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Selfish, Contributing, Combination and Weak Hitters

January 18, 2023
         Selfish, Contributing, Combination and Weak Hitters


            In responding to a question posed yesterday by Brock Hanke, I accidentally hit on what may or may not be a useful way of thinking about team offense.

            Suppose there is a team, a kind of an average team, which has 1,450 hits, 600 walks/hit batsmen, and 2200 total bases in 5,500 at bats.  Such a team would score about 739 runs.   Suppose that there is one hitter on that team who hits .263 with a .333 on base percentage and a .400 slugging percentage; we could call that player Troy Tulowitzki, because Tulowitzki in 2008 hit .263 with a .332 on base percentage and a .401 slugging percentage.    Let’s give that player 600 at bats. 

            Suppose, however, that we replace Troy Tulowitzki with a player who hits .315 with a .400 on base percentage and a .400 slugging percentage.  That would be Rod Carew in 1982 (.319/.396/.403), so we could say that’s Rod Carew.   Or suppose, alternatively, that we take Tulowitzki out of the lineup, but we replace him with a player hitting .263, Tulowitzki’s average, but with more power (.523 slugging) but less on base percentage (.320).  That would be Dick Stuart in 1963 (.261/.312/.521) or Nelson Cruz in 2009 (.260/.332/.524).  We’ll call this player Nelson Cruz. 

            Replacing Tulowitzki with either Carew or Nelson Cruz has essentially the same effect.  Either substitution would make the team about 22 runs better, moving them up to 761 runs scored.   But suppose the team then makes a second similar substitution, replacing a second neutral-type hitter with a second on-base hitter (a second Rod Carew) versus a second power hitter (a second Nelson Cruz.)  The second substitution to a Rod Carew type player, because there are more runners now on base, will have MORE effect than the first such substitution.  But making a second substitution of a low-average power hitter into the lineup, because there are fewer runners now on base, will have LESS effect than did the first one.   The Nelson Cruz type hitter improves the offense by driving in more runs, thus leaving fewer runners on base, but he reduces the number of runners on base in two different ways—first by driving them in, and second by not getting on base himself.   The more times you substitute power for runners on base, the less effective the substitution becomes. 

            To be fully transparent here, as Joe Biden likes to say, this effect is trivial to negligible as long as we are talking about just one or two players.  The more you do it, though, the more significant it becomes.   There is a law of diminishing returns that applies. 

            It is clear that we are seeing those diminishing returns.  Let us take, for example, all players in history who had 550 to 650 plate appearances, hit 25 to 35 home runs, and had slugging percentages of .450 to .550.  In the 1950s there were 60 such players, of whom 29 drove in 100  or more runs. They averaged 608 plate appearances, 23 doubles, 29 homers, 98  RBI.  Half of them minus one drove in 100 or more runs.

            In the last decade (2010 to 2019) there were 145 such players.  They averaged 608 plate appearances, 30 doubles and 29 homers—but only 33 of the 145 players drove in 100 runs  That’s 23%.  A player now drives in fewer runs than a player with the same number of singles, doubles, triples and homers two generations ago, because there aren’t as many runners on base around him. 

            Again, we don’t know at this time whether this is a meaningful effect, or merely a documental change.  The players in the 1950s drove in 98 runs on average; in the 2010s, they drove in 90.  It’s not a huge difference.  In the 1950s, only one player in the group drove in less than 75 runs, that being Woody Held, who drove in 71.  In the 2010s, 15 of those players drove in less than 75 runs, with the low being 59 RBI.   We don’t know whether this means that baseball teams could do better by mixing in more high on-base guys on not; I’m just trying to create a way to discuss the issue. 

            Which is this.   Suppose that we call the low-on-base, high-power hitters "selfish" hitters, meaning they drive in themselves, and the high on-base, low-power hitters "contributing" hitters.   That’s what I said yesterday.

            Well, OK, but what about players who have BOTH high on base percentages and high slugging?   Guys like Mickey Mantle, not that Mantle would be typical of the group.  We will call them "combination" hitters, and those who are low in both areas, we will call "weak" hitters.   And there will need to be a fifth group, which is guys who are just sort of middle-of-the-pack in both areas.  We will call them Centrist Hitters. 

            If a player has an on base percentage greater than .340 and a slugging percentage less than .425, we will describe him as a "contributing" type of hitter.

            If a player has a slugging percentage over .440 and an on base percentage below .330, we describe him as a "selfish" type of hitter.

            If a player has an on base percentage greater than .340 and a slugging percentage greater than .450, we will describe him a "combination" hitter. 

