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March 2012

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COMMENTS

You Make The Call: Singles Hitter vs. Walk Machine

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I was sitting on the toilet the other day reading a new book I got on Amazon to help me extract (well maybe not the best word choice given the sentence) my inner stat geek that I know is in there but can’t seem to find its way out. I set it as my goal this season to become more well versed on some of the intro to metrics type stats. I picked up Beyond Batting Average by Lee Panas and have been enjoying it thoroughly. Anyway, back to my toilet thought. I came up with an idea for a new post called “You Make the Call”. I’m not quite sure if it will always take the same format, but it’s basically designed for you to give feedback on baseball situations of some sort. We debut with this question.

You take the job as the manager for the Cubs. On your roster you have two shortstops. Both are completely equal in fielding ability, range, speed, age, etc. The only difference are their stat lines for last year. Here is a description of both.

Player A – Got 500 plate appearances and hit .350 with an on base percentage of .350 as well. He drew zero walks and never struck out. He had no extra base hits. all of the 175 hits he compiled were singles.

Player B – Got 500 plate appearances. During that time he failed to amass a single hit, but did finish with an on base percentage of .350 as well due to the fact that he drew 175 walks.

Which player do you start? Where do you hit him in the batting order? What is reasoning behind your decision?

  • Norm

    The singles hitter in a landslide.

  • Norm

    The singles hitter in a landslide.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Uh..pray this type of choice never comes up?

  • Dusty Baylor

    Uh..pray this type of choice never comes up?

  • Eddie Von White

    Well, it depends. Does Player B steal a lot of bases? Does he know how to bunt and move runners ahead and execute the safety and suicide squeeze? Does he rattle the pitcher by taking huge leads and causing a lot of throw-overs and pick off attempts? Is he moving the infielders while the pitch is on the way home and he’s on his way to second, thus opening up holes for the double play ball to get through so the next guys get base hits?  If so, he bats 2nd in my line up.

    Does Player A hit only for average and batting titles? Probably bat him 6th. Does Player B only get to first and die there? Probably don’t play him a lot.

    Do Players A and B have the same base-running abilities? Then I move B over to second and play both of them everyday. 

    • Joe Aiello

      Both are exacly the same aside from the stats I mentioned

  • Eddie Von White

    Well, it depends. Does Player B steal a lot of bases? Does he know how to bunt and move runners ahead and execute the safety and suicide squeeze? Does he rattle the pitcher by taking huge leads and causing a lot of throw-overs and pick off attempts? Is he moving the infielders while the pitch is on the way home and he’s on his way to second, thus opening up holes for the double play ball to get through so the next guys get base hits?  If so, he bats 2nd in my line up.

    Does Player A hit only for average and batting titles? Probably bat him 6th. Does Player B only get to first and die there? Probably don’t play him a lot.

    Do Players A and B have the same base-running abilities? Then I move B over to second and play both of them everyday. 

    • Joe Aiello

      Both are exacly the same aside from the stats I mentioned

  • Doc Raker

    Which player hustles? Do you know the HWAR for each? I take the singles hitter and hit him in either the 2 hole or the 8 hole depending on the other hitters in the line up. Why? The singles hitter will move other base runners along. Walks only move base runners up one base, a single can move a base runner up 2 bases. The 2 hole is a good spot for a singles hitter, hit and run with your lead off hitter to set up first and thirds or hit him 8th to drive in any runners in scoring position before the pitcher comes up.
    Bottom line, a 9 man line up of single hitters would score more runs than a 9 man line up of walkers.

  • Doc Raker

    Which player hustles? Do you know the HWAR for each? I take the singles hitter and hit him in either the 2 hole or the 8 hole depending on the other hitters in the line up. Why? The singles hitter will move other base runners along. Walks only move base runners up one base, a single can move a base runner up 2 bases. The 2 hole is a good spot for a singles hitter, hit and run with your lead off hitter to set up first and thirds or hit him 8th to drive in any runners in scoring position before the pitcher comes up.
    Bottom line, a 9 man line up of single hitters would score more runs than a 9 man line up of walkers.

  • Doc Raker

    On another note Ryan Dempster got hit hard yesterday, he must of had more bad luck.
    From the Cubs web site “Dempster was lifted after giving up three runs on eight hits while striking out three over 3 2/3 innings. What’s left to do before Opening Day?
    “Just executing pitches more consistently,” Dempster said. “I felt today I’d throw a good one, bad one, good one, bad one and go back and forth. I threw some really good pitches and some stuff that I was trying to do worked well, made a few mistakes. It was a good work day.”

