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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sac Bunting Summary and Redux | MGL on Baseball

MGL discusses the bunt in his unique style.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 19, 2017 at 08:38 AM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: analysis, bunting, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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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. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 19, 2017 at 11:36 AM (#5438124)
It never makes a difference. The defense controls the WE of the bunt attempt.

Why wouldn’t they? If either hitting away or bunting had a higher RE or WE than the other, the offense would always choose the option which yielded the higher value, right? But then, the defense could just play further in or further back to take away that advantage. The result is always an equilibrium where the WE from hitting and from bunting is exactly the same. There are two exceptions which I’ll get to in a few more paragraphs when I sum everything up. They will hopefully make perfect sense to you.


Interesting, but he goes way too far here.

No way does the defense have enough information about the probabilities or the right defensive positions so that they can position themselves such that hitting away and bunting alway have the same rune xpectancy.

Everyone is guessing in this situation. It could well be that the defense or the offense is systematically acting in a suboptimal way.
   2. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 19, 2017 at 12:15 PM (#5438156)
Once again, a great combination of misused numbers, false assumptions, and poor grammar. With a healthy dash of smugness.

   3. BrianBrianson Posted: April 19, 2017 at 12:25 PM (#5438162)
Meh, he's overly optimistic about how closely teams find the equilibrium, but it's within the uncertainty of what the hitter knows, so I suspect it comes out in the wash.
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2017 at 01:40 PM (#5438218)
I agree with his point, but his tone is way over the top for a relatively respected writer/analyst in his field. Some schlub like me can get away with writing that over the top, because only 3 people would ever read it, but a guy like MGL, who has major league experience, a book, a well respected website should probably tone it down a bit.

As to the actual article. I have to agree, far too many times when we have had the sacrifice discussion or articles written on it, (see most recent Law article on it...which is what I think threw MGL into a temper tantrum) the arguer only looks at two possibilities and analyzes from there. And as the Law thread shows that if you don't look at the quality of the current batter and the next couple of batters, that WE/RE matrix doesn't do you a bit of good anyway, even if it was only possible for the one outcome(man advance, out by hitter)

I do agree with the people on this thread that there is no way the defense is sure to be doing the optimal strategy.


Still outside of the attitude, and the false assumption I do like what he's trying to do here.

My favorite paragraph of the article was
So, right off the bat, a sac bunt attempt is MUCH better overall than an out and runner advance. That’s because there are so many ROE and singles (which are of course partially balanced with bad results like an out and no runner advance.) But all together it is .836. Still not as good as the original .906 though. So a bunt ATTEMPT is still bad, right? Not so fast. The .906 is for all batters combined – the league average batter. Most bunts are attempted by weaker batters. The normal (no bunt) RE for a weak batter with a runner on first and no outs is closer to the mid .800’s. So right away you can see how the bunt attempt, on average, yields around the same RE as not bunting, AS IT SHOULD!


   5. Batman Posted: April 19, 2017 at 01:52 PM (#5438228)
I misread the headline and thought it would be about Gary Redus. It's never about Gary Redus.
   6. cmd600 Posted: April 19, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5438251)
Interesting, but he goes way too far here.

No way does the defense have enough information about the probabilities or the right defensive positions so that they can position themselves such that hitting away and bunting alway have the same rune xpectancy.

Everyone is guessing in this situation. It could well be that the defense or the offense is systematically acting in a suboptimal way.


Absolutely agree. It reminds me of a quote from Michael Lewis' most recent book:

"He had listened to an American economist talk about how so-and-so was stupid and so-and-so was a fool, and said, "All your economic models are premised on people being smart and rational, and yet all the people you know are idiots."

MGL may be right in that there is a perfect defensive equilibrium point. I'm not exactly confident in saying that, as defenses seem to usually line up to give themselves the best chance to get the out at first, which is exactly what the offense wants them to do, rather than line up in the best way to prevent the offense from advancing the runners. But constantly coming out of one side of his mouth is how everyone is an idiot, and now out of the other side is the idea that they're smart enough that we should just assume they've figured this out perfectly.
   7. villageidiom Posted: April 19, 2017 at 02:24 PM (#5438261)
I misread the headline and thought it would be about Gary Redus. It's never about Gary Redus.

Here you go: Gary Redus Returns To Coaching In Home State With Biscuits

   8. Rally Posted: April 19, 2017 at 03:06 PM (#5438307)
I misread the headline and thought it would be about Gary Redus. It's never about Gary Redus.