            If a player has an on base percentage under .300 and a slugging percentage under .400, we will describe him as dead space.  Just kidding; we will designate him as a weak hitter. 

            And if a player fits into none of those four groups, we will call him a Centrist type of hitter.   We’re actually going to wind up with 6 groups of hitters here. 

            In baseball history through 2019 there were 13,280 hitters who had 500 or more plate appearances in a season (the file I am working with hasn’t been updated since 2019.  Or maybe it was 2020, but nobody from 2020 had 500 plate appearances.)

            Of those 13,280 hitters, 2,773 are classified as contributing hitters, or 21%. 

            1,172 are classified as selfish hitters, or about 9%. 

            3,892 are "combination" hitters, or 39%.

            1,017 are classified as weak hitters or 8%.

            3,964 are classified as centrist hitters, or 30%. 

            462 are classified as not-category hitters, or 3%.   Non-category hitters are either hitters who get on base too much to be considered weak hitters, but who have slugging percentages well below the normal range, or players who have very high on base percentages, but not enough power to be classified as combination hitters. 


            From year to year, players bounce between categories.  Craig Biggio had several seasons in which he is classified as a contributing hitter, and some seasons in which he is classified as a selfish hitter.  Only "extreme" type hitters are locked into one group. 

            The most productive player ever in Group 1 (contributing hitters) was Sliding Billy Hamilton, from the 1890s.  Other prominent players who had many seasons in this area include Roberto Alomar, Matty Alou, Luke Appling, Richie Ashburn, Craig Biggio, Maxie Bishop, Wade Boggs, Lou Brock, Brett Butler, Eddie Collins, Dom DiMaggio, Ferris Fain, Curt Flood, Nellie Fox, Bret Gardner, Tony Gwynn, Stan Hack, Rickey Henderson, Billy Herman. . .well, you get the idea.  But I will also note that Bobby Grich, Carl Yastrzemski, and Darrell Evans also had numerous seasons in this category, since they also had many years in which they were productive hitters but with slugging percentages below .425. 

            The most productive player ever in Group 2 (selfish hitters) was Alfonso Soriano in 2002 and 2003.   Soriano was a leadoff hitter in those years; it is perhaps an odd place in the lineup to place this type of a hitter.   Others who represent this group would include Garrett Anderson, Tony Armas, Ernie Banks, George Bell, Andre Dawson, Adrian Beltre, Joe Carter, Willie Davis, Juan Gonzales, Torii Hunter, Dave Kingman, Lance Parrish, sometimes Dave Parker, Salvi Perez and Matt Williams.  Frank Thomas, the 1950s guy who just passed away, was almost always in this category. 

            Almost all of the greatest hitters in history were combination hitters, Group 3, while weak hitters, Group 4, rarely stay in the league long enough to become recognizable names.  


            But here is what I was trying to get to. 

            In the 19th century, the ratio of contributing players to selfish players was 339 to 9, or 37 to 1.   Baseball was a game in which each player tried to get on base, and each player tried to advance teammates on the bases.  It was a team game, in which runs were generated by community actions.

            From 1900 to 1919, that ratio was 515 to 15, or 34 to 1.

            From 1920 to 1939, the ratio of contributing to selfish hitters was 440 to 28, or 16 to 1.

            From 1940 to 1959, the ratio was 390 to 79, or 5 to 1.

            From 1960 to 1980, the ratio was 375 to 211, or 1.78 to 1.

            From 1980 to 1999, the ratio was 394 to 301, or 1.31 to 1.

            From 2000 to 2019, the ratio was 322 to 529, or .61 to 1, or 1.64 to 1 going the other direction.  More RBI men than players who are getting on base for them. 

            I think we have to accept that, unless there is a historic re-direction, a radical change in the trend line, over the next generation the ratio will be 3 to 1 or higher in favor of the selfish type of hitter.   And the implications of that are immense.  It is not really a "team" game anymore; it is a game of individual actions.  This may mean that our offensive formulas don’t work anymore.  It may mean that the players that are available and the players that teams need just don’t match anymore; that is, that the Tony Gwynn-style players that would most benefit a typical team just are not anywhere to be found, because players have not been trained to play that way.   It may mean that we are miscalculating value in players, because what we figuring in effect is how valuable players WOULD HAVE BEEN to teams 40 years ago, rather than how valuable they are now.  It may mean that the game that we are watching is not the game that we grew up watching, the game that we decided to adopt when we were young.  And it may mean that the public just doesn’t like the game anymore.  They don’t want to watch. 