    • Norm Bothwell

       It’s OK. Alfonso Soriano is hitting .450 with a 1.650 OPS and DeWitt, Barney, Mather, and Clevenger are over 1.000 OPS. You won’t need a very good pitcher with that offense.

      • Doc Raker

        Lucky for us since Dempster isn’t a very good pitcher at this point.

      • Matt Mitchener

         Mock my assessment all you want but at the end of the season you will have egg on your face. I’ve got projections to back my assessment and you have irrational hate.

      • Lizzie

        Irrational hate? Where? Did I miss it? Come to think of it, I might have missed your assessment too. And the mocking.

      • Jeter has a Gold Glove.  Care to argue that he was/is one of the best defenders in the game at his position?

      • Doc Raker

        I don’t know where you get irrational hate from. I think Ryan Dempster is a bad pitcher, I don’t hate him. I don’t hate people who think Dempster is a good but unlucky pitcher, I disagree with them. I would be happy to wager an amount to be paid to our charity of choice on Ryan Dempster. Where do your projections and assessments have Ryan Dempster for an era or whip for 2012? I will take a guess and say your projections and assessments where high on Carlos Pena last spring also- I won that bet too.

  • Doc Raker

    On another note Ryan Dempster got hit hard yesterday, he must of had more bad luck.
    From the Cubs web site “Dempster was lifted after giving up three runs on eight hits while striking out three over 3 2/3 innings. What’s left to do before Opening Day?
    “Just executing pitches more consistently,” Dempster said. “I felt today I’d throw a good one, bad one, good one, bad one and go back and forth. I threw some really good pitches and some stuff that I was trying to do worked well, made a few mistakes. It was a good work day.”

    • Norm Bothwell

       It’s OK. Alfonso Soriano is hitting .450 with a 1.650 OPS and DeWitt, Barney, Mather, and Clevenger are over 1.000 OPS. You won’t need a very good pitcher with that offense.

      • Doc Raker

        Lucky for us since Dempster isn’t a very good pitcher at this point.

      • Matt Mitchener

         Mock my assessment all you want but at the end of the season you will have egg on your face. I’ve got projections to back my assessment and you have irrational hate.

      • Irrational hate? Where? Did I miss it? Come to think of it, I might have missed your assessment too. And the mocking.

      • Jeter has a Gold Glove.  Care to argue that he was/is one of the best defenders in the game at his position?

      • Doc Raker

        I don’t know where you get irrational hate from. I think Ryan Dempster is a bad pitcher, I don’t hate him. I don’t hate people who think Dempster is a good but unlucky pitcher, I disagree with them. I would be happy to wager an amount to be paid to our charity of choice on Ryan Dempster. Where do your projections and assessments have Ryan Dempster for an era or whip for 2012? I will take a guess and say your projections and assessments where high on Carlos Pena last spring also- I won that bet too.

  • Noah_I

    The singles hitter easily.  Just look at it from an OPS point of view.  Player A has a triple slash of .350/.350/.350.  So his OPS is .700.  Player B has a triple slash of .000/.350/.000.  So his OPS is .350.  Easy, easy call (if that ever existed).

    • Jedi

      If there were Lizzies passed out for the repeated usage of the phrase “triple slash” Noah would be drubbing us all after the last week or so.

  • Joe Aiello

    Or it was spring training, where the games don’t count.

    • Noah_I

      Exactly.  Spring training results mean nothing.  Spring training is really just about getting pitchers’ arm strength built up and letting hitters just see some live pitching before the season starts. 

  • Noah_I

    The singles hitter easily.  Just look at it from an OPS point of view.  Player A has a triple slash of .350/.350/.350.  So his OPS is .700.  Player B has a triple slash of .000/.350/.000.  So his OPS is .350.  Easy, easy call (if that ever existed).

    • Jedi

      If there were Lizzies passed out for the repeated usage of the phrase “triple slash” Noah would be drubbing us all after the last week or so.

  • Joe Aiello

    Or it was spring training, where the games don’t count.

    • Noah_I

      Exactly.  Spring training results mean nothing.  Spring training is really just about getting pitchers’ arm strength built up and letting hitters just see some live pitching before the season starts. 

  • Joe, Thanks for mentioning Beyond Batting Average.  I consider it a good sign that someone considers my book worthy enough for toilet seat reading.  🙂  

    • Joe Aiello

      Lee, you’re most welcome. I’ve enjoyed it so far. Is there more of your work we should be aware of?

