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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Carlos Beltran: Bunt controversy ‘is stupid’

And the one number that trickles down to players is…freakin’ RISP.

Beltran, the club’s leading home-run hitter, was bunting at best for a hit in a game the Cardinals trailed 3-1. But at worst, he wanted to move the runners to second and third, which he did.

Manager Mike Matheny had been circumspect about the play afterward, but Beltran confirmed Tuesday that it was his idea.

And not a bad idea, he thought.

“I did it because coming behind me is one of the best hitters (Allen Craig) with guys in scoring position and we’re losing by two runs. It was an opportunity to get the guys over,” Beltran said.

“People can judge it in different ways. But what is the controversy? Is there controversy because it was a bunt and I did my job? If I hit into a double play and I don’t get the guys over, I didn’t do my job. I think I did the right thing. ...

“To me, (the controversy) is stupid.”

Matheny said, “I obviously respect, which I should, what a guy like Carlos has been able to do his whole career. And, once you start trying to take instincts away from guys, you’re asking for trouble. He’s a pro and he’s thinking about the team.”

But, Matheny later agreed that “a three-run homer would have been just fine.”

...Matheny said, “I think there’s a lot of people who would rather see the bunt completely eliminated from the game. I’m not one of them. I also don’t think you should give away outs.”

Repoz Posted: August 07, 2013 at 10:33 AM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals

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   1. Shibal Posted: August 07, 2013 at 10:47 AM (#4515075)
I have no problem with a guy like Beltran bunting for a hit if he thinks the defense is giving it to him.
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: August 07, 2013 at 10:52 AM (#4515080)
I have no problem with a guy like Beltran bunting for a hit if he thinks the defense is giving it to him.


Exactly. If he thinks there's a chance he reaches (and it said elsewhere the third baseman was playing back), then the upside gain certainly justifies the likely downside outcome (moving the tying run into scoring position).

Also, I'd tend to give Carlos Beltran the benefit of the doubt on questions of baseball decision-making.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 07, 2013 at 11:14 AM (#4515098)
I agree with Beltran and I also agree with Matheny and find his comment very refreshing. I don't really see what the "controversy" is.
   4. Balkroth Posted: August 07, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4515168)
I think the controversy was because everyone thought Matheny had called the bunt until it was cleared up that Beltran did it on his own when talked to yesterday.
   5. Eddo Posted: August 07, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4515169)
I have no problem with a guy like Beltran bunting for a hit if he thinks the defense is giving it to him.

I wouldn't disagree, but from the excerpt:
"I did it because coming behind me is one of the best hitters (Allen Craig) with guys in scoring position and we're losing by two runs. It was an opportunity to get the guys over," Beltran said.
   6. bigglou115 Posted: August 07, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4515216)
Yeah, when your Carlos Beltran moving guys over for Allen Craig shouldn't really be your primary function in an at bat. Not to say Craig isn't a good hitter, but you've got the skills to not have to give up the out. That's the controversy. If the thought was really to get on base first and move them over second I don't think there's a problem.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: August 07, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4515480)
Concur. If there was a reasonable chance at a hit (or RoE) then it's a perfectly OK play. If the goal was a sacrifice, then surely not a good play.

I would have a lot more faith though in the younger Beltran beating out a bunt but then I suppose it's more likely the 3B is playing in there for a younger Beltran.

b-r gives Beltran credit for 58 bunts in his career. 18 were SH and he got 27 hits and 3 RoE on the other 40. So even counting the sacs, that's a 500 OBP. I certainly ain't gonna tell the man he was wrong.

Beltran's career BABIPs:

GB 249
FB 092
LD 754
B 675

Clearly he should do nothing but bunt and hit line drives. :-)

I know, you're saying "but Walt, if he bunted all the time, they'd just bring the IF in." Sure, you tell the 3B to stand 60 feet away and say "don't worry, he only smokes line drives 10% of the time."

For comparison, those numbers are nearly identical to Bonds:

214
095
741
571

Apparently it is also helpful to hit HRs. What a funny game this is.
   8. bobm Posted: August 07, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4515492)
Beltran used to do this with the Mets more than one would expect, eg:

Manuel says little of bunt attempt

Interim manager not discussing Beltran's play in detail

By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com | 06/22/08 2:49 PM ET

DENVER -- Jerry Manuel said nothing about the execution, nor about the effort. But when Carlos Beltran attempted to bunt with two men on base and no outs on Saturday, the Mets interim manager had to question his judgment.

"I kind of leave that up to him," Manuel said. "There will be a time when we'll discuss that. And with the other Carlos swinging the bat OK, I don't mind that play."

Beltran bunted foul, then ultimately grounded into a fielder's choice, before the "other Carlos" -- Delgado, by his family name -- hit into an inning-ending double play.

Had Beltran laid down the bunt successfully in that fourth inning, there would have been two men in scoring position for Delgado, who is hitting .241 on the season and slugging .417. Those are his lowest marks since becoming a full-time starter, and Beltran, in contrast, has been among the Mets' more productive players to date this season.

Which made his decision to bunt all the more debatable.

"Anytime you get a player that thinks team first, you have to applaud it," Manuel said. "But then again, you have to make sure it's in the right interest."


http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080622&content_id=2982040&vkey=news_nym&c_id=nym&fext;=.jsp
   9. KJOK Posted: August 07, 2013 at 06:18 PM (#4515508)
There's controversy because there are actually 3 different issues:

1. The play in question - with the 3rd baseman back, certainly it's NOT a bad play to try to bunt, as the worst likely result (besides foul ball) would be moving both runners up and staying out of the DP, with the possibility of loading the bases.

2. The second issue though was Matheny refusing to talk about it after the game. Supposedly Matheny was trying to 'protect' Beltran, but really since it's not a bad play, Matheny should have been 'protecting' Beltran by explaining why it wasn't a bad play.

3. The third, and biggest issue, is that Matheny loves to bunt, even early in the game, and while the Cardinals are near the top of the league in bunt attempts, they are near the bottom of the league in success. Add to that the fact they have one of the best offenses in the league, and all this bunting IS a controversy.

   10. bobm Posted: August 07, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4515513)
All of MLB: 967 Balls in Play in 2003-2013, Bunt Ground Ball or Bunt Popup, As CF, As LF or As RF and With runners on 12- 

303 Batters

Juan Pierre 29
Ichiro Suzuki 15
David DeJesus 14
Scott Podsednik 14
Willy Taveras 14
Carlos Beltran 13
Coco Crisp 13
Michael Bourn 12
Corey Patterson 12
Carl Crawford 10
Drew Stubbs 10
Brett Gardner 10
Endy Chavez 10
Aaron Rowand 10
Nate McLouth 10
Melky Cabrera 10
Dexter Fowler 10
   11. musial6 Posted: August 07, 2013 at 09:46 PM (#4515646)

3. The third, and biggest issue, is that Matheny loves to bunt, even early in the game, and while the Cardinals are near the top of the league in bunt attempts, they are near the bottom of the league in success. Add to that the fact they have one of the best offenses in the league, and all this bunting IS a controversy.


The controversy is that Matheny has infused this culture of "giving away outs" into the team to the point where some of their best hitters have been brainwashed into this defeatist mindset.

They were down 2 runs, with runners on 1st and 2nd, with nobody out in the 7th and the team leader in HRs (by far) at the plate.

You allow Descalso or Kozma to bunt there, but not the #3 hitter in the lineup. It's bad baseball to give away outs and it's bad baseball to pass on a chance to hit a 3-run bomb that would have given you the lead.

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