            Or not.  But it is something that we need to understand better.  



COMMENTS (34 Comments, most recent shown first)

Let's not be insulting (77Royals), OK? This isn't Twitter.

The first step to increasing balls in play, I believe, (and I got this idea from one of Bill James's recommendations) is fatter bats. Let's see how that improves matters and go from there.
5:10 PM Jan 24th
A lot of 'selfish' and 'combo' hitters ARE Contributing hitters.

When they have the platoon advantage.

And some 'contributing' hitters aint, when they don't have the platoon advantage.

7:41 PM Jan 23rd
I should also mention that the RC model is probably not the best dynamic run estimation model for this task. Better would be BsR (base runs), better yet would be Tango's Markov simulator, and better than that would a Markov simulation that took into account different performances in each lineup spot.

That said, I suspect that if the "Carews" were of identical quality to the "Cruzs" (according to whatever model you're using), substituting in Carews wll be better than substituting in Cruzs only if the initial team had a fair amount of power to begin with.
9:29 PM Jan 22nd
Paraphrasing Mongo162:

An obvious approach to examining this question would be to run simulated games with all 9 lineups of:

9/8/7... contributing batters and 0/1/2... selfish batters

all with the same individual runs created.
I expect without running the study, that the optimum number of selfish hitters would be 0, due to the reasons that Bill James stated.

Note that Bill's Carew has a higher RC27 than Bill's Cruz (6.31 for .315/.400/.400 vs. 6.13 for .263/.320/.523). If you bump up Cruz's SLG a little bit (.538) to put him on the same RC27 as Carew, the RC model shows that Cruz is better than Carew at all levels of substitution into the Tulowitzki team (.264/.336/.400). While it is true that the marginal value of each additional "super" Cruz (.538 SLG) decreases (initially 22, decreases to 19) and the marginal value of additional Carews increases (initially 19, increases to 22), the RC by Tulow team with Cruz substituted in is always higher than the RC of the Tulo team with Carew substituted. RC = OBP*SLG/(1-AVG)*4050
9:16 PM Jan 22nd
77Royals said, "Doesn't anyone pay attention to history? This all started in the '90's, when all the new stadiums were being built." On the contrary, Bill's data show that this change in hitter-type ratio began long ago, closer to the 1890s than the 1990s.

Bill has often noted that strikeouts have increased over the same period of time, through to the present; I suspect that the two trends are not unrelated.
1:43 PM Jan 22nd
A hitter is only allowed x number of true outcomes in his career. After that he is permanently banned and has to live with Pete Rose.
5:28 PM Jan 21st
Actually 36 different combinations,
4:45 PM Jan 21st
"8 contributing and 0 selfish batter" in the post below should be:

"8 contributing and 1 selfish batter"
3:18 PM Jan 21st
An obvious approach to examining this question would be to run simulated games with all 9 lineups of:

9 contibuting batters
8 contributing and 0 selfish batter
0 contributing and 9 selfish batters

all with the same individual runs created. Put the selfish batters in the obvious spots in the lineup for that number of selfish batters. Simulate a large number of games (at least 100,000 gameseach) with each of the 9 lineups versus each of the other 8 lineups (45 combinations).

Obviously this is not realistic at all, but it does isolate the effect we are studying.

I expect without running the study, that the optimum number of selfish hitters would be 0, due to the reasons that Bill James stated.
3:17 PM Jan 21st
What are the aggregate totals of each group, anyways?
1:26 PM Jan 21st
Still think the best idea is one of Bill's old ones. Increase the size of the bat handle. Slows down swing speeds and forces the hitter to try and make more contact rather than swing from the heels. I would expect HRs and Ks to both decrease. Perhaps increase minimum weight for the bats as well.​
9:42 AM Jan 21st
Doesn't anyone pay attention to history?

This all started in the '90's, when all the new stadiums were being built. They pulled in all the fences and lowered them. Specifically for more homeruns and high light catches at the wall that made the league a bunch of money from video high litghts.

All these wild, crazy-ass ideas are just that. And don't need to be even considerded.

Just move the fences back 15 feet and raise the minimum height to at least 12 feet.

In places that can't be done, put up a plexiglass wall, so the fans can still see.

There were no problems with the layouts of the fields and the rules in the '70's and '80's, after the new influx of stadiums. Runners on bases, speed, defense, pitching and common sense all prevailed during that time period.

It was only during the building craze of the '90's and after that the fields got to small for the players.