      • I blog about the Tigers at DetroitTigerTales.com.  I do some saber stuff over there as well. 

      • Jedi

        Light or Metric?  Just need to know what kind of geek you are.

        That would be the a Geek Wheel of Fortune “Before & After answer – Lightsabermetric

      • Incorrect.  We were looking for a “-toothed” joke with respect to the Tigers saber blogger.  

  • Lee Panas

    Joe, Thanks for mentioning Beyond Batting Average.  I consider it a good sign that someone considers my book worthy enough for toilet seat reading.  🙂  

    • Joe Aiello

      Lee, you’re most welcome. I’ve enjoyed it so far. Is there more of your work we should be aware of?

      • Lee Panas

        I blog about the Tigers at DetroitTigerTales.com.  I do some saber stuff over there as well. 

      • Jedi

        Light or Metric?  Just need to know what kind of geek you are.

        That would be the a Geek Wheel of Fortune “Before & After answer – Lightsabermetric

      • Incorrect.  We were looking for a “-toothed” joke with respect to the Tigers saber blogger.  

  • Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.  

  • Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.  

  • Gymjok

    Possible benefit from Mr. walk would be having many more pitches thrown to him.
    1) driving up the opponents pitch count
    b) helping his teammates by seeing more of the pitchers stuff

    • Doc Raker

      There is no metric for driving up pitch count and helping team mates see more of the pitchers stuff so it doesn’t count- get with the program. Next thing you know you will be talking about hustle and crazy stuff like that.

      • Joe Aiello

        What do you call Pitchers per plate appearance?

      • Doc Raker

        But how does pitches per plate appearance help calculate run production? You have two players, one has a pppa of 3.2 the other player has a pppa of 5.1. Which one produces more runs? We have no idea with only that info.

      • Norm Bothwell

        You said “There is no metric for driving up pitch count and helping team mates see more of the pitchers stuff so it doesn’t count”
        He accurately contradicted that statement.

  • Gymjok

    Possible benefit from Mr. walk would be having many more pitches thrown to him.
    1) driving up the opponents pitch count
    b) helping his teammates by seeing more of the pitchers stuff

    • Doc Raker

      There is no metric for driving up pitch count and helping team mates see more of the pitchers stuff so it doesn’t count- get with the program. Next thing you know you will be talking about hustle and crazy stuff like that.

      • Joe Aiello

        What do you call Pitchers per plate appearance?

      • Doc Raker

        But how does pitches per plate appearance help calculate run production? You have two players, one has a pppa of 3.2 the other player has a pppa of 5.1. Which one produces more runs? We have no idea with only that info.

      • Norm Bothwell

        You said “There is no metric for driving up pitch count and helping team mates see more of the pitchers stuff so it doesn’t count”
        He accurately contradicted that statement.

  • flyslinger2

    The flaw in this scenario is the beer per hot dog per player per inning ratio. Had we known that we could have had better data to work with. I’ll go with B as he wears on the pitchers arm. Not a stat that is recorded but it has it’s affects.

    I do like the idea of this “You make the call!”

  • flyslinger2

    The flaw in this scenario is the beer per hot dog per player per inning ratio. Had we known that we could have had better data to work with. I’ll go with B as he wears on the pitchers arm. Not a stat that is recorded but it has it’s affects.

    I do like the idea of this “You make the call!”

  • Seymour Butts

    I believe there actually is an answer and it is player A.
    The reason is that player B can not run the bases.
    Why you ask?, Because player B can only possibly be Eddie Gadel (a Midget). Otherwise he would not get that many walks as pitchers are just laying it in as they know he can’t hit, so his target must be minuscule. A minuscule target means legs the size of chicken wings and thus a 90 ft dash measured with an hour glass.

  • Seymour Butts

    I believe there actually is an answer and it is player A.
    The reason is that player B can not run the bases.
    Why you ask?, Because player B can only possibly be Eddie Gadel (a Midget). Otherwise he would not get that many walks as pitchers are just laying it in as they know he can’t hit, so his target must be minuscule. A minuscule target means legs the size of chicken wings and thus a 90 ft dash measured with an hour glass.

  • BLPCB

    When OBP is equal, I take the player with the higher batting average because putting the ball into play can advance runners more bases. Walks are good, but singles can move runners up an extra base.

  • AC0000000

    When OBP is equal, I take the player with the higher batting average because putting the ball into play can advance runners more bases. Walks are good, but singles can move runners up an extra base.

