3 - 6 - 3

March 11, 2021
                                                               3-6-3

 

            In 2010 a man named Chris Chestnut posted an article on Retrosheet reporting on his research about 3-6-3 double plays—specifically, about how many 3-6-3 double plays are started by each first baseman.  For some reason I just discovered this article about three days ago, and I was fascinated by the research.  I tweeted out a comment from the research (Keith Hernandez started more 3-6-3 double plays in his career than any other first baseman), and also contacted Mr. Chestnut to ask if he had updated the research—not only because ten years have passed, but also because, in those ten years, Retrosheet has pushed their research backward in time, so that it would now include. . .well, George Sisler.   I did that in the wrong order; I should have contacted Mr. Chestnut BEFORE I tweeted out about Hernandez, because, as it turns out (a) Mr. Chestnut’s old e-mail address, published with his article, still works, (b) he HAS, in fact, updated the research, (c) he was generous enough to share his new research with me, and (d) Hernandez no longer is #1 on the list, although he is still near the top.  I should have talked to him BEFORE I tweeted that out; sorry.  Apparently prompted by my enquiry, Mr. Chestnut has published his updated research, also on Retrosheet. 

            I have been interested in "this subject" for many years, and I have written about it several times.  "This subject" is first basemen’s meaningful defensive plays.  The original defensive statistics of first basemen are very badly designed, and thus fail to distinguish between the types of plays that a first baseman makes.   This has always bothered me because there is something in there which is very measurable, not in any sense intangible or even elusive, but a very instructive something that could routinely be counted, but which we just don’t BOTHER to keep track of.   Mr. Chestnut bothered.  Can I nominate him for an Award here?  This is good research.

            Mr. Chestnut counted three things for each first baseman.  These are his definitions:

 

3-6-3 Double Play – the first baseman fields a ground ball and throws to the shortstop to retire the runner on first. The shortstop returns the throw to the first baseman to retire the batter/runner.

Opportunity – all ground balls (including bunts, excluding base hits) fielded by the first baseman with a runner on first (additional runners may be on second and/or third) and less than two outs.

Attempt – all opportunities where the first play by the first baseman is a throw to the shortstop.

 

            I would say that I essentially agree with all of those definitions.  If I had been doing this study, I think those are the definitions that I would have used.  The only problem I see is that it is unclear how an event enters the chart if a first baseman fields the ball and throws it to second base either (a) too late, putting an extra runner on base, or (b) resulting in an E-3, or (c) resulting in a 3-6-1 Double Play.  I would guess that the first two of those categories are not accessible from the available records.  There probably is just no way of knowing. 

            I have some disagreements with Mr. Chestnut about his preparation of the charts of data resulting from this research.  He figures and reports successful double plays as a percentage of attempts, rather than as a percentage of opportunities.  This seems obviously wrong to me.  What he seems to be implicitly assuming is that if the first baseman does not attempt to make the play at second, it is generally because there is no play there to be made.   We should accept the first baseman’s judgment on that play, and evaluate the success of the first baseman based only on when he does make the play to second.  I think it would be pretty easy to demonstrate that he picked the wrong side of that argument.  I’ll get back to that issue. 

            Also, Mr. Chestnut fills up his charts with completely useless rankings, making it much more difficult to find the useful information hiding among the trees.  But these are trivial objections.   What matters is that he did the work, and he shared his data.   I can extract his data and put it in my preferred form easily enough.

            OK, first conclusion; these are the top 10 first basemen in the number of career 3-6-3 double plays started (and, I suppose, ended). 

 

Last

First

T

DP

Pujols

Albert

R

81

McQuinn

George

L

73

Hernandez

Keith

L

72

Vernon

Mickey

L

72

Mattingly

Don

L

71

Kuhel

Joe

L

68

Hrbek

Kent

R

66

Grimm

Charlie

L

64

Murray

Eddie

R

64

Scott

George C.