Get the dimensions of all parks back to where they were in 1986. That will solve the issue, not the ridiculous ones being thrown around here.

Then the true home run hitters can hit all the homers they want, and the rest of the league can play baseall.

6:33 AM Jan 21st
Here’s an idea. Might be a terrible one with other downsides, but to encourage more swinging the bat:

1. On the first pitch, if taken it counts double. If a ball then it’s a 2-0 count. If you take a first pitch strike, it’s 0-2 and you’re pretty much done.
2. Swinging strikes, or foul balls still count as 1 strike.
3. After 1st pitch, it’s back to normal. In a 0-1 count the hitter will not be called out for taking a strike.

Big incentive to get that first pitch over the plate. Big incentive to swing. Although I guess a guy like Wade Boggs, who was always comfortable taking a first pitch strike, could intentionally swing and miss.
9:46 AM Jan 20th
Whoops. Math error in my comment below. The team of Carews would score 946 runs, and the team of Cruises would score 920 runs. But the high level thing still holds: it should not be surprising that as you substitute in more Carews, the team does better than if you substitute in more Cruises.
9:40 AM Jan 20th
By the Runs Created model, a team of Carews (.315 / .400 / .400) would score 1080 runs in a season (4050 outs, like in Bill's baseline team). A team of Cruzes (Cruises?) (.263 / .320 / .523) would score 997 runs in a season. So it should not be surprising that as you substitute in more Carews, the team does better than if you substitute in more Cruises.
9:28 AM Jan 20th
Very interesting and thought provoking article. I think there are at least two main areas of thought triggered by this article: (1) What is the most efficient ('best') mix of player types for producing runs/wins; (2) How can baseball be made more entertaining than it is today?

So some questions for both areas:

(1) Can we determine the proper mix of player types? What is the mix of player types in Japanese MLB? If Western Hemisphere Baseball (mostly driven by MLB) will not develop 'team' players, and it is felt that such player types will help teams to win can they be brought/bought from Japanese Leagues? ......

(2) We have seen that the current trends in MLB are losing fans. Can this trend be fixed by normal evolution in the game, e.g., identifying the right mix of players leads to more runs/wins and therefore MLB will self-correct? Or does MLB need rule changes, equipment changes, and/or field changes to improve the entertainment of the game?
12:19 AM Jan 20th
My idea before they horribly eliminated the shift was to do the opposite, make it as clear as possible the shift was absolutely going to be around forever, ideally something like a mini-agreement with the players' union that would last 20 years saying the shift had to be allowed for the entire 20 years, no restrictions on it at all, and this could only be changed from that with both a unanimous vote of the owners and a 95% vote of players.

That wouldn't be a complete solution, but it would change player development, as everyone would have to learn to not pull everything, which is one characteristic (of many) of "contributors" as opposed to "selfish" players. And everyone would be taught they should avoid pulling every pitch,

I'd also as with The Mick like to see batters encouraged to swing more (all the TTO should be decreased, and more first pitch swinging would be more exciting) but as I've written some time back on the boards, my favorite method for that is to say, as Bill has suggested 2 foul balls after two strikes are a strikeout. Then taking a strike is a lot more costly.

I wouldn't be against instead making the strike zone bigger if it were accompanied by a max of 10 pitchers per team, with safeguards against being tricky with e=injuries to have more. But if so, it should be lowering the bottom, not raising the top, as low pitches are harder to hit for homeruns. Also, that helps more finesse, sinkerball pitchers, as opposed to more high hard fastballs.
8:23 PM Jan 19th
I offer the following idea as a way to increase sequential offense and offense in general, some of this may seem counterintuitive and if Bill thinks my idea is ridiculous then it is ridiculous.
First and this is the counterintuitive part, you increase the size of the strike zone slightly up so that it's higher than the belly button maybe up to the solar plexus... something like that. The next move is you limit the amount of pictures per team to ten as teams now carry 12 and 13. The idea behind these two ideas is you give the pitchers a little something with the strike zone and now you force them to pace themselves because they are not going to have as many relief pitchers as they previously did. Increasing the size of the strike zone will have an effect on the hitters as well, it will force them to shorten up, force them to put the ball in play because these days they're waiting for the walk or the ball on the Wheelhouse and that's all they do; but because the pitchers are pacing themselves the batters might have an opportunity to hit some easier pitches. In addition another possible by-product of the larger strike zone would be the opportunity for curveball / junkball/ control pitchers to get back into the game as the higher strike in the old days was (in my opinion) definitely one of the things that made it possible for those guys to survive for so long in the big leagues before the current Generations. One additional idea perhaps even more radical would be to move the pitchers mound back 6 inches to a foot because after all, how many major league pitchers are 6 foot 5 inches and such? Whereas in the old days so many people were less than 6 ft tall playing Major League Baseball. Any thoughts?
6:36 PM Jan 19th
I think Jose Altuve would have been a contributing hitter 40 years ago or earlier. He would have hit for a high average and stolen bases. But somebody on the Astros told him that being Hobbit sized did not mean he can’t also hit homers. And for him, it worked.

