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Thread: leadoff walk/error

  1. #1

    leadoff walk/error

    I wonder if there is any statistical support for the common perception that, if the first batter in an inning reaches first on a walk or error, he scores a higher percentage of the time than if had reached first on a hit.

    My guess - there is not.

    Does anybody know?

    David Emerling
    Memphis, TN

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    Quote Originally Posted by Memphis View Post
    I wonder if there is any statistical support for the common perception that, if the first batter in an inning reaches first on a walk or error, he scores a higher percentage of the time than if had reached first on a hit.

    My guess - there is not.

    Does anybody know?
    Perhaps I’m not up on main stream baseball dogma, but I don’t know as I’ve ever heard anyone postulate what you stated. I know I’ve always tracked hitters success leading of an inning, batters leading off innings scoring for pitchers, and other such things, but I never tried to break it down because to me there was very little anyone could do to control it either from the offensive or defensive side.

    I don’t work with MLB numbers, but I’m pretty sure it anyone wanted to find out, all they’d have to do is run some fairly uncomplicated SQL statements.

    Here’s what I can say from the HS data I have.

    # 1st batters a pitcher faces or to start an inning who reach safely on Hit, Error, walk, HBP, PB, WP, FC, or CI – 631
    # of those batters reaching that score – 344

    To tell the truth, that tells me more than I really want to know because it shows the chance a runner who reaches under those conditions scores about 55% of the time.
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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    Considering a hit includes doubles, triples, and home runs besides singles I would say it is more likely to score from a hit than from a walk or error.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scorekeeper View Post
    Perhaps I’m not up on main stream baseball dogma, but I don’t know as I’ve ever heard anyone postulate what you stated.
    I've never heard it either.

    What I have heard many times is "You never want to walk the leadoff batter because he'll score ___% of the time," or something similar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous View Post
    Considering a hit includes doubles, triples, and home runs besides singles I would say it is more likely to score from a hit than from a walk or error.
    What you mean when you say “likely to score from”? Do you mean a run that scores because a batter got some kind of base hit and it caused a run to score as in an RBI, or do you mean that batters who reach on hits are more likely to score?

    You can look at http://www.infosports.com/scorekeepe.../cpitching.pdf Pages 62&63, 72&73 and get a rough idea about what I see happening in HS.

    But it really makes no difference to me which is more likely. What matters to me is that any run scored, no matter how, where the runner reached on a BB or HBP is much worse than any runner reaching on a BIP. The reason is, on a BIP at least there’s a chance for an out. On the BB/HBPs, every run that scores is a gift.

    Over the years, I’ve tried to see what statistic has the most effect on the outcome of a game. Of course the team that scores more runs wins 100% of the time, but I keep looking to see if there’s anything else that could be used to for instance bet a beer on between friends.

    So I’ve tried all kinds of things. For instance, if you look at page 30 of http://www.infosports.com/scorekeepe...es/ccounts.pdf what you’ll see is a complete listing of the varsity games our HS has played since it opened. Of the 119 games, 104 had a different # of mistakes, and 85 times the team making fewer mistakes won, for a winning Pct of 82%.

    As you can see by scrolling through the other metrics, I’ve tried other things to see if they were a better indicator, but so far free passes and/or mistakes is the king. Yes, more often than not, the team with more hits will win more games than the teams that don’t, but isn’t nearly as sure of a bet, and is why I suppose the old saying “Defense wins games” is true in every sport.
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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    A man who hits a double is standing on second and thus much more likely to score than a man standing on first. A man who hits a home run has scored and thus has a much greater chance of scoring than a man on first. So hits vs BB or error is really doubles, triples, homers, and singles vs a man on first and sometimes a man on second. Plus of course errors happen when a player has a single, double, or triple as well.

    As for the gift run you are comparing apples and oranges. You are comparing a probability to a known a event. To get to four balls a batter must risk making an out just like a batter that puts the ball in play. Same thing with most HBP and ROE.

    As for High School games, it is a different animal than MLB. Talent levels are different and events that rarely happen at the MLB level happen much more often at the high school level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ipitch View Post
    I've never heard it either.

    What I have heard many times is "You never want to walk the leadoff batter because he'll score ___% of the time," or something similar.
    I could go back and check the games I have, but to me it really isn’t important whether the batter led off with a walk or not. The fact that the lead batter reached is what’s telling to me. No one can really control whether a batter who puts a ball in play will end up with a hit, make an out, and that’s just part of the game.