R

60

 

            Those are all good first basemen, but it is surprising to see Pujols—a right-handed first baseman who won two Gold Gloves—finishing well ahead of Keith Hernandez, a left-handed first baseman who won ten Gold Gloves. 

            Pujols not only beat Hernandez in 3-6-3 double plays started, but did so in fewer innings, and in fewer opportunities.  Let’s add opportunities and innings to the chart:

 

Last

First

T

Innings

Oppor

DP

Pujols

Albert

R

16395

544

81

McQuinn

George

L

13231

426

73

Hernandez

Keith

L

17279

688

72

Vernon

Mickey

L

19595

658

72

Mattingly

Don

L

14132

459

71

Kuhel

Joe

L

18203

505

68

Hrbek

Kent

R

13660

386

66

Grimm

Charlie

L

18771

621

64

Murray

Eddie

R

21151

642

64

Scott

George C.

R

15190

570

60

 

            Hernandez had about 5% more innings than Pujols, and 26% more DP opportunities, but Pujols started more double plays. 

            It has been so long now since Pujols has been what he was that it is hard to remember.  He really was a magnificent player.  What I remember about him is how alert he was.  Anything that happened on the field, he reacted to it instantly.  He had a good arm, a third baseman’s arm, although he wasn’t really quick enough to play third.  But it is very surprising that he is at the top of this list; not surprising that he is above average, but surprising that he is number 1. 

            Here’s one way we know that "opportunities" are the correct basis for comparison, not "attempts".  If you compare left-handed first basemen to right-handed first basemen based on 3-6-3 double plays PER ATTEMPT, left-handed first basemen are only 1.3% better than right-handed first basemen.   Left-handed first basemen get the double play on 20.85% of attempts; right-handed first basemen, on 20.58%.

But if you compare them PER OPPORTUNITY, the difference is not 1%; it is 15%!  Left-handed first basemen get the double play when a ball is hit to them in a potential double play 7.9% of the time; right-handers, only 6.9%.  Right-handed first basemen don’t make the play not because they try and fail, but because they don’t try as often. 

If "attempts" were the right basis to be evaluating individual first basemen, how would you explain that?   It would seem to me that you can’t.  These are the first basemen who turned the most double plays, per opportunity (minimum:  100 chances):

 

Last

First

T

Oppor

DP

Pct

Goodman

Billy

R

125

23

.184

Stevens

Lee

L

237

42

.177

McQuinn

George

L

426

73

.171

Hrbek

Kent

R

386

66

.171

Tabler

Pat

R

129

21

.163

Goldschmidt

Paul

R

339

55

.162

Overbay

Lyle

L

367

58

.158

Mattingly

Don

L

459

71

.155

Pujols

Albert

R

544

81

.149

Morneau

Justin

R

302

44

.146

 

Billy Goodman was an all-over-the-infield-and-occasionally-the-outfield player.  The norm for 3-6-3 double plays per opportunity is .073, with a standard deviation of .0345.   Goodman is 3.45 standard deviations above the norm.  Only one player is even two standard deviations below the norm:

 

Last

First

T

Oppor

DP

Pct

Thomas

Lee

L

120

0

.000

Hatteberg

Scott

R

153

1

.007

Jordan

Ricky

R

139

1

.007

Merkle

Fred

R

123

1

.008

Dunn

Adam

R

110

1

.009

Bell

Josh E.

R

106

1

.009

Horton

Tony

R

147

2

.014

Oliver

Al

L

212

3

.014

Perry

Gerald

R

203

3

.015

Cepeda

Orlando

R

522

8

.015

 

Except for Cepeda, those are all guys who didn’t have a lot of opportunities; no doubt Thomas would have gotten a few if he had had more chances.  Thomas was a guy from the Yankee farm system, in the minors from 1954 to 1960.  He drove in 122 runs in the minors in 1959, didn’t make the majors in 1960, drove in 112 in 117 games in the minors in 1960.   He was a notorious hothead, expansion finally got him to the majors in 1961, but probably two years late.  He had a couple of good years with the bat.   I got to know him a little bit later; he worked for the Red Sox when I was first there.  Scott Hatteberg is second from the bottom; his late-in-life transition to first base was documented in Moneyball. 