  • Tom_C

    IMHO, not a fair/real question. Both players are identical since they both ended up at first 175 times.  However, that being said, I would much prefer a player who say bats .250 – .260 with an OBA of .370 then a player who bats .290-.300 with an OBA of .330 simply because the player with the higher OBA has more patience/better pitch selection in the long run…my 2 cents!

  • Tom_C

    IMHO, not a fair/real question. Both players are identical since they both ended up at first 175 times.  However, that being said, I would much prefer a player who say bats .250 – .260 with an OBA of .370 then a player who bats .290-.300 with an OBA of .330 simply because the player with the higher OBA has more patience/better pitch selection in the long run…my 2 cents!

  • cap’n obviou

    got to agree with Tom C. here.  Both players are poop from a production standpoint.  Not sure how to qualify how a guy gets 175 singles every year, because great defense takes away more singles than any other offensive production stat.  No way a guy hits 175 singles before even the Svuemest of managers moves the outfield in to take away the bloop shots.  With that being said, I take the walk guy, since you get first base 100% of the time a pitcher throws 4 balls.  Unless there’s a bad ump behind the plate.  Aw, this topic Greggs.

  • cap’n obviou

    got to agree with Tom C. here.  Both players are poop from a production standpoint.  Not sure how to qualify how a guy gets 175 singles every year, because great defense takes away more singles than any other offensive production stat.  No way a guy hits 175 singles before even the Svuemest of managers moves the outfield in to take away the bloop shots.  With that being said, I take the walk guy, since you get first base 100% of the time a pitcher throws 4 balls.  Unless there’s a bad ump behind the plate.  Aw, this topic Greggs.

  • Gymjok

    Mr hit gets you RBI.
    Mr walk can only get you one RBI only when the bases are loaded.

  • Gymjok

    Mr hit gets you RBI.
    Mr walk can only get you one RBI only when the bases are loaded.

  • Lizzie

    Late to the game here but Joe, I like the “You Make the Call” idea. Kind of like what we were doing yesterday with the hustler. I’ll look forward to others. And I’ll take the singles guy!

    • Doc Raker

      Put the hustler magazine down Lizzie and stop talking about what kind of guy you will take, obviously a singles guy is better than a married guy but we try and talk baseball around here.

      • Lizzie

        Certainly better than one who walks.

  • Late to the game here but Joe, I like the “You Make the Call” idea. Kind of like what we were doing yesterday with the hustler. I’ll look forward to others. And I’ll take the singles guy!

    • Doc Raker

      Put the hustler magazine down Lizzie and stop talking about what kind of guy you will take, obviously a singles guy is better than a married guy but we try and talk baseball around here.

      • Certainly better than one who walks.

  • Doogolas11

    One for one, the singles hitter is more valuable. A guy who hits .350 with a .350OBP will have a higher wOBA than a guy who hits .000 with a .350OBP. 

    Singles are more valuable than walks. That’s not even a debate either. For some specifics, here were the values in 2006:

    Singles are worth .47 runs.
    Walks are worth .32 runs.

    Over the course of the season then:

    Player A: 82.25 Runs
    Player B: 56 Runs

    We’re talking about 2.5 wins difference in value.

    Not only is player A better, he’s far, far, far, far, FAR superior, and the best place for him depends on your team. He is a guy you should probably hit 1st or 8th. Player B should strictly hit 8th. 

  • Doogolas11

    One for one, the singles hitter is more valuable. A guy who hits .350 with a .350OBP will have a higher wOBA than a guy who hits .000 with a .350OBP. 

    Singles are more valuable than walks. That’s not even a debate either. For some specifics, here were the values in 2006:

    Singles are worth .47 runs.
    Walks are worth .32 runs.

    Over the course of the season then:

    Player A: 82.25 Runs
    Player B: 56 Runs

    We’re talking about 2.5 wins difference in value.

    Not only is player A better, he’s far, far, far, far, FAR superior, and the best place for him depends on your team. He is a guy you should probably hit 1st or 8th. Player B should strictly hit 8th. 

  • Doogolas11

    Also, to the people who have said they’re both not very good. That’s not true a all. Player A is a well above average hitter and player B is going to be roughly league average in terms of how much value he brings with his bat.

  • Doogolas11

    Also, to the people who have said they’re both not very good. That’s not true a all. Player A is a well above average hitter and player B is going to be roughly league average in terms of how much value he brings with his bat.