    But batters reaching on errors can be controlled, at least to some degree by forcing the defenders to improve. And for sure walks and hit batters can be controlled, and probably to a greater degree than any other part of the game. After all, if pitchers never threw a ball out of the strike zone, there wouldn’t be any undefended runners on base, would there?
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous View Post
    A man who hits a double is standing on second and thus much more likely to score than a man standing on first. A man who hits a home run has scored and thus has a much greater chance of scoring than a man on first.
    Imagine my surprise upon reading that...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous View Post
    A man who hits a double is standing on second and thus much more likely to score than a man standing on first. A man who hits a home run has scored and thus has a much greater chance of scoring than a man on first. So hits vs BB or error is really doubles, triples, homers, and singles vs a man on first and sometimes a man on second. Plus of course errors happen when a player has a single, double, or triple as well.
    I’m not getting your point. If you’re trying to say a base hit is more desirable than a base on balls or hit batter, no one has disputed that. But I don’t get what it is you’re arguing.

    As for the gift run you are comparing apples and oranges. You are comparing a probability to a known a event. To get to four balls a batter must risk making an out just like a batter that puts the ball in play. Same thing with most HBP and ROE.
    Would you please explain how many times a batter who draws a walk or gets hit was in danger of making an out? How exactly was the defense going to do that?

    As for High School games, it is a different animal than MLB. Talent levels are different and events that rarely happen at the MLB level happen much more often at the high school level.
    Of course HSB is different than MLB, and that’s why I’m always very careful to note where the numbers I use have come from. But rather than just say they’re different, why not present proof. I don’t tinker with MLB data at all, so I can’t do it. Obviously you’re the expert, so how about showing where my numbers are wrong?

    Events that happen at the MLB level happen much more often at the HS level? I think you’re incorrect, but I’m willing to learn. What exactly happens more often or at a higher rate at the HS level than the ML level? I’m sure there are some like the 1st and 3rd double steal attempt, but home runs happen at a far higher rate in the MLB. In the end, my guess is things pretty even out.
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous View Post
    Considering a hit includes doubles, triples, and home runs besides singles I would say it is more likely to score from a hit than from a walk or error.
    Well, obviously, anything that causes the batter to reach beyond first is going to lead to a higher percentage chance to score. I'm just talking about singles.

    I can't tell you how many times I've heard announcers, fans, coaches, etc ..., after a leadoff walk/error which allows the batter to reach first, "It seems like whenever the leadoff batter walks, more often than not, they score," - implying that, somehow, a routine base hit has a different statistical probability.

    David Emerling
    Memphis, TN

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by scorekeeper View Post
    Events that happen at the MLB level happen much more often at the HS level? I think you’re incorrect, but I’m willing to learn. What exactly happens more often or at a higher rate at the HS level than the ML level?
    I'm confident in saying that the number of UNEARNED runs scored as a percentage of TOTAL runs scored at the HS school level is DRAMATICALLY higher at the HS level as compared to MLB - and that's because the number of errors in HS is dramatically higher.

    That is a HUGE (almost defining) difference between HS and MLB baseball statistics.

    David Emerling
    Memphis, TN

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    Quote Originally Posted by Memphis View Post
    Well, obviously, anything that causes the batter to reach beyond first is going to lead to a higher percentage chance to score. I'm just talking about singles.

    I can't tell you how many times I've heard announcers, fans, coaches, etc ..., after a leadoff walk/error which allows the batter to reach first, "It seems like whenever the leadoff batter walks, more often than not, they score," - implying that, somehow, a routine base hit has a different statistical probability.
    Well Dave, I gotta tell ya, I’d put what you’re describing squarely in the baseball dogma column. I tend to be a huge cynic about such things, especially when they’re so easy to prove one way or the other, and no proof is offered.

    What I think happens is, there’s just enough truth and logic to those statements, that they sound completely believable. FI, the data I have shows that out of 1,277 total runs. 27% were runners who reached 1st safely leading off an inning, and out of 630 batters leading off an inning by reaching 1st safely 54% of them scored.

    That means its very likely that any batter reaching 1st safely leading off an inning is gonna score more often than not. From that its easy to believe that any leadoff batter that walks will more than likely score. But while the 1st part of it is true, the 2nd part may well not be, so in order to find out, it has to be tested. Trouble is, who’s gonna take the time to do that?