Expected double plays per opportunity are .073.  By comparing expected double plays to actual, we can measure the distance between the player and the average, over the course of his career:

 

Last

First

T

Oppor

DP

Margin

McQuinn

George

L

426

73

42

Pujols

Albert

R

544

81

41

Hrbek

Kent

R

386

66

38

Mattingly

Don

L

459

71

37

Overbay

Lyle

L

367

58

31

Kuhel

Joe

L

505

68

31

Goldschmidt

Paul

R

339

55

30

Judge

Joe

L

442

58

26

Blue

Lu

L

412

55

25

Stevens

Lee

L

237

42

25

 

George McQuinn was 43 double plays better than an average first baseman. 

George McQuinn was Keith Hernandez before Keith Hernandez was.  He was a left-handed hitting, left-handed throwing first baseman, outstanding on defense, and with batting stats also very similar to Hernandez’.   He played his best years in St. Louis, for the Browns, in spite of which he made the All Star team seven times.   He made the All Star team five times with the Browns, which I would guess might be a record, I don’t know, and then made it twice more with the Yankees toward the end of his career.   St. Louis, New York.  Same as Hernandez. 

He hit like Hernandez, too, getting 195 hits each year his first two real seasons in the majors, scored 100 runs each year, had a good strikeout to walk ratio, hit 12 to 20 homers every year and hit a lot of doubles and triples.  He was as close to Keith Hernandez as you can get. 

At the bottom of the list is Orlando Cepeda:

 

Last

First

T

Oppor

DP

Margin

Cepeda

Orlando

R

522

8

-30

Garvey

Steve

R

561

13

-28

Grace

Mark

L

712

31

-21

McCovey

Willie

L

550

21

-19

Fournier

Jack

R

321

5

-18

McGriff

Fred

L

579

24

-18

Helton

Todd

L

789

40

-18

Powell

Boog

R

399

15

-14

Trosky

Hal

R

344

11

-14

Hodges

Gil

R

639

33

-14

 

Mostly those guys were not good first basemen and nobody would argue about it, but there are some surprises on the list.   Mark Grace I would have expected to be on "leaders" list, not the list of players on the bottom, and Gil Hodges was a great defensive first baseman, at least by reputation.  Todd Helton was a good first basemen. 

All of this reminds us that there are other variables in here that we’re not tracking.  We’re counting 3-6-3 Double Plays, but ignoring (I think) 3-6-1 Double Plays.  Some teams are really insistent on the pitcher covering first on a potential double play; other teams don’t care as much.  Probably there are many more 3-6-3 double plays than 3-6-1, but until we study it, we don’t know.  Maybe 3-6-1 DPs are 10% of 3-6-3 DPs, maybe they’re 40%.  We don’t know.  If they’re 40%, then on some teams they might be 80%.  There’s a variable there that we’re not tracking.

Not in any way suggesting the Chestnut should have counted these as well; it’s work, and it is time-consuming.  I appreciate what he did do; I’m not complaining about what he didn’t.  But we don’t know.  In some eras they start the runner in a double play situation quite a bit; in other eras (like now) they don’t do that.  Not all shortstops are created equal; sometimes you don’t get the 3-6-3 DP because the shortstop is slow.  I don’t know why Mark Grace and Gil Hodges have low 3-6-3 totals.  I’m sure we’ll eventually figure it out.

 

Now, I may owe an apology to Steve Garvey, because I have written about this subject many times, but here we are again.  Not having a good throwing arm is not a moral failing; I don’t have a good throwing arm, either.  Garvey very explicitly acknowledged in his autobiography that he had a poor arm, that he did not trust his arm and that he would not make a throw unless he had to.  I respect the fact that he took ownership of his weakness.

