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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 Iím not up on main stream baseball dogma, but I donít know as Iíve ever heard anyone postulate what you stated. I know Iíve 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 donít work with MLB numbers, but Iím pretty sure it anyone wanted to find out, all theyíd have to do is run some fairly uncomplicated SQL statements.

    Hereís 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 Ė 631
    # of those batters reaching that score Ė 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 whoís 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 ďlikely to score fromĒ? 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 thereís a chance for an out. On the BB/HBPs, every run that scores is a gift.

    Over the years, Iíve 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 thereís anything else that could be used to for instance bet a beer on between friends.

    So Iíve tried all kinds of things. For instance, if you look at page 30 of http://www.infosports.com/scorekeepe...es/ccounts.pdf what youíll 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, Iíve 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 donít, but isnít nearly as sure of a bet, and is why I suppose the old saying ďDefense wins gamesĒ is true in every sport.
    The pitcher whoís 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 isnít important whether the batter led off with a walk or not. The fact that the lead batter reached is whatís 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 thatís 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 wouldnít be any undefended runners on base, would there?
    The pitcher whoís 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...
    Your Second Base Coach
    Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey started 833 times and the Dodgers went 498-335, for a .598 winning percentage. Thatís equal to a team going 97-65 over a season. On those occasions when at least one of them missed his start, the Dodgers were 306-267-1, which is a .534 clip. That works out to a team going 87-75. So having all four of them added 10 wins to the Dodgers per year.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5hCIvMule0

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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.
    Iím not getting your point. If youíre trying to say a base hit is more desirable than a base on balls or hit batter, no one has disputed that. But I donít get what it is youíre 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 thatís why Iím always very careful to note where the numbers I use have come from. But rather than just say theyíre different, why not present proof. I donít tinker with MLB data at all, so I canít do it. Obviously youíre 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 youíre incorrect, but Iím willing to learn. What exactly happens more often or at a higher rate at the HS level than the ML level? Iím 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 whoís 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 youíre incorrect, but Iím 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 whoís 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 hereís 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 pitcherís 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. Thatís exactly why youíll see so many HS pitchers with ERAís at less than 1.00. Heck, in Ca alone thereís 48, and thatís only the oneís whoís coaches turn in stats!

    And not only that, Iíd be willing to wager not half of HS scorers understand how to computer UERís either. And even fewer understand what ordinary effort is because its definition has not yet made it into the NFHS rule book. So, while youíre statement is true, I maintain that if scoring were done by knowledgeable people with no ax to grind, and using the ML scoring rules, youíd see the percentage of total runs to earned runs be very close to the same indeed.
    The pitcher whoís 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? Hereís the OP below. What he asked was if there was any statistical support for what heíd 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, heíll 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.

    Thatís 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 youíre saying one way or the other, and thatís 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 ďreached firstĒ. He should have qualified the statement by saying had ONLY reached 1st if thatís what he meant. I took it to mean reached ďAT LEASTĒ 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.
    Iím sorry, but thatís just about the sillyiest thing I ever heard. No batter who ever walked made an out or ďwhateverĒ first. As far as I understand the rules of baseball, when a batter is awarded 1st base, he isnít 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 donít 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, CIís, and any other way a batter might end up on 1st after a leadoff at bat is over? Iíd love to see that data, and then we would no longer be bandying about OPINIONS.
    The pitcher whoís 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
    Iím sorry, but thatís just about the sillyiest thing I ever heard. No batter who ever walked made an out or ďwhateverĒ first. As far as I understand the rules of baseball, when a batter is awarded 1st base, he isnít 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 10:01 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 donít know what it is youíre thinking about, but it sure isnít 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.
    The pitcher whoís 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
    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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