    As for a routine base hit being statistically different than any other way a runner gets on, it may well be, but again, if it isn’t tested, its little more than dogma. Just messing around with my data, I’ve shown that in general its more likely a hit will follow another hit than a walk or a HBP, so if I wanted to, I could make the leap that its more likely a leadoff hit will score than a walk or HBP, but while I may think that’s true, I’d never state it as fact without trying to prove it.

    But I think its just more likely that because there are more base hits than any of the other ways to get on base, the perception is that the statistical probability they score more often it true, but one thing doest definitely follow the other.
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Memphis View Post
    I'm confident in saying that the number of UNEARNED runs scored as a percentage of TOTAL runs scored at the HS school level is DRAMATICALLY higher at the HS level as compared to MLB - and that's because the number of errors in HS is dramatically higher.

    That is a HUGE (almost defining) difference between HS and MLB baseball statistics
    Well, as a scorer and a statistician at the HS level, my perception is exactly the same as yours, but here’s where while reality may prove that to be true, if all HS scorers followed the scoring rules as well as MLB scorers did, the percentage of unearned runs for both would be relatively the same.

    Heck, if a HS scorer scores just wild pitches and passed balls by the HS rulebook, that would build in more unearned runs all by itself, and it would like be a whole lot of unearned runs too. In the ML, any pitch that hits the dirt or plate before reaching the catcher and is not handled by the catcher allowing a runner to move up, it is by definition a wild pitch and does not help a pitcher’s ERA.

    However, if a scorer scores by HS rules, the only MUST be a wild pitch has to touch the ground in front of the plate. What that does is almost insure any ball hitting the plate or the dirt after that is a passed ball, therefore making it much more likely a run scoring after it is unearned. That’s exactly why you’ll see so many HS pitchers with ERA’s at less than 1.00. Heck, in Ca alone there’s 48, and that’s only the one’s who’s coaches turn in stats!

    And not only that, I’d be willing to wager not half of HS scorers understand how to computer UER’s either. And even fewer understand what ordinary effort is because its definition has not yet made it into the NFHS rule book. So, while you’re statement is true, I maintain that if scoring were done by knowledgeable people with no ax to grind, and using the ML scoring rules, you’d see the percentage of total runs to earned runs be very close to the same indeed.
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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    re 9

    the original poster asked which is more common, a runner scoring getting on with a hit or runner getting on via walk or error. A runner will score more often with a hit because hits include doubles, triples, and homers.

    next paragraph. Again, it is apples and oranges. What you are saying is similar to someone saying how often does a player strikeout on a single. Getting to the walk carries a risk. Plenty of batters will strikeout,popout, foul out, ground out or whateever before they ever get to 4 balls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous View Post
    re 9

    the original poster asked which is more common, a runner scoring getting on with a hit or runner getting on via walk or error. A runner will score more often with a hit because hits include doubles, triples, and homers.
    What thread are you reading? Here’s the OP below. What he asked was if there was any statistical support for what he’d heard was a common perception. After that, some folks stated their OPINIONS, but no one offered any kind of proof other than myself, and I qualified my data as not being based on the ML.

    Evidently your opinion is that if the 1st batter in an inning reaches on a hit, he’ll score more often than if he reached any other way, and you base that on the fact that a runner can reach more than just 1st base on a hit.

    That’s ok as far as it goes, but you offer no PROOF, even though there are substantial data bases with the data in them that could prove what you’re saying one way or the other, and that’s what I thought the OP was asking for, not OPINIONS.

    And while I agree that the pure number of 1st batters reaching on hits scoring is likely higher than runners reaching any other way in that situation scoring, that has nothing to do with what the OP was asking. He was asking about the relative number of times runners would score expressed as a percentage. So while its easily possible 1,000 more runs scored that started out as leadoff hits, its possible that only 20% of all the leadoff hits scored, while maybe only 50 runs scored that started out as walks, but it may be that it was 75% of all runners that started out that way.

    However, I will grant you that the OP was a teeny bit sloppy in that he said “reached first”. He should have qualified the statement by saying had ONLY reached 1st if that’s what he meant. I took it to mean reached “AT LEAST” first safely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Memphis View Post
    I wonder if there is any statistical support for the common perception that, if the first batter in an inning reaches first on a walk or error, he scores a higher percentage of the time than if had reached first on a hit.

    My guess - there is not.

    Does anybody know?