Garvey is -28 on double plays, which is the second-worst of all time.  But the reason I keep coming back to this is:  I can’t get people to understand how unusual it was.  It’s like the thing I was talking about on twitter yesterday, about Albert Pujols and players who were way above .300 and wound up hitting less than .300.   You say that, people start saying oh, this is like Mantle or this is like Cecil Cooper or this is like Jeff Bagwell or this is like Enos Slaughter.  No no no no no; you’re missing the point.  It isn’t like ANY of those—or anybody else.   Pujols was 180 hits above .300.  This is more than Mantle, Cecil Cooper, Bagwell and Slaughter combined.  It’s a unique thing. 

And the same with Garvey’s throwing problem.  It’s a unique thing.  People will start saying that Steve Balboni couldn’t throw and Frank Thomas couldn’t throw and Cecil Fielder couldn’t throw, etc.   No no no no no; you’re missing the point.  It’s a unique thing. 

And here, because of the work of Chris Chestnut, I finally have the goods to maybe make a few people understand.  I’ll give you the data in a minute. 

The importance of Chestnut’s research is not that it finishes the subject; it is that it opens it up.  It is likely, not certain but likely, that a first baseman who has a high total of 3-6-3 Double Plays also has a high total of 3-6-1 Double Plays.   It is likely that he has a higher total of simple 3-6 forceouts, each one of which keeps a runner out of scoring position.  It is likely that when he has to make a relay throw home 9-3-2, or when he has to cut it off and throw to second, 9-3-4, it is likely that he is better at it.  It is likely that when he has to field a ball with a runner on third and fire it home (3-2), he is good at it.   The 3-6-3 double plays are the tip of the iceberg.

And, although Chestnut did not focus on that and did not seem to be aware of it, his research actually shows us another good chunk of the iceberg.  Think about it.  Chestnut defines a 3-6 forceout OR a 3-6-3 Double play as an "attempt".  If you take the "attempts" and you subtract the 3-6-3 Double plays, what do you have left?  YOU HAVE THE FORCEOUTS.  

It may well be that the most important evidence to come out of Chestnut’s study is not actually what he was focused on, but what he also happened to count, which is the forceouts.   According to Chestnut, Steve Garvey had 561 "opportunities" is his career to attempt a double play, but made only 61 "attempts" at starting a double play.   That means that, the other 500 times, he just let the runner from first go to second base.  He just let the runner from first go to second base!  89% of the time, 500 times in 561 opportunities, he just let him go. 

I just invented a new stat there, sort of—"Runners Advanced by Inaction" or "Runners Allowed to Advance" or something.  Garvey was at 89.1%.

How unusual is this number?   The norm for all first baseman is 64.6%.  The average first baseman PREVENTED the advance from first base into scoring position 35% of the time.  Garvey did it 11% of the time.  This is rather a stunning difference.   Garvey is 3.3 standard deviations worse than the norm. 

The consequence of this is that Garvey allowed a runner to move uncontested into scoring position 138 more times than an average first baseman.  This has, I would think, almost exactly the same effect as 138 stolen bases. 

Baseball players are evaluated, over the course of a career, on a scale of thousands of bases.  138 bases is not the difference between a good player and a bad player.   138 bases is not something to sneeze at, either.  Each base (first to second) is about .16 runs.  The cost of NOT making that throw to nail the runner at second was about 22 runs. 

These are the worst first basemen of all time, in terms of just allowing runners to move uncontested from first base to second base:

 

Last

First

T

Oppor

Att

Runner Advanced

Cost

Garvey

Steve

R

561

61

.891

-138

McCovey

Willie

L

550

148

.731

-47

Cepeda

Orlando

R

522

139

.734

-46

Buckner

Bill

L

581

161

.723

-45

Stuart

Dick

R

292

59

.798

-44

McGwire

Mark

R

458

118

.742

-44

Thomas

Frank E.