And if Jose Altuve can hit the ball out of the park, good luck trying to tell the rest of the players they can’t do it.
6:05 PM Jan 19th
I think Jose Altuve would have been a contributing hitter 40 years ago or earlier. He would have hit for a high average and stolen bases. But somebody on the Astros told him that being Hobbit sized did not mean he can’t also hit homers. And for him, it worked.

And if Jose Altuve can hit the ball out of the park, good luck trying to tell the rest of the players they can’t do it.
6:05 PM Jan 19th
HOLY COW! Great article! The Orioles started hitting a lot of home runs in 2012 and started winning. After a few successful seasons despite a sad OBP, they apparently decided to just swing at almost every pitch, just swing for the fences. By 2017, the O's 6th straight year with over 210 homers, I realized that watching baseball was not fun anymore. There'd be a solo homer every half hour, but absolutely NOTHING else would happen. I had to admit that my favorite sport had become very slow and boring. The team imploded toward the end of 2017, lost 115 games the next season, then tanked.
5:38 PM Jan 19th
Some thoughts on reversing the three dull outcomes:

1. Recognize that today’s pitchers are bigger and stronger than they were in 1893 — move the mound back two feet.

2. Recognize that batters have gotten bigger and stronger too — make every fence a Green Monster by installing 15 feet of resilient netting on top. Get those cheap homers caroming around the outfield for doubles and triples instead.

3. Create an incentive for excitement — any time you hit a triple you get an extra out.
5:36 PM Jan 19th
I think this study has some potentially extraordinary --and important--findings.

But add this in: What has happened to overall run scoring as the shift toward to what Bill has tabbed "selfish" players (keeping in mind that he doesn't mean the "selfish" tag literally) has occurred? A quick look suggests that there has not been a significant change in overall run scoring. If that's he case, there are other things to think about as well...
3:50 PM Jan 19th
I couldn't agree more with your penultimate paragraph. I came of age as a baseball fan in the 70s and early 80s, when some players took runs at .400 (Brett and Gwynn), some hit 40 - 50 home runs, some got on with a lot of bunts and infield hits (Brett Butler) and some stole near 100 bases. (Understanding that SBs are at best a wash over time, but they sure added excitement to the game.) Now it's much more a matter of all teams trying to play basically the same way; it's just that some are better than others at it.

Your idea that the Gwynn/Butler/Carew typr of hitter may no loner be available saddens and worries me. Part of me says that the Moneyball Principle shoul;d kick in any time now, that those kinds of players are undervalued and should be ripe for the picking. that no one seems to be doing it implies they aren't there anymore.

I find I watch more football than baseball in recent years. My friends don;t believe it, but what you wrote here is a large part of it.
3:43 PM Jan 19th
"the Tony Gwynn-style players that would most benefit a typical team just are not anywhere to be found, because players have not been trained to play that way."

This may be the most significant observation here. If developing players at the amateur level are being drilled in the TTO hitting philosophy, it will take some formidable courage for a conference, a college program, even a coach to buck that trend.

And I wonder how much the use of aluminum bats at the amateur level has contributed to the sharp drop downward from 1980.

When I first started reading Bill's work in 1981 it was the accuracy of the runs created formula that was my first "hook." I wonder if the relative accuracy of the formula has measurably lessened over the past decade.

And I can't help but wonder if this decades-long steady decline in "contributory" hitting is the seed of that familiar old-timers' complaint, "Aaaaah, they just don't play the game the right way anymore."

1:50 PM Jan 19th
Bravo. Bill, you enlightened us decades ago that what you are now calling a selfish type hitter is less productive with a team of selfish hitters than an equivelently "run creating" "contributing" player - but that a contributing player on a team full contributing players is fine - I think, even more productive. Now you have shown that teams have become ever more full of selfish hitters and proven your old contention.

Thank you. I sure hope the baseball community takes note.
1:41 PM Jan 19th
Great article and a great observation about this dramatic change in baseball. This really resonates. I would add that another big issue with the rise of "individual" baseball is that it is BORING. At least in my opinion ...