    David Emerling
    Memphis, TN
    next paragraph. Again, it is apples and oranges. What you are saying is similar to someone saying how often does a player strikeout on a single. Getting to the walk carries a risk. Plenty of batters will strikeout,popout, foul out, ground out or whateever before they ever get to 4 balls.
    I’m sorry, but that’s just about the sillyiest thing I ever heard. No batter who ever walked made an out or “whatever” first. As far as I understand the rules of baseball, when a batter is awarded 1st base, he isn’t at risk of being put out, unless of course he refuses to touch that base. Also, no batter can both strike out and hit a single in the same at bat. Its impossible.

    Why don’t you just list the number of leadoff singles and the percentage of same that scored, Then do the same thing with doubles. triples, HRs, Walks, ROEs, HBPs, CI’s, and any other way a batter might end up on 1st after a leadoff at bat is over? I’d love to see that data, and then we would no longer be bandying about OPINIONS.
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scorekeeper View Post
    I’m sorry, but that’s just about the sillyiest thing I ever heard. No batter who ever walked made an out or “whatever” first. As far as I understand the rules of baseball, when a batter is awarded 1st base, he isn’t at risk of being put out
    But he is at risk of being out before that 4th ball, which is my point. You are comparing an outcome to a probability. That is apples and oranges when it should either be the probability of drawing a walk vs the probability reaching base safely with a ball in play or the value of a walk vs the vale of a hit. In both cases you are comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges. Probability vs probability and outcome vs outcome.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by scorekeeper View Post
    Well, as a scorer and a statistician at the HS level, my perception is exactly the same as yours, but here’s where while reality may prove that to be true, if all HS scorers followed the scoring rules as well as MLB scorers did, the percentage of unearned runs for both would be relatively the same.

    Heck, if a HS scorer scores just wild pitches and passed balls by the HS rulebook, that would build in more unearned runs all by itself, and it would like be a whole lot of unearned runs too. In the ML, any pitch that hits the dirt or plate before reaching the catcher and is not handled by the catcher allowing a runner to move up, it is by definition a wild pitch and does not help a pitcher’s ERA.

    However, if a scorer scores by HS rules, the only MUST be a wild pitch has to touch the ground in front of the plate. What that does is almost insure any ball hitting the plate or the dirt after that is a passed ball, therefore making it much more likely a run scoring after it is unearned. That’s exactly why you’ll see so many HS pitchers with ERA’s at less than 1.00. Heck, in Ca alone there’s 48, and that’s only the one’s who’s coaches turn in stats!

    And not only that, I’d be willing to wager not half of HS scorers understand how to computer UER’s either. And even fewer understand what ordinary effort is because its definition has not yet made it into the NFHS rule book. So, while you’re statement is true, I maintain that if scoring were done by knowledgeable people with no ax to grind, and using the ML scoring rules, you’d see the percentage of total runs to earned runs be very close to the same indeed.
    I disagree with your framing of the distinction. You seem to be suggesting that there is some subtle difference in error criteria that is making all the difference. Although such a criteria may certainly exist - I'm confident that there are many more errors being made in HS than at the MLB level of the most ordinary (i.e. not subtle) sort. HS infielders boot many more grounders and make many more throwing errors - to a large degree - than your average MLB infielder. The same is true for outfielders. Plus, there are many more defensive "miscues" at the high school level. In generally, the defensive play is FAR sloppier in high school.

    David Emerling
    Memphis, TN

  18. #18
    I'm the original poster. Let me make it clear what I was asking.

    First, the background of the question: In close games, there is always a certain frustration felt by the defense when the 1st batter reaches base. Everybody wants to see that first batter make an out. We've all heard the cliche, "That first out is the most important." The frustration tends to be more intense when the leadoff batter reaches 1st base as a result of defensive incompetence, i.e. the pitcher walks the batter or a fielder makes an error. In other words, the batter really didn't do anything, outright, to "earn" 1st base.

    In a tight game, you'll see the pitcher walk the leadoff batter and people will say, "That always seems to come back and haunt you" -or- "It always seems that a leadoff walk tends to score", etc... There's an assortment of cliche-like expressions that seem to infer that there is a higher probability that the runner will now score because the DEFENSE basically "awarded" him first instead of the batter "earning" it on his own merit.

    Obviously, this analysis would only be valid for a leadoff batter who ONLY reaches 1st. Clearly, anything more than that would OBVIOUSLY have a higher percentage of scoring.

    So, is it true?

    Would a leadoff batter who reaches 1st (only!) as a result of a walk/error score a greater percentage of the time than a batter who reaches 1st (only!) as a result of a base hit?

    I don't think there is any truth to it - personally.

    A runner at 1st is a runner at 1st. HOW he got there should not matter with regards to subsequent action.

