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Thursday, July 09, 2020

To bunt, or not? How to handle new rule in extras

2. For the hitting team: Is a sacrifice bunt a good idea?
Well, that depends. Is a runner on third with one out better than a runner on second with no outs? Who’s hitting and pitching? And, most importantly, are you the home team or the road team?

If you’re the home team in a tied extra-inning game, one run is enough to win, no matter how you get it. But if you’re the road team, you can’t simply assume one run will be all you’ll need—you still need to defend that lead in the bottom of the inning, and larger leads are obviously better. And if you’re the home team down by multiple runs, you really don’t want to give up one of your three outs.

All of this makes home vs. road an important difference; think of this like how it works in overtime in football, where the team that gets the ball second already knows if it needs to match a field goal or force a touchdown, and can then plan accordingly. Strategically, it’s a big deal, so we’ll have to break this out separately.

Either way, no one, it should go without saying, wants this rule to drastically increase the rate of sac bunts in extra innings.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 09, 2020 at 10:18 AM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: extra innings rule

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: July 09, 2020 at 07:09 PM (#5961977)
They also discuss intentionally walking the first batter. It would seem to me this has to help if you're the road team in a tie game -- the only runner that matters is the one on 2nd and you set up forces/DPs. The win matrix though says, if anything, the WP goes down slightly. That doesn't get into the detail of who's up and the article mentions you might want to do this if Trout is leading off. I'm pretty sure I'd do it 100% of the time if Trout leads off and Pujols is on-deck. (That will rarely come up of course.)
   2. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 09, 2020 at 07:25 PM (#5961983)
A walk and a successful bunt gives you 2-3 and one out rather than 3 and one out. the sac fly still scores one, but some singles now score two.
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: July 09, 2020 at 07:40 PM (#5961985)
Either way, no one, it should go without saying, wants this rule to drastically increase the rate of sac bunts in extra innings.


I'd gladly take drastically increased sac bunts in extra innings. Particularly since the alternative is pretty much just more strikeouts.

I'd take increased sac bunts in the first nine.

A walk and a successful bunt gives you 2-3 and one out rather than 3 and one out. the sac fly still scores one, but some singles now score two.


But Walt was talking about the road team when it's still tied. There's little downside between the two scenarios for the visiting team.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: July 09, 2020 at 09:19 PM (#5962007)
There's little downside between the two scenarios for the visiting team.

What I don't get is why there's any downside at all (per the article, walking the first batter drops their chances from 19% to 18%). Apparently you lose something that hurts more than setting up force plays helps. I don't imagine setting up force plays helps all that much but I can't think of anything you lose. I suppose in the "average" context, the event probabilities are constant regardless of whether it's -2- or 12- and walks/HBPs to the "first" batter are much more damaging then.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: July 09, 2020 at 10:13 PM (#5962014)
What I don't get is why there's any downside at all (per the article, walking the first batter drops their chances from 19% to 18%).


In second and third, one out, two more walks scores a run, it doesn't with man on third, one out. I'm not saying that doesn't make the IBB a better play (it depends on a lot of factors), but there's definitely a downside to putting a runner on base intentionally.

   6. Ron J Posted: July 09, 2020 at 10:57 PM (#5962026)
What I don't get is why there's any downside at all (per the article, walking the first batter drops their chances from 19% to 18%).


That should be 18%ish vs 19%ish. The notion that the win percent numbers are precise enough that 18% vs 19% is meaningful is simply absurd.
   7. flournoy Posted: July 09, 2020 at 11:06 PM (#5962031)
I wonder what Kenny Rogers would have to say about the efficacy of intentional walks in this scenario.
   8. Rob_Wood Posted: July 10, 2020 at 03:23 AM (#5962062)
Another key question is if Retrosheet play-by-play procedures can handle out-of-order "designated runners".
   9. John DiFool2 Posted: July 10, 2020 at 12:05 PM (#5962098)
I wonder what Kenny Rogers would have to say about the efficacy of intentional walks in this scenario.


Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to run?
   10. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 10, 2020 at 12:11 PM (#5962102)

That should be 18%ish vs 19%ish. The notion that the win percent numbers are precise enough that 18% vs 19% is meaningful is simply absurd.


Since, as Walt points out, those numbers change dramatically based on who the hitters are (along with a dozen other factors), the win percentage numbers can and should be ignored.
   11. Ron J Posted: July 10, 2020 at 01:57 PM (#5962129)
#10 Even with perfect information -- and we never truly know what the real talent levels of everybody is you can still only get to ish.

I think game state analysis (done right -- cue rant about base for an out bunt analysis) is useful for identifying truly stupid decisions. But those really don't happen often.
   12. TJ Posted: July 10, 2020 at 02:34 PM (#5962143)
I would guess the frequency of bunting in extras will be exactly the same as it is on bunting in the late innings of a tie game and will depend all the variables already identified earlier.
   13. Karl from NY Posted: July 10, 2020 at 03:58 PM (#5962161)
Apparently you lose something that hurts more than setting up force plays helps.

You lose your margin of error for an unintentional walk. If you give up a regular BB after an IBB, you push a runner to 3B.
   14. Rally Posted: July 10, 2020 at 04:26 PM (#5962168)
Haven’t tried to work out the numbers, but I guess if the leadoff batter has a 20 point WOBA edge on the 2 guy, you walk him.

To late now but i wish they just did away with extra innings instead of this ####. Or maybe have the teams play the 10th, call it a tie if nobody wins by then. In playoffs, then go back to the regular rules.

