Every opportunity that doesn’t work out feels wasted. And in large part I think it’s because people don’t really know what normal is. Of course teams can’t convert every opportunity, but, it’s just moving a runner up 90 feet, right? It sounds like it should be easy. In a way, it’s just like bunting. You feel like everyone should be able to do it, but it’s surprisingly challenging to execute. It’s helpful to look at the league-wide numbers. It’s the only way to establish the proper context.


Used to be, baseball games featured more balls in play. And that might well be a good thing by itself. So many of those batted balls, however, were effectively useless. And it’s the useless batted balls that have been replaced by the strikeouts, in a sense. When there’s a runner on third and less than two out, a hitter in 2018 will find it challenging to drive the guy home. It’s been challenging all along.

Source: Jeff Sullivan, FanGraphs

Another win for facts over narrative!

3 comments on “Scoring and not scoring the runner from third

  • Name

    I’m gonna fill in the blanks for this guy. A true fail is about 37.6% of the time, a true success about 48% of the time, and neutral/mixed outcome about 14.4% of the time.

    1512 PA with guy at 3rd, lt 2 outs.
    733 runs converted.
    340 hits – most likely each hit lead to the runner at 3rd scoring, but maybe a small percentage don’t.
    228 walks or HBP, but 34 were with the bases loaded. So 194 non-scoring non-out walks. Also 11 Sac bunts (most likely pitchers)
    13 DP with 0 outs, which scored the run at 3rd but at the cost of 2 outs.
    203 official sac flies.
    That leaves about 149 grounders that bring the run in.

    So the breakdown –
    Good outcome: 48%
    Hit : 22.5%
    Sac fly: 13.4%
    productive grounder: 9.9%
    Bases-loaded walk: 2.2%

    Neutral outcome: 14.4%
    Walk: 12.8%
    sac bunt: 0.7%
    DP with 0 outs: 0.9%

    Bad outcome: 37.6%
    DP with 1 out, 4.3%
    Out and no run score: 33.2%

    • Name

      Correction on the numbers, i missed IBB. Also in parenthesis are rates from 10 years ago in 2008 as a comparison

      Good outcome: 48.5% (51.5%)
      Hit : 22.5% (24.5%)
      Sac fly: 13.4% (12.8%)
      Bases-loaded walk: 2.2%(1.5%)
      productive out: 10.4% (12.7%)

      Neutral outcome: 16.6%(15.4%)
      Walk: 15% (13.2%)
      sac bunt: 0.7% (0.6%)
      DP with 0 outs: 0.9% (1.6%)

      Bad outcome: 34.9% (33.1%)
      Strikeout: 20.6% (15%)
      DP with 1 out, 4.3% (4.3%)
      unproductive out: 10% (13.8%)

      It’s worth noting that the bad weather in April has suppressed offense so far – so i expect the good percentage to increase (and bad to decrease) as we go along in the season. But the main premise of the article that strikeouts are replacing unproductive outs has lots of merit. Also, productive outs are also being taken up by more walks too

      • TexasGusCC

        Name, you’re a beast.

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