    It would be like flipping a coin and getting six "heads" in a row and then asking, "Are the chances now greater that a 'tail' will be flipped?" No! The coin has no memory.

    But if a leadoff runner reaches as a result of a walk - perhaps this is indicative that the pitcher is struggling with location and there IS a higher probability of subsequent hits or more walks - leading to scoring opportunities.

    Maybe there is some kind of psychological impact after a fielding error that leads to reduced pitcher performance -or- further fielding errors ... leading to decreased subsequent performance ... leading to scoring opportunities ... opportunities that would not exist had the leadoff batter simply got a routine base hit.

    Follow me?

    David Emerling
    Memphis, TN
    Last edited by Memphis; 05-31-2010 at 09:01 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous View Post
    But he is at risk of being out before that 4th ball, which is my point. You are comparing an outcome to a probability. That is apples and oranges when it should either be the probability of drawing a walk vs the probability reaching base safely with a ball in play or the value of a walk vs the vale of a hit. In both cases you are comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges. Probability vs probability and outcome vs outcome.
    I don’t know what it is you’re thinking about, but it sure isn’t the normal way of thinking in my experience. Every player is at risk of being put out before every pitch, but what does that have to do with anything? What metric in baseball is set up to measure what was possible on every single pitch? Heck, if you take that to the nth degree and start trying to compute all the factors and potential outcomes, it would take an IBM Roadrunner to even make a dent in the calculations necessary to come to any conclusions before a single pitch was thrown.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Memphis View Post
    There's an assortment of cliche-like expressions that seem to infer that there is a higher probability that the runner will now score because the DEFENSE basically "awarded" him first instead of the batter "earning" it on his own merit.
    I've heard all the cliches, but I never thought that anyone was infering that there is a higher probability that the runner will score when walked. I think they are just saying that a walk is a "mistake," and they sometimes tell you how much of a mistake it is by mentioning the percentage of the time that a leadoff walk scores. I don't think they're comparing leadoff walks to leadoff singles in any way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Memphis View Post
    I disagree with your framing of the distinction. You seem to be suggesting that there is some subtle difference in error criteria that is making all the difference. Although such a criteria may certainly exist - I'm confident that there are many more errors being made in HS than at the MLB level of the most ordinary (i.e. not subtle) sort. HS infielders boot many more grounders and make many more throwing errors - to a large degree - than your average MLB infielder. The same is true for outfielders. Plus, there are many more defensive "miscues" at the high school level. In generally, the defensive play is FAR sloppier in high school.
    Dave, what you’re doing is exactly what most people do when discussing how plays are scored. While your observation about the relative play difference between say HSB and MLB is absolutely valid, it doesn’t mean there are more errors at the HS level than the MLB level, and the difference isn’t subtle.

    The reason for the incorrect thinking is that the definition of what an error is changes. IOW, an error at the MLB, or higher level, may not be an error at the HS, or lower level, and that’s a concept most people don’t understand and in many cases aren’t even aware of.

    Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re watching a HS game and there’s what looks like a routine ground ball hit to the 2nd baseman that he boots. But just because he booted it, doesn’t make it an error.

    Here’s 2 sentences from the comment in rule 10.12(a).

    …For example, the official scorer shall charge an infielder with an error when a ground ball passes to either side of such infielder if, in the official scorer’s judgment, a fielder at that position making ordinary effort would have fielded such ground ball and retired a runner. The official scorer shall charge an outfielder with an error if such outfielder allows a fly ball to drop to the ground if, in the official scorer’s judgment, an outfielder at that position making ordinary effort would have caught such fly ball….

    This “Ordinary Effort” thing pops up all over the rule book in 17 different places, and the reason for that is, its how a scorer is supposed to measure a play. Here’s the definition from Rule 2.00 in OBR.

    ORDINARY EFFORT is the effort that a fielder of average skill at a position in that league or classification of leagues should exhibit on a play, with due consideration given to the condition of the field and weather conditions.

    Rule 2.00 (Ordinary Effort) Comment: This standard, called for several times in the Official
    Scoring Rules (e.g., Rules 10.05(a)(3), 10.05(a)(4), 10.05(a)(6), 10.05(b)(3) (Base Hits); 10.08(b)
    (Sacrifices); 10.12(a)(1) Comment, 10.12(d)(2) (Errors); and 10.13(a), 10.13(b) (Wild Pitches and
    Passed Balls)) and in the Official Baseball Rules (e.g., Rule 2.00 (Infield Fly)), is an objective
    standard in regard to any particular fielder. In other words, even if a fielder makes his best effort, if
    that effort falls short of what an average fielder at that position in that league would have made in a
    situation, the official scorer should charge that fielder with an error.