R

215

35

.837

-41

Dropo

Walt

R

357

87

.756

-39

Pipp

Wally

L

496

141

.716

-35

Burns

George H.

R

397

106

.733

-35

 

The cost to Garvey’s teams from this weakness was basically three times the cost for the next-worst player in this respect.  That’s what I was trying to get to:  Garvey’s unwillingness to throw, out of fear that he would throw the ball away, is not like a "common" thing.  It is a completely unique thing.  Nobody is comparable; nobody else is anything like that. 

 

If you look at the list above. . .these are not famously good fielding first basemen.  Dick Stuart. . .whenever Dick Stuart is on a list of the worst ever, it validates the method, because Stuart is the most famous bad fielding first baseman in baseball history.  McCovey, Frank Thomas, Walt Dropo. . .these guys are not famous for their fielding.   

But Garvey won four Gold Gloves in his career.  Doesn’t it seem to you relevant that Garvey just. . .wouldn’t throw?   I will bet you that when we document 3-2 plays and 3-5 plays and 3-4 plays, Garvey is also going to be near the bottom of those lists.   I’m not denying that Garvey may have done some things well with the glove. 

Well, finish up here. . . this is the list of the players who were BEST at taking out the runner at second base:

Last

First

T

Oppor

Att

Runner Advanced

Benefit

Kuhel

Joe

L

505

268

.469

89

Hernandez

Keith

L

688

332

.517

88

Olerud

John

L

574

290

.495

87

McQuinn

George

L

426

215

.495

64

Overbay

Lyle

L

367

192

.477

62

Mattingly

Don

L

459

223

.514

61

Vernon

Mickey

L

658

293

.555

60

Cooper

Cecil

L

425

205

.518

55

Hrbek

Kent

R

386

184

.523

47

Konerko

Paul

R

446

204

.543

46

 

Those are all famously good first basemen, or at least the top 9 are; not confident about Konerko.   But Mattingly, Mickey Vernon, Hernandez, Olerud, Joe Kuhel. . .the greatest defensive first basemen of all time.   Vic Power, in a shorter career, was +24 on 431 chances. 

I could write another 10, 20 pages about where Bill Terry ranks, and where George Sisler is and where Moose Skowron fits and Willie Aikens and Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx and Ted Kluszewski, etc.   I’ll try to answer a few questions about that, if you are interested.  I am reluctant to print the whole chart, because it is someone else’s research.  But I appreciate very much his efforts, and I am very pleased to have hard information about this area of performance.  

 
 

COMMENTS (28 Comments, most recent shown first)

DefenseHawk
One thing we won't be able to calculate (until some time-traveler furnishes us with all the video tapes of games from the 1970s and 1980s) is how many runs Steve Garvey saved for the Dodgers by digging errant throws out of the dirt.

One way might have been to look at throwing errors by the infield in games Garvey played for the Dodgers v. games he didn't. But since Garvey had that iron streak, that won't work.

I seem to recall he was also good at applying the pick-off tag. Better than other first baseman? Stats can tell us that.

And like shthat speculated, the "runs" that Garvey allowed by not throwing to second can be partially mitigated by fewer throwing errors.

And as someone else mentioned somewhere, there may have been a team procedure at work here, especially on sacrifice hits (anyone remember those?). That perhaps the Dodgers organizationally preferred taking the sure out and letting the runner(s) advance on a sacrifice.​
12:02 AM Sep 11th
 
KaiserD2
Catching up here after some absence, partly because the site's alert system no longr works consistently.

