Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

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

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Let’s Crown the 2019 Pinch Hitting Champs and Chumps

On September 4, 2019, Ian Miller made his major league debut. With his Twins down 6-0 with only two innings left to play, he replaced Max Kepler to give Kepler a break in the field. Miller’s spot came up eighth in the batting order; he wasn’t guaranteed his first major league plate appearance, but the odds looked good.

But a funny thing happened on the way to his batting debut. Nelson Cruz led off the top of the eighth with a single. Eddie Rosario followed with a home run. The Red Sox went through two pitchers and frittered away a third of their lead — a 6-2 deficit felt less than insurmountable against a shaky Boston team now deep into its bullpen.

So when Miller’s turn to bat came up, with one out and the bases empty in the top of the ninth, Rocco Baldelli made, by some criteria, the best pinch hitting decision of 2019. Rather than have the left-handed Miller face southpaw Darwinzon Hernandez, he brought in Mitch Garver. In addition to being right-handed, Garver was one of the best hitters in baseball last year, full stop. The decision worked: Garver walked, though it didn’t end up mattering — Brandon Workman eventually induced a double play to escape a bases-loaded jam.

Let’s back up. Did I just say the best pinch hitting decision of the year? I did indeed, and I built a framework to get to that conclusion. Here’s how it works: I took each player in baseball’s 2019 single-season line, as well as estimated platoon splits based on regressing their career line, to create rough talent levels for a batter facing each handedness of pitcher (and vice versa from pitchers). From there, I used a lightly modified odds ratio to predict the outcome of the plate appearance that would have pitted the replaced hitter against a given pitcher.

A consideration of the art of pinch hitting under current conditions.


QLE Posted: April 08, 2020 at 01:15 AM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pinch hitting

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. puck Posted: April 08, 2020 at 09:08 PM (#5937739)
The range was +4.3 runs over the season to -1.5. This doesn't include pinch hitting for pitchers. He used a pinch hitter penalty, which I did not dig far enough to discover.

The Rangers had the +4.3 and it sounds like much of that was due to pinch hitting for Jeff Mathis.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.



<< Back to main


All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF


Thanks to
Stormy JE
for his generous support.


You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogEmpty Stadium Sports Will Be Really Weird
(4880 - 8:32am, Jun 05)
Last: Ron J

NewsblogReigning CL MVP Hayato Sakamoto one of two Giants players to test positive for COVID-19
(14 - 7:49am, Jun 05)
Last: Sunday silence

NewsblogOT Soccer Thread - Spring 2020
(249 - 6:54am, Jun 05)
Last: Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging

NewsblogOT – NBA CoronaThread 2020
(3253 - 2:08am, Jun 05)
Last: Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1927 Results
(4 - 9:25pm, Jun 04)
Last: Qufini

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-4-2020
(16 - 6:51pm, Jun 04)
Last: The Mighty Quintana

NewsblogChris Archer out until 2021 due to thoracic outlet surgery
(33 - 6:49pm, Jun 04)
Last: Walt Davis

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1928 Discussion
(1 - 4:59pm, Jun 04)
Last: DL from MN

NewsblogOT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (June 2020)
(28 - 4:38pm, Jun 04)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogThe Athletic: How baseball’s players hatched a plan for a wild barnstorming tour in 1995
(6 - 2:27pm, Jun 04)
Last: Adam Starblind

Hall of Merit2021 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(291 - 9:24pm, Jun 03)
Last: Dr. Chaleeko

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-3-2020
(14 - 9:07pm, Jun 03)
Last: The Honorable Ardo

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1927 Discussion
(9 - 8:58pm, Jun 03)
Last: Cblau

NewsblogSources: MLB mulls shorter season, full prorated salaries for players
(33 - 6:50pm, Jun 03)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogRoyals won’t lay off or furlough baseball operations employees despite MLB uncertainty
(3 - 5:15pm, Jun 03)
Last: Zach


Page rendered in 0.2348 seconds
46 querie(s) executed