    Using that standard, its pretty easy to see that an error at one level may very well not be an error at another. Let’s see if I can explain why. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of walking around a MLB baseball field, but I assure you, as great as almost any field you might have been on at a lower level might appear, they ain’t nuthin’ like a MLB field. So right off the gitgo, if a scorer considers the entire definition, there’s gonna be some balls the field affects in a bad way that shouldn’t be errors on the bad field. Sometimes people don’t even consider how much an infield with a lot of weeds in it, or that has sparse or “clumpy” grass affects how the ball moves.

    To add to that, look at what’s said in the very 1st sentence. … effort that a fielder of average skill at a position in that league or classification of leagues should exhibit on a play … 1st of all, there shouldn’t be any doubt at all that the skill level of the average fielder in the MLB is one Hell of a lot higher than the skill level of the average HS fielder. What that means, is that there are gonna be some plays the AVERAGE HS fielder won’t make that the AVERAGE ML fielder is gonna make.

    Remember who you’re talking about here. There are only about 800 players in the ML spread out over all 9 positions. They are literally the very best in the world, or at least close to it. That means the average MLB fielder at say 2nd base is not only better than a HS player, in truth they aren’t even on the same planet. Having that concept in hand, you can see that there’s no way a HS player is gonna be able to make ALL of the plays a ML 2nd baseman is going to make. So, there will obviously be more hits at the lower level that the fielders just don’t have the range to get to.

    I think what happens most often, is that scorers tend to judge players in that game against each other, or compare all players to players they see all the time. FI, if your local HS team has the best SS in the state on it, you shouldn’t judge all other players by his standard. Its got to be by the AVERAGE player at that position in that league or classification of leagues.

    What that means is, you don’t compare players in A ball to ML players. In the same vein, you don’t compare Fr HS players to JV HS players, or other of them to V HS players, and for sure you don’t compare HS players to ML players. Why? Because the players at the higher level are expected to play better! It would be different if everyone who went out had to be put on a team like in rec ball, but when there’s a tryout process, in theory only the better players get to play at the higher level.

    In the final analysis, the hardest thing to keep in mind, is to not even try to compare players of different levels, but people do it all the time. What I do to try to “normalize” things, is do several metrics that not only compute the metric the “normal” way, but also compute it in a way that takes the scorer’s judgment out of the equation.

    For instance, page 62 of http://www.infosports.com/scorekeepe...s/cbatting.pdf shows a Total Reached Average rather than just a BA. The reason I do those things is to try to get people to stop comparing their play or their kid’s play to Major Leaguers.
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

  22. #22
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    Dave, that’s exactly how I assumed you were asking the question, and you’re exactly correct about the clichés.

    Like you, I don’t believe there’s any truth to it at all, except for the one thing where my data seems to show a hit will very often follow another hit. But I wasn’t attempting to only look at leadoff hits, so I don’t know what just those instances would show.

    I do believe that in general pitchers don’t do as well out of the stretch as they do from the full windup, so my assumption is that has something to do with it because the pitcher will be in the stretch for more pitches if the leadoff batter gets on.

    Personally, I like your questions! In my position as a scorer, I have no choice but to listen to that kind of garbage every game. Everyone either thinks they’re an expert, or believes the guy standing next to them is one, so the dogma and clichés abound!
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by scorekeeper View Post
    Dave, what you’re doing is exactly what most people do when discussing how plays are scored. While your observation about the relative play difference between say HSB and MLB is absolutely valid, it doesn’t mean there are more errors at the HS level than the MLB level, and the difference isn’t subtle.

    The reason for the incorrect thinking is that the definition of what an error is changes. IOW, an error at the MLB, or higher level, may not be an error at the HS, or lower level, and that’s a concept most people don’t understand and in many cases aren’t even aware of.
    For some reason, it seems you think there is a HUGE difference between what is considered an error at the HS-level and what is considered an error at the MLB-level. I disagree.

    I know that HS has something called a "team error" that MLB does not have, but that does not come up that often.

    EXAMPLE: High pop-up in the infield. It can be easily caught by a number of infielders with ordinary effort. There is miscommunication and the ball falls to the ground allowing everybody to be safe. In MLB, that will probably be scored as a hit. In HS, that is a "team error."