George McQuinn had to be one of the worst mistakes in the history of the New York Yankees' organization. Although they can't entirely be blamed for how things went. They apparently signed him at 22 in 1932. (I had forgotten how old he was.) He bounced back and forth between the Yankees and Reds minor league systems all the way through 1937. Of course, as of 1937, Gehrig was still Gehrig, and the Yankees couldn't know that he had only one year left. McQuinn went to the Browns and became a regular there in 1938--when he was already 28! As Bill points out, he performed very well with them. Meanwhile, Gehrig got sick and retired, and the Yankees had a different first baseman every year for, I believe, eight years, none of them very good. In 1947 they reacquired MQuinn, then 38. He was one of the team's stars that year and came in 6th in the MVP voting. But he was a part-timer in 1948.
If McQuinn had still been the Yankees in 1939 I think he very likely be in the Hall of fame.
11:37 AM Mar 21st
 
tickeno
My memory of Garvey's arm is that he hurt it playing football in college.
1:55 AM Mar 20th
 
Joe_Start
Here's a mystery (to me): LH 1B clearly have an advantage throwing to 2B. As Bill shows in his final chart, the 1B who get the most forces at 2B (DP or not) are mainly lefties. BUT, lefties do not dominate among the top DP 1B in the same way. It appears that Pujoys, Goldschmidt, and Morneau are among the best ever at turning DPs. Is there something about the righties that allows them to close the gap when it comes to DPs specifically? With the return throw coming from a RH SS, on the home plate side of the base path, does having the glove on the left hand provide a slight edge to RH 1B?


As it is a double play situation, that means a runner is on first and being held by the fielder.

Almost all first basemen come off the bag inside the base line.

A right handed thrower who has to go into the hole to field the ball will make a throw with his body.

A left handed first baseman making the same play has to throw across his body.

A right handed first baseman holding a runner faces the 2nd base-3rd base line, looking more towards second.

A left handed first basement holding a runner faces the 3rd base - home plate line, looking more towards the front of the coaching box.

Easier throw for the right handed fielder.

Think of Eric Hosmer coming home so score in the World Series. The right handed first baseman had to throw across his body to home. Reverse that for a left hander throwing towards second. Plus, a left handed throw will tail away from second base, will the right hander's throw will tail into the base.
8:04 AM Mar 14th
 
Steven Goldleaf
In line with AJD600's comment about 3-5 plays, how many times do you suppose Keith Hernandez pulled off a 3-5-4 DP like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scdigGGuppU ? (Disregard Tim McCarver confusing "outfielders" and "infielders" and also disregard who's the pivot guy on this DP.) Even if the career tally is only something like Hernandez 3, Garvey 0, that doesn't account for all the bunt attempts Hernandez's ability discouraged, so the smallest edge in 3-5-x DPs may be significant.
6:31 AM Mar 14th
 
CharlesSaeger
@everyone: Chestnut has an updated file for this at Retrosheet.
8:58 PM Mar 13th
 
Guy123
Here's a mystery (to me): LH 1B clearly have an advantage throwing to 2B. As Bill shows in his final chart, the 1B who get the most forces at 2B (DP or not) are mainly lefties. BUT, lefties do not dominate among the top DP 1B in the same way. It appears that Pujoys, Goldschmidt, and Morneau are among the best ever at turning DPs. Is there something about the righties that allows them to close the gap when it comes to DPs specifically? With the return throw coming from a RH SS, on the home plate side of the base path, does having the glove on the left hand provide a slight edge to RH 1B?
11:55 AM Mar 13th
 
wovenstrap
Very interesting! Thinking about it, the similarity between first basemen being able to *choose* 3-1 ground outs or 3— putouts (as once explicated by Bill) has limited applicability to the 3-6-1/3-6-3 distinction. The placement of the ground ball is going to dictate which of the two plays happens and also, it's the "6-3" part that is the really challenging part of the double play from the first baseman's perspective.
11:36 AM Mar 13th
 
Guy123
wovenstrap: I doubt that 363 double plays are correlated with other double plays. As I noted below, 1B who are good at turning the DP have much higher proportions of 363 plays. Here are 363 and Other double plays for a few 1B at the extremes:

363/Other DP
Pujols 83 / 39
Mattingly 75 / 39
Garvey 13 / 38
Cepeda 8 / 42
9:47 AM Mar 13th
 
wovenstrap
I don't think it was stated that a team with a high number of 3-6-1 double plays is going to *reduce* the number of 3-6-3 double plays, potentially. You have to count them both. On the one hand, yes, a first baseman capable of making that throw consistently is going to lead to both outcomes. But obviously, if you are Eddie Murray spending most of your career with a single franchise, and that franchise has specific instructions to the pitcher on covering the mound, your 3-6-3 numbers are going to be very affected by that.
8:22 AM Mar 13th
 
garywmaloney
Concerning Garvey - his arm was the reason he floundered for more than three years (1969 to mid-73), even though his hitting was obviously good. He had a cannon arm that he couldn't control at 3b, kept putting 'em in the seats. Alston, like Weaver, figured out what his players COULD do, and let them do it -- Garvey finally to 1st, move Buckner to OF, and send OF Russell to SS.

Garvey's refusal to throw -- documented by Bill in "Win Shares," his explanation of Buckner v. Garvey (Buck would DEMAND pitchers cover first) -- was a choice. Garvey always went to the bag himself, always avoided a throw unless the situation demanded it. Can you blame him, after spending those years in fielding purgatory?

Yes, it cost the Dodgers some runs. They won anyway, 1974-82, with Garvey playing every game at 1b. Four divisions, four WS, lots of second-place finishes. Garvey's other virtues balanced the loss, and his move to 1b cleared the way for 3b Ron Cey (whose Win Share totals roughly equal Garvey's).
1:54 AM Mar 13th
 
Poincare
Shthar, the other outfielder you are thinking of is Ron LeFlore. I clearly remember Bill writing that in one of his Baseball Abstracts (I think it was the 1984 edition).
9:33 PM Mar 12th
 
shthar
Any way we can tell how many fewer throwing errors Garvey had (didn't had?) by holding onto the ball?

I remember a comparison of two outfielders, I think one was Amos Otis, and the non-otis OF, when there was a hit with men on base, ALWAYS threw to try to get the runner at the plate, While Amos, who didn't have the greatest arm, would thow to second to keep the hitter at 1b.

This led to more assists for one OF, which made people think he was better, but was Amos actually doing better by keeping the batter on first, not letting him advance and not risking an error on the throw and play at the plate.

Pretty sure Bill said Amos was making the smarter play.

Is that what Garvey is doing here? If his arm is so bad even he talked about it, do we want him trying to make those throws?

Can we tell how many or how little throwing errors firstbase men have?




5:05 PM Mar 12th
 
Guy123
John Olerud has an unusual profile among the high-DP 1B. Only 46% of his DP were 3-6-3 plays (53), while he had nearly as many (50) 3-6-1 plays and also 12 3-6 plays. In fact, if you credit Olerud with his 12 3-6 double plays, then he becomes the leader on Bill's last table with 99 total runners taken out (Kuhel has 95, Hernandez 90).
4:46 PM Mar 12th
 
CharlesSaeger
bjames: would you be willing to post the list of top standard deviations better or worse than average?​
3:55 PM Mar 12th
 
CharlesSaeger
Note: there is going to be some missing data for 3-6 plays from before 1958 or so, since many game accounts from before the mid-1950s need to be deduced. Double plays, however, do not suffer from this lack, since they're listed in the box score in exactly the order they are turned (i.e., Guidry-Meacham-Mattingly is different from Mattingly-Meacham-Guidry). But this is great.
3:54 PM Mar 12th
 
Guy123
Brock: You can see Sisler's DP totals (or the Browns') at B-Ref. Here is 1920, for example, when SLB led MLB in 3-6-3 DP (8). You can also see 1B assists at second base:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/1920-specialpos_1b-fielding.shtml