There is a lot of talk about the "three true outcomes", strikeouts, walks and homers, but the modern game, which features a lot of these occurrences, and fewer balls in play and thus less defensive play and exciting baserunning happening (not to mention all the delays in the flow of the game from batters' long pauses between pitches and constant pitching changes), just seems more stultifying to me. I grew up in the 1980s and watched a great game with a wonderful blend of power, speed, great starting pitchers and great relief aces, wonderful contact/average hitters and great sluggers. Today's baseball seems pretty far removed from that exciting style of baseball.

It's also surprising to me that more teams haven't realized that they need more "contributing" hitters on base in front of the selfish sluggers, to use Bill's term. Or maybe they're just too rare these days? With so many pitchers throwing so hard, and getting replaced by another hard thrower in the 5th inning, etc etc, maybe making consistent contact just seems too hard, so might as well swing for the fences? What a shame.
1:18 PM Jan 19th
Deadening the ball would also lower batting averages (fewer hard hit non homeruns), so for it to work- we actually need it easier or at least not harder to hit for average, for longer sequence offenses to work- it would have to be combined with moving the pitchers' mound back as well as lowering it, or some other anti-strikeout measures.
1:14 PM Jan 19th
In the long term, the best way to accomplish what everyone seems to saying here (that we need to get back to the previous ratios of contributing vs. selfish players) is to deaden the ball. That doesn't radically change the rules of the game, which will further alienate some fans, nor the dimensions of the fields (which, of course, isn't even possible in some places), but will force hitters to start hitting more like Tony Gwynn or Rod Carew (or George Brett or Frank Thomas for that matter).

Of course, MLB should be open and honest about deadening the ball, not underhanded and opaque about it, like they usually are when they have fiddled with the ball in the past (see, e.g., the 1920s and post-strike of 1994).

Also, I am not advocating for deadening it the point that we bring back the Dead Ball Era, but enough so baseball more resembles the 1970s and 1980s (which, since that is when I grew up, is the Golden Age of Baseball)
12:33 PM Jan 19th
I'm one who likes this game very much less and has pretty much stopped watching, and I think that while some upcoming rules changes are good- time limits on batters to be ready and for pitchers to throw, which address one problem in the game- the dead time between pitches, eliminating the shift does tremendous harm because it further advantages the "selfish" players who swing their hardest and pull everything.

They need a batch of rules changes to make "selfish" players (which I agree is more pejorative sounding than ideally it would be, since they don't really harm their teams) a lot less effective, and bring back the Carew/Gwynn types.

With the shift gone and unlikely to return, dividing the over the fence zone into fourths and if a batter hits over the fence in the "pull" fourth, it's only a ground rule double, no home run, that would force more finesse among players and more team play.
11:30 AM Jan 19th
I would presume that the number of times that a batter faces man on first, men on first and second, men on first and third, men on second and third and bases loaded situations, combined with 0 or 1 or 2 outs would back up your article, Bill.

I was thinking that an opposing attorney would object to your calling high power low OBP batters "selfish." Perhaps something like "isolated" players would be less prejudicial? Not too serious; we want to leaven the research a bit, at the risk of a little leaven leavening the lot.

I don't know if this does mean, as we might suspect, that teams aren't as efficient, more efficient, or less efficient on offense as we would normally expect given their overall batting statistics. But I am sure of this: the game is more interesting with men on base.
10:58 AM Jan 19th
You're scratching the surface of something very important. It could change the way we look at sports. Well done, it's a start, but that's why you get paid the big bucks.

Here's the thing, teams win championships. Sports have become about superstars and it is suffering and will continue to suffer.

There are hundreds of examples. This is one. Barry Bonds was probably the greatest offensive force in the history of baseball. His teams never won a World Championship. In 2010, 2012, 2014 the Giants won World Championships. Figure out how and why and you'll find out how to win championships. The purpose of sports. Teams win championships.

Madison Bumgarner. A player on those Giants championship teams. Name me another.
10:56 AM Jan 19th
The interplay between these ratios and the rise in strikeouts seems inevitable. A radical change in rules may be overdue to preserve the game. I support increasing the distance from pitcher to home plate and moving the fences back in order to reduce both strikeouts and home runs.
8:28 AM Jan 19th
This is a great article. Has there been a decline in actual runs scored for teams compared to the amount of runs created? If so, would that indicate that this strategy of having purely selfish hitters isn't working?
1:56 AM Jan 19th
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