Truth on sacrifice flies

“As an aside, sacrifice flies don’t count as a turn at bat and therefore don’t negatively affect a hitter’s batting average, but they’re almost always just regular fly outs with the singular and fortunate (from the batter’s perspective) distinction that a runner happened to be on third base (or second!) at the time. Occasionally a batter will shorten up and explicitly look to put the ball in the air to get the run home, but the vast majority of sacrifice flies don’t happen this way. On-base percentage corrects for this by penalizing the batter for not reaching base (this leads to the occasional small-sample anomaly of a player’s batting average exceeding his on-base percentage); batting average makes no such correction and treats it as it would a sacrifice bunt. Chalk it up to yet another case where on-base percentage exceeds batting average in usefulness.”

Eric Simon on David Wright’s pop up that ended up a sacrifice fly in Friday’s win against the Astros. Wright leads the Mets with 11 sacrifice flies and Jeff Francoeur is second with nine.

Source: Always Amazin’

2 comments for “Truth on sacrifice flies

  1. RealityChuck
    August 28, 2010 at 11:15 am

    The analysis only makes sense if you believe that scoring runs is unimportant. In general, Sabremetric analysis doesn’t like to deal with scoring runs because it’s hard to figure. Much better to use inferior methods that are easier to calculate, like OBA.

  2. August 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Hi Chuck – thanks for reading and commenting.

    Unfortunately, you are completely off base with your assertion that Sabermetrics doesn’t like to deal with runs.

    It is the field that came up with the Pythagorean Formula, which calculates a team’s winning percentage on runs scored and runs allowed.

    The same area of study came up with Runs Created, which calculates how many runs a player contributed to his team scoring.

    It is also the field that came up with using runs as a method to compare other stats, like fielding runs above average and a host of others.

    Next time before you criticize something, try to have a little more knowledge in what you’re attacking.

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