While in high school chemistry I learned about Redox reactions. And so Gary Redox was created for MicroLeague. He played 2 years and hit .224. Not the greatest career for an academic creation. That would be from reading Hawthorne the day after Roger Clemens struck out 20 Seattle Mariners. The result - Roger Chillingworth - won 421 games over 25 seasons.
   9. GGC for Sale Posted: April 19, 2017 at 03:58 PM (#5438363)
AROM, I love reading about your league.
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2017 at 04:11 PM (#5438376)
wrong thread
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2017 at 04:16 PM (#5438383)
wrong thread
   12. Rally Posted: April 19, 2017 at 04:24 PM (#5438390)
GGC, I figure most people would have no reason to care. But if you're interested, here's where I keep league info:
http://www.baseballprojection.com/apba/home.htm
   13. GGC for Sale Posted: April 19, 2017 at 04:26 PM (#5438392)
Bo Duke!
   14. PreservedFish Posted: April 19, 2017 at 04:34 PM (#5438402)
AROM, I love reading about your league.


Me too. Want more.
   15. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 19, 2017 at 07:27 PM (#5438517)
I was in college when I bought the Strat board game based on the 1988 season. Made two expansion teams out of the fringe player cards and added them to the National League, then managed one of them through many games although not quite an entire season.

Gary Redus's AL card was on that team. He hit for the cycle in one game and stole 6 bases in another.
   16. Tom T Posted: April 19, 2017 at 11:19 PM (#5438667)
but a guy like MGL, who has major league experience, a book, a well respected website should probably tone it down a bit.


New here, huh?

Okay, guess that only means you haven't been here since Mike Piazza randomly dropped in to say hello, Randall was griping about pants, and the Admiral was regularly shouting warnings at us....
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2017 at 11:54 PM (#5438675)

New here, huh?


Yep, I got lost looking for a website on airplane etiquette and whether or not you should lean your seat back.

   18. Walt Davis Posted: April 20, 2017 at 12:26 AM (#5438684)
I got lost looking for a website on airplane etiquette and whether or not you should lean your seat back.

Is MGL sitting behind you?
   19. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 20, 2017 at 02:01 AM (#5438708)
Okay, guess that only means you haven't been here since Mike Piazza randomly dropped in to say hello, Randall was griping about pants, and the Admiral was regularly shouting warnings at us....

Albert Belle (and Chris Truby) feels neglected.
   20. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: April 20, 2017 at 06:20 AM (#5438715)
tina doesn't appreciate you snubbing Colin Farrell.
   21. Bote Man Posted: April 20, 2017 at 10:52 AM (#5438841)
Gawd, this thread is BEGGING for a particular post from Chris. PLEASE!
   22. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 20, 2017 at 11:01 AM (#5438852)
Randall was griping about pants

Smitty*
   23. Rally Posted: April 20, 2017 at 11:16 AM (#5438861)
Are you the biggest idiot ever?
   24. dlf Posted: April 20, 2017 at 11:19 AM (#5438865)
Craig's (first) wife still is waiting for him to come upstairs.
   25. Batman Posted: April 20, 2017 at 11:33 AM (#5438877)
I'd trade the Petco thread for John Mabry.
   26. Rally Posted: April 20, 2017 at 11:41 AM (#5438881)
Behold!
   27. Rally Posted: April 20, 2017 at 11:42 AM (#5438882)
I DO MISS TOLAXOR
   28. GGC for Sale Posted: April 20, 2017 at 11:44 AM (#5438884)
AROM, how did Mike Krukow and Atlee Hamaker wind up in your league? I don't see the Giants in the 1987 standings. I would guess that in 1987 was when your league veered off into a parallel universe, but it isn't clear.
   29. HAL9000 Posted: April 20, 2017 at 12:08 PM (#5438913)
Are you the biggest idiot ever?

I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all, I think, that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.
   30. GGC for Sale Posted: April 20, 2017 at 12:50 PM (#5438944)
I love rutabaga... and James Pidutti.
   31. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: April 20, 2017 at 01:25 PM (#5438993)
I DO MISS TOLAXOR


Me too.

TOLAXOR rocks, a lot.
   32. Mike Emeigh Posted: April 20, 2017 at 01:29 PM (#5439005)
I'm not exactly confident in saying that, as defenses seem to usually line up to give themselves the best chance to get the out at first, which is exactly what the offense wants them to do, rather than line up in the best way to prevent the offense from advancing the runners.


The Cubs, at least, seem to be bucking the trend here with their Rizzo-as-2B alignment.

-- MWE
   33. Rally Posted: April 20, 2017 at 01:45 PM (#5439028)
AROM, how did Mike Krukow and Atlee Hamaker wind up in your league? I don't see the Giants in the 1987 standings. I would guess that in 1987 was when your league veered off into a parallel universe, but it isn't clear.