    Nonetheless, there are far too many errors on routine plays in HS compared to MLB. And there is no subtlety within the HS definition of an error that makes those anything but errors. I umpire HS games and have sons who have played HS baseball. I've seen a bazillion HS games and, unquestionably, even the best teams make markedly more errors on plays that would be routine even at the HS level. Any suggestion that there are not more errors in HS than MLB, by any standard, is outright foolish.

    I think you're reading way too much into the definition of a HS error. And I'm sure the author of those words would undoubtedly consider a routine groundball, booted by an infielder, to be an error and would not be thinking, "He's just a high schooler." These kids make too many errors on even the plays they should be making. Again - I maintain that's the biggest statistical difference between HS and MLB; high schoolers make more errors on even the most routine plays.

    David Emerling
    Memphis, TN
    Last edited by Memphis; 06-01-2010 at 08:57 AM.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by scorekeeper View Post
    Dave, what you’re doing is exactly what most people do when discussing how plays are scored. While your observation about the relative play difference between say HSB and MLB is absolutely valid, it doesn’t mean there are more errors at the HS level than the MLB level, and the difference isn’t subtle.

    The reason for the incorrect thinking is that the definition of what an error is changes. IOW, an error at the MLB, or higher level, may not be an error at the HS, or lower level, and that’s a concept most people don’t understand and in many cases aren’t even aware of.
    Another thing about HS baseball: There are kids out there who have well below-average baseball skills - even compared to their peers. You can make the argument that they really should not be playing baseball, rather, they should be running track or playing soccer or anything but baseball. You just don't see that at the MLB level. Sure, some players are better than others - but the spectrum is not as wide as it is in HS. There are HS programs that haven't lost to other teams in their conference in DECADES. They completely dominant them and there is no end in sight. You never see that in MLB. Even the Baltimore Orioles will not lose every game to the Yankees, year after year after year, as so often happens in HS baseball.

    You cannot come up with a customizable standard of an error for each individual HS player. How can a scorekeeper possibly know what is "routine" for Billy but is "difficult" for Stevie? I'll agree that the standard for an error, in general, should be reduced for HS vs. MLB, yet there are still HS players who are so far below average that they are going to accumulate an inordinate number of errors simply due to their overall baseball incompetence, something that simply does not exist at the MLB level.

    David Emerling
    Memphis, TN

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Memphis View Post
    For some reason, it seems you think there is a HUGE difference between what is considered an error at the HS-level and what is considered an error at the MLB-level. I disagree.
    You can disagree all you like, but I watch it all the time, and believe me there is a “HUGE” difference. Its not on every play, but when you only get 100 or so ABs in a season, it doesn’t take a lot to affect the numbers.

    I know that HS has something called a "team error" that MLB does not have, but that does not come up that often.
    Well, you’re partially correct, and it’s a good call because not many people know about it. From everything I can find, every error is charged to the team in both NFHS and OBR. But there’s a situation where when earned runs are trying to be determined, its possible for a run to be charged to a team as unearned but to pitchers as being earned.

    That’s one place where the mistaken idea that there’s a team error in NFHS and not in OBR comes from. Here’s the language in OBR:

    OBR 10.16(i) Rule 10.16(i) Comment: It is the intent of Rule 10.16(i) to charge a relief pitcher with earned runs for which such relief pitcher is solely responsible. In some instances, runs charged as earned against the relief pitcher can be charged as unearned against the team. For example:
    (1) With two out and Peter pitching, Abel reaches first base on a base on balls. Baker reaches first base on an error. Roger relieves Peter. Charlie hits a home run, scoring three runs. The official scorer shall charge two unearned runs to Peter, one earned run to Roger and three unearned runs to the team (because the inning should have ended with the third out when Baker batted and an error was committed).
    (2) With two out, and Peter pitching, Abel and Baker each reach first base on a base on balls. Roger relieves Peter. Charlie reaches first base on an error. Daniel hits a home run, scoring four runs. The official scorer shall charge two unearned runs to Peter and two unearned runs to Roger (because the inning should have ended with the third out when Charlie batted and an error was committed).
    (3) With none out and Peter pitching, Abel reaches first base on a base on balls. Baker reaches first base on an error. Roger relieves Peter. Charlie hits a home run, scoring three runs. Daniel and Edward strike out. Frank reaches first base on an error. George hits a home run, scoring two runs. The official scorer shall charge two runs, one of them earned, to Peter, three runs, one of them earned, to Roger and five runs, two of them earned, to the team (because only Abel and Charlie would have scored in an inning reconstructed without the errors).


