014 at 01:08 AM (#4696376)
[21] What about the ballparks themselves? A large percentage of the ballparks have changed since the early 1990s (consider: Safeco opened in 1999 - making it only the 15th "newest" ballpark). The dimensions and surfaces of these ballparks must make some difference in the kind of data we're looking at in this thread.

Selected ballparks:

All of MLB: 273 Singles in 2009-2013, less than 2 outs, at Coors Fld and With runners on -2- : 139 RBI : 51%
All of MLB: 264 Singles in 2009-2013, less than 2 outs, at KauffmanStad and With runners on -2- 116 RBI : 44%
All of MLB: 220 Singles in 2009-2013, less than 2 outs, at CitizensBank and With runners on -2- 94 RBI : 43%
All of MLB: 254 Singles in 2009-2013, less than 2 outs, at Fenway Pk and With runners on -2- 106 RBI : 42%
All of MLB: 212 Singles in 2009-2013, less than 2 outs, at Comerica Pk and With runners on -2- : 88 RBI : 42%
All of MLB: 223 Singles in 2009-2013, less than 2 outs, at PNC Pk and With runners on -2- : 90 RBI : 40%
All of MLB: 245 Singles in 2009-2013, less than 2 outs, at MinuteMaidPk and With runners on -2- 88 RBI : 36%

Also: I'd love to see similar data by ballpark. For example, whether there are two outs or not, if there is a runner on 2nd, and a ground ball single is hit to LF, it is pretty unlikely that all but the fastest runner is going to try to score. On the other hand, there are some singles to LF that are obviously not going to be caught, or that take more time to get to the left fielder - like those that hit off the wall on the fly.

That many cuts begins to reduce the sample size greatly. Here's 10 years at KauffmanStad:

All of MLB: 490 Singles in 2004-2013, less than 2 outs, at KauffmanStad and With runners on -2-

Batted Ball Type
      Line Drive 227
     Ground Ball 210
        Fly Ball  32
Bunt Ground Ball  18
         Pop Fly   3


Fldr
CF 153
LF 137
RF 120
SS  22
2B  18
3B  13
1B  12
 P  10
 C   5


Locat
 8 91
 9 76
 7 73
 6 63
78 41
34 37
 4 34
56 25
89 24
 5 11
 1  6
 3  4
25  2
 2  2
23  1

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