At the beginning we only kept track of stats for our teams, but played parts of our schedule against actual MLB teams. I think it was 89 or 90 when we had enough teams to play our own schedule. We didn't keep track of what the MLB teams did against us for the most part, or simulate the games they would have had to play against each other.

At the end of the year the Miami Stars, LA Shockers, etc. would have a won-lost record from the games we played, and if they were in the same division as say the Mets, the Mets end up with whatever real baseball win total.

It gets even weirder for the 1987 season - this was the first year having the Microleague software to play games, and we had some historical teams on the disk. So for part of our team schedules we would go on a time travel road trip. Sand Storm, who set a record that stood for a while of 324 strikeouts. He was a lefthanded Autobot with a ridiculous slider. 18 of those strikeouts came in one of the inter-time games against the 1927 Yankees. Ruth and Gehrig had no idea what to do with that slider.

   34. villageidiom Posted: April 20, 2017 at 01:57 PM (#5439037)
We finally know the sequence! All you need to do is invoke fake Mike Piazza, Randal, Admiral Ackbar, Albert Belle, Chris Truby, a bearded wizard, TOLAXOR, and HAL 9000, and it will summon Mike Emeigh.

Cool. The site is always better with more Mike Emeigh.
   35. Bote Man Posted: April 20, 2017 at 05:03 PM (#5439238)
All you need to do is invoke fake Mike Piazza, Randal, Admiral Ackbar, Albert Belle, Chris Truby, a bearded wizard, TOLAXOR, and HAL 9000,

and Mike Crudale.
   36. Mike Emeigh Posted: April 20, 2017 at 05:17 PM (#5439246)
The site is always better with more Mike Emeigh.


Thank you.

My schedule these days is such that I don't have much time to be on the site, except for those rare weeks (like this one) when I am working remotely from home.

In this particular case, FWIW, the main factor in the sequence was MGL.

-- MWE
   37. GGC for Sale Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:12 PM (#5439870)
AROM, were you aware of the Cosmic Baseball Association when you started this?
   38. Rally Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:29 PM (#5439883)
I started the league in 1982 when I was 11, so no. That was 5 years before I had a computer. The original game was dice, house rules, and action figures to mark the players on the bases.

Looking at the site, Cosmic only predates my league by 1 year. My standings only go back to 1987, but the games go back to 1982 and some of the player careers stretch even earlier than that - we decided some of the older guys should have a track record and made them up.
   39. villageidiom Posted: April 21, 2017 at 03:54 PM (#5439898)
In this particular case, FWIW, the main factor in the sequence was MGL.
Don't make us invoke Randal again.
   40. TOLAXOR Posted: June 07, 2017 at 03:11 PM (#5470927)
I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!
   41. villageidiom Posted: June 07, 2017 at 03:28 PM (#5470947)
I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!

DUDE! Where you been?
   42. A triple short of the cycle Posted: June 07, 2017 at 05:45 PM (#5471105)
I read the piece, and I am confused as to what constitutes a bunt "attempt"...
1. Getting the bunt down (obviously)
2. Striking out while offering to bunt (I think)
3. Failing to get the bunt down (one or more pitches offered at), abandoning the bunt to swing away to any other outcome (???)
4. Squaring up to bunt but not offering (one or more pitches taken), abandoning the bunt to swing away to any other outcome (???)
Do 3 and 4 count?
Help, please.
   43. cardsfanboy Posted: June 07, 2017 at 09:15 PM (#5471206)
Do 3 and 4 count?


No.

A bunt attempt is based upon an action that results in a final play of the batter while bunting... so the strikeout and ball in plays are bunt attempts, but bunt attempts that prolong the plate appearance are not quantified in these situations.

which makes perfect sense of course, we are measuring results, and a pulled back bunt is just a ball or a strike. and on top of that we don't really know how many of those "bunt attempts" are fake bunt attempts.
   44. Smitty* Posted: June 07, 2017 at 09:18 PM (#5471208)
Really Tom T? Really? You've now joined Biscuit Pants on my enemies list.

Thanks BLB for setting him straight.

Oh, and don't you hate pants?
   45. A triple short of the cycle Posted: June 07, 2017 at 11:24 PM (#5471315)
Thanks CFB.
   46. bfan Posted: June 08, 2017 at 09:31 AM (#5471436)
bunt attempts that prolong the plate appearance are not quantified in these situations.


I understand and agree that the way he calculates/looks at things, a missed bunt is not a bunt attempt. But if it is a strike, then somehow wouldn't that have to be factored into the efficacy of a bunt, because the expected success of a batter hitting with an 0-0 count vs. an 0-1 count is different, correct? That would make the bunt attempt somewhat less valuable, because 1 possible outcome is 1 more strike than you had before.

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