    EXAMPLE: High pop-up in the infield. It can be easily caught by a number of infielders with ordinary effort. There is miscommunication and the ball falls to the ground allowing everybody to be safe. In MLB, that will probably be scored as a hit. In HS, that is a "team error."
    That comes out of the case book, not the rule book, but here’s the way it works, and it doesn’t matter if ML or tball. If the scorer believes the ball should have been caught with ordinary effort, a error has to be scored. If it isn’t scored as an error by a ML SK, he’s not doing his job correctly, and it may well be reversed.

    But as to whether or not an individual gets an error as opposed to the team, one has to look at other ruled and extrapolate. FI:

    (c) The official scorer shall credit automatic putouts as follows (and shall credit no assists on these plays except as specified):
    (1) When the batter is called out on an Infield Fly that is not caught, the official scorer shall credit the putout to the fielder who the scorer believes could have made the catch;
    (2) When a runner is called out for being touched by a fair ball (including an Infield Fly), the official scorer shall credit the putout to the fielder nearest the ball;
    (3) When a runner is called out for running out of line to avoid being tagged, the official scorer shall [b]credit the putout to the fielder whom the runner avoided[.b];
    (4) When a runner is called out for passing another runner, the official scorer shall credit the putout to the fielder nearest the point of passing;
    . . .


    There’s nothing in either rule book or case book that I know about that says when there’s an error, it shall not be charged to a player, but to the team ONLY.

    Nonetheless, there are far too many errors on routine plays in HS compared to MLB. And there is no subtlety within the HS definition of an error that makes those anything but errors. I umpire HS games and have sons who have played HS baseball. I've seen a bazillion HS games and, unquestionably, even the best teams make markedly more errors on plays that would be routine even at the HS level. Any suggestion that there are not more errors in HS than MLB, by any standard, is outright foolish.
    And there’s where you’re making your mistake. There’s a difference between what the definition of ordinary effort is. Just because the HS rules don’t have it yet, that doesn’t mean the OBR definition shouldn’t cover HS ball as well. The definition doesn’t change what an error is. All it does is help the scorer. I wish I still had the letter MLB sent out with the rule change that added the definition into the book, It had an explanation of why it was doing that, and it was specifically to give scorer’s guidance in that situation because there was such a difference from one scorer to the other. The problem is, since the NFHS rulebook is behind the updates of OBR, and since the NFHS book is so very much different than OBR,

    I think you're reading way too much into the definition of a HS error. And I'm sure the author of those words would undoubtedly consider a routine groundball, booted by an infielder, to be an error and would not be thinking, "He's just a high schooler." These kids make too many errors on even the plays they should be making. Again - I maintain that's the biggest statistical difference between HS and MLB; high schoolers make more errors on even the most routine plays.
    I know what I’m saying is bucking decades of dogma, but that doesn’t mean its any less true. If you’re correct, why on earth would MLB who literally owns baseball, put that definition in the book? I assure you that the MLB rules committee doesn’t jut throw rules into the book because they have nothing better to do. The fact is, scorers are supposed to be thinking, “he’s just a high schooler, and because of that, the standards are different. If you don’t do that, how many kids on the small fields would be batting over .300?

    The problem isn’t that the standard’s different, its that its application is screwed up. You’ve don’t lots of HS games. How many of those games were being scored in the dugout by a bench player, or off somewhere in the bleachers by a mom or dad, or by someone else with either some reason to be very biased, or who knew very little about the scoring rules?

    You’re used to being part of a group who spends one devil of a lot of time learning the rules, practicing their application, getting tested on them, and have to constantly do continuing education to do their job, ending up in certification. How many scorers have done that?

    Again, I agree that there are fewer plays made on what most people consider a “routine play” in HS than the MLB. But there’s supposed to be fewer plays made! The skill level of the player is nowhere the same, hence the definition.

    Believe me Dave, I do understand what you’re saying, but I didn’t write that definition. As it happens, it is how I’ve always tried to score a ball game, but until that definition was written, I was literally just as wrong as right. But that single definition changed scoring forever. Because people don’t want to believe it applies to HS ball because it’s not in the rule book is just as silly as the HS rule about PBs and WPs being so different.

    One thing that’s pretty cool though, is that you’ve managed to argue without getting nasty or personal, and I appreciate it. We don’t all have to agree on everything in order to treat each other respectfully.
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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