And no making up tie games either. If some team has a 35-25 record and loses the division to a 35-24-1 team, then so be it.
   15. Karl from NY Posted: July 10, 2020 at 08:20 PM (#5962203)
Also, walking the first batter gives up your open base availability to walk one of the following batters instead. If Trout is the second batter, then you should probably take your chances with the first guy so you can walk Trout second.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: July 13, 2020 at 03:26 AM (#5962520)
Neither I nor the authors said 19 vs 18 was meaningful. I asked why it would go down at all. (FWIW, over any sizable chunk of baseball history, you will have a rather large number of -2- with 0 out situations and 12- with 0 out situations so the numbers should be rather precise.) My question was why they should go down at all. Possibly it's the additional walks thing -- as I hinted, in the "average batter" situation, it's almost by definition that you can't help yourself with a IBB. It may also be that in your standard 12-, 0 out situation in history, the pitcher has put those runners on unintentionally and that is probably an indicator of poor pitching. In this case of course, the pitcher had nothing to do with the runner on 2nd and just waved the next guy to first.

And yes I assumed it was obvious you don't walk people in front of Trout. But the standard table assumes Trout doesn't exist.
   17. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: July 13, 2020 at 09:45 AM (#5962546)
Yeah, tied in the bottom of the 10th, I don't think I would intentionally walk the leadoff man unless he was a world class hitter and/or the next man up was a double play machine. I sure as hell would instruct the pitcher to nibble at the corners and not worry about it too much if you walk the guy, certainly.

I don't expect to see a lot of bunting. Most players are bad at it in the Launch Angle Era, and there's nonzero risk of the runner getting thrown out at third on a bad bunt.
   18. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 13, 2020 at 10:05 AM (#5962547)
Another key question is if Retrosheet play-by-play procedures can handle out-of-order "designated runners".


As currently written? They cannot. I've been included in some e-mail exchanges between Dave Smith and various others (I've been included because I'm on the Retrosheet board; I don't really have anything helpful to contribute to the conversation). This rule is universally loathed by those who have expressed an opinion on the matter in these exchanges (to be fair, Dave opened the exchange ripping on the rule so anybody who might like the rule is could be reluctant to start a fight about it) and will require re-writing some of Retrosheet's programs to basically allow one to arbitrarily add "ghost" runners whenever one feels like it. The technical discussion has mostly been about how general to make the addition - any bases; should we allow for arbitrarily changing the number of outs, too; what exactly do we call the runner.
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: July 13, 2020 at 10:07 AM (#5962548)
what exactly do we call the runner.


Steve. He should always be called Steve.
   20. PreservedFish Posted: July 13, 2020 at 10:07 AM (#5962549)
If you have a man on third and one out, who is the ideal hitter to have at the plate? Is it an Astudillo type that never strikes out? Or is it Mike Trout?
   21. PreservedFish Posted: July 13, 2020 at 10:14 AM (#5962551)
I strongly disapprove of the the term "ghost runner" in this case. For me, a "ghost runner" has a very specific meaning - it's a phantom runner (eg, one with no corporeal existence), mostly used in games (usually in childhood) where there just aren't enough players to actually put them on the bases. Or in games like Wiffleball that don't always even have a physical baserunning component, but do need to account for baserunners somehow. Ghost runners advance or are put out automatically according to agreed upon rules. They don't exist. An actual man running the bases is not a ghost runner.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: July 13, 2020 at 10:15 AM (#5962552)
If you have a man on third and one out, who is the ideal hitter to have at the plate? Is it an Astudillo type that never strikes out? Or is it Mike Trout?


If it's the top of the 10th, Mike Trout. If it's the bottom and you're tied, I can see how the high-contact hitter provides the best odds of winning (particularly since top or bottom of the frame, Trout's getting a free pass every time).

   23. SoSH U at work Posted: July 13, 2020 at 10:16 AM (#5962553)
I strongly disapprove of the the term "ghost runner" in this case. For me, a "ghost runner" has a very specific meaning - it's a phantom runner (eg, one with no corporeal existence), mostly used in games (usually in childhood) where there just aren't enough players to actually put them on the bases. Or in games like Wiffleball that don't always even have a physical baserunning component, but do need to account for baserunners somehow. Ghost runners advance or are put out automatically according to agreed upon rules. They don't exist. An actual man running the bases is not a ghost runner.


Yes, he's the opposite of a ghost runner.
   24. Ron J Posted: July 13, 2020 at 10:22 AM (#5962556)
#17 Hence my comment about analysis that starts by assuming a base for an out. It's always a mistake to bunt with a position player who is a bad bunter. It's rarely a bad play to bunt with a position player who is reasonably fast and is a capable bunter.
   25. PreservedFish Posted: July 13, 2020 at 10:27 AM (#5962557)
Yes, he's the opposite of a ghost runner.


"Zombie runner"? He was out, but still he is doomed to run the bases, compelled home by malignant forces beyond our understanding. The unout.
   26. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 13, 2020 at 10:32 AM (#5962558)
That's superb, PF.
   27. Ron J Posted: July 13, 2020 at 10:56 AM (#5962562)
Why can't I upvote #25?
   28. PreservedFish Posted: July 13, 2020 at 11:06 AM (#5962564)
Maybe we should try and popularize Zombie Runner. Not only is it colorful and cute, but if it were to enter common currency, it would help undermine the very concept, because it's such an unflattering term.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: July 13, 2020 at 11:10 AM (#5962565)
Count me in. Zombie Runner it shall be.

   30. Rally Posted: July 13, 2020 at 05:17 PM (#5962730)
Me too. #25 is best thing I’ve read in a while.
   31. Rally Posted: July 13, 2020 at 05:19 PM (#5962732)
That which was not safe can never be put out.
   32. Hysterical & Useless Posted: July 13, 2020 at 07:35 PM (#5962751)
anybody who might like the rule is

...not a baseball fan.

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