3:28 PM Mar 12th
 
Brock Hanke
If you're going to do George Sisler, could you break his numbers down into before 1923 and then after? Sisler's Win Shares per season basically get cut in half by the double vision. And I found a source, which suggests that his Defensive Win Shares did the same. He goes from an A grade (by the book Win Shares' method) to a flat F. It would be interesting to find out just how much the double vision hindered him in turning DPs. Was it worse on DPs than on other 1B pays? My guess would be that it was, because double vision would affect his chances of getting to a ball quickly, and would also affect the accuracy of his throws.
2:32 PM Mar 12th
 
Guy123
According to Chestnut, Steve Garvey had 561 "opportunities" is his career to attempt a double play, but made only 61 "attempts" at starting a double play. That means that, the other 500 times, he just let the runner from first go to second base.

That's almost right. What it leaves out is plays where the 1B initially takes the out at 1B and then gets the runner at 2B on a tag play. Presumably that's just as good for the team as a 3-6-3. And Garvey did that 36 times. So the runner advanced to second 36 fewer times than estimated here, making Garvey about 6 runs better -- less bad -- than his -138 rating. Cepeda had 28 of these plays, McCovey 14, McGwire 20, and Buckner just 5.
2:16 PM Mar 12th
 
abiggoof
Is anyone else 3X worse at a particular function than everyone in all of baseball history?
2:00 PM Mar 12th
 
jfenimore
This is a tremendous eye-opener, which is why Bill James and those who followed him have become transformational figures.
1:05 PM Mar 12th
 
Gfletch
willibphx wrote:

"Surprised a bit that Wes Parker did not make an appearance on any of the lists."

And like Garvey, a Dodger. I wonder if there might be a weak indication here that Garvey's lack of 3-6-3 attempts had something to do with an organizational insistence on taking the sure out.

I doubt it, but just wondering.
12:10 PM Mar 12th
 
AJD600
I was at PETCO park about 6 yrs ago and saw Wil Myers at 1B cut down a Phillies' runner at 3B on a 3-5 play with nobody out. The 3-5 play is mentioned in the 3-6-3 article but I had never seen it before except on a bunt in 65 yrs of watching baseball. It was not a forceout. How common is this?
12:08 PM Mar 12th
 
Guy123
BB-Ref does have detailed data on double plays initiated by 1B, breaking down 3-6-3, 3-6-1, and 3-6 plays separately. Over the past 5 seasons (2015-19) it looks like this:
3-6-3 499 (45%)
3-6-1 376 (34%)
3-6 231 (21%)

Here is the overall DP% (all DP / opportunities) for some of the 1B highlighted in the article:
Mattingly 24.8%
McQuinn 22.5
Hrbek 22.5
Pujols 22.4
Keith 17.3
Hodges 13.3
Cepeda 9.6
Grace 9.4
Garvey 9.0

And the ratio of 363 to total DPs does seem to vary significantly, with strong fielders tending to have a higher proportion of the 363 variety. (So looking only at 363s will tend to make those who are weak on DPs look even worse than they really are.)
363%:
Mattingly 66%
McQuinn 76%
Hrbek 77%
Pujols 68%
Keith 63%
Hodges 39%
Cepeda 16%
Grace 48%
Garvey 25%
11:27 AM Mar 12th
 
bhalbleib
Hmm, does player positioning change this at all? For instance, for recent years (and I guess the Cleveland Naps) should we be looking for 3-4-3 or even 3-5-3 DPs. Maybe there are not enough of those to really change the numbers.
10:22 AM Mar 12th
 
malbuff
I'll have to go out to retrosheet and see how J.T. Snow measures up. Honestly, I don't remember a lot of 3-6 action with him, except for the division-series-winning play against Atlanta. I remember him digging out every throw to first (as with Garvey) and grabbing a lot of fair/foul popups.
8:51 AM Mar 12th
 
willibphx
Surprised a bit that Wes Parker did not make an appearance on any of the lists.
7:43 AM Mar 12th
 
3for3
Curious about Ryan Howard.
1:22 AM Mar 12th
 
 
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