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High School Baseball: Small Ball vs Money Ball

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  • Jake Patterson
    replied
    Originally posted by stejay View Post
    I now teach my team that plate discipline is key to success. You can have a huge home run hitter, but if he swings at everything, he will come undone by the cleverer pitchers. That is what I teach my team. I sort of learnt this from reading Moneyball
    What age do you teach?

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  • BallCoach06
    replied
    Originally posted by FindAGap12 View Post
    Remember that teams bunt and steal much less when they are behind. So teams will have more stolen bases and sacs because they are winning and ahead early in the game. If a top level team has a win/loss of 50-20, of course they will have more stolen base attempts and sac bunts than their opponents, but IMO these are not the reasons why they are winning, they are a product of having a lead in most games.
    I agree that teams ahead will bunt and steal more, however there was more to the numbers I gave above, and all those reasons combined are reasons these teams win, IMO.

    Pitching and defense is what helps these teams hold their opponents down in the early innings, and then using the small game is what helps them get the lead and keep the lead through out the game, so I believe it directly affects why they win.

    Also, over the past few years I can find several solid teams that do not have more stolen bases or sac bunts than their opponents. The interesting thing is that when I have found teams like this, they usually have not gone for during the post-season.

    One team I am really watching this year is Florida State (37-7). A few more SB or Sacrifices than their opponents, a worse fielding percentage than their opponents, and a K:BB ratio of less than 2:1. Real interested to see how far they go in the post-season.

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  • stejay
    replied
    I now teach my team that plate discipline is key to success. You can have a huge home run hitter, but if he swings at everything, he will come undone by the cleverer pitchers. That is what I teach my team. I sort of learnt this from reading Moneyball

    Leave a comment:


  • FindAGap12
    replied
    Originally posted by BallCoach06 View Post
    At the amatuer level, I really believe in putting pressure on the defense, which entails at lot of motion (running, bunting, etc.).

    There was an article on Coach Dawson and Chaparral HS in the most recent issue of Collegiate Baseball. I thought it was pretty good. Especially liked his 8 hour Saturday practices.

    To shed a little more light on this, I have studied the stats of a lot of the top college programs over the past 3-4 years and one trend I usually seem to find with the good teams is:

    - The good teams usually have 2:1 or better K/BB ratio
    - The good teams have a better fielding percentage then their opponents
    - The good teams usually have more stolen bases than their opponents (some have more than their opponents have even attempted)
    - The good teams usually have more sacrifice hits than their opponents

    Remember that teams bunt and steal much less when they are behind. So teams will have more stolen bases and sacs because they are winning and ahead early in the game. If a top level team has a win/loss of 50-20, of course they will have more stolen base attempts and sac bunts than their opponents, but IMO these are not the reasons why they are winning, they are a product of having a lead in most games.
    Last edited by FindAGap12; 05-02-2008, 07:25 AM.

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  • FindAGap12
    replied
    Originally posted by korp View Post
    The thought of moneyball from what I just picked up is drive the ball in gaps or over the fence. It does not take into consideration smaller players. High school is generally more small ball since 5hr or whatever is pretty good most people won't hit close to that if they even hit one. Small ball is a better strategy at that level because players make alot more errors (mental and physical) so if you can move the runner on the chance of getting runs goes up. It also depends on the coaches strategy since some feel if they can score early they can hold off rallys or if they can use the long ball then they can come back in a hurry. Overall though since the average high schooler is not huge small ball is a good strategy.

    The main point of the moneyball strategy is to not give away outs...ever. This makes sense at the HS level as well, because batters get on base at a greater rate at the HS level. MLB on base percentage is usually 35%, HS is probably 45-50% (especially if you factor in errors). So why would you sac bunt when the batter has a 50% of getting on base, it's wasting an out. HS catchers usually are about 2.3 to second base, just steal if you want to gain a base.

    In the MLB, with a runner on first and no one out, you can expect to score .90 runs per inning. With a runner on second and one out, you can expect to score .75 runs, so it's a worse situation. Both situations have roughly a 50% chance of scoring at least one run. The only time the sac bunt makes sense, according to these numbers, is when there is a terrible hitter up (a pitcher), or a bad hitter is up when one run can win or tie the game. HS numbers do vary, of course, and it is true that they do not get as many extra base hits, but remember that HS hitters get on base at a much greater rate than MLBers.
    Last edited by FindAGap12; 05-02-2008, 07:28 AM.

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  • kylebee
    replied
    "Moneyball" is really about exploiting market inefficiencies, which at the time was OBP. However, it's now defense. Anyway, assuming we are talking about the "take and rake" strategy, good pitch recognition and selection is important at every level, including HS. Power depends on the ability to pick out a pitch you can drive and not miss it while simultaneously laying off the garbage, including marginal strikes when you have two or less strikes on you.

    Leave a comment:


  • korp
    replied
    The thought of moneyball from what I just picked up is drive the ball in gaps or over the fence. It does not take into consideration smaller players. High school is generally more small ball since 5hr or whatever is pretty good most people won't hit close to that if they even hit one. Small ball is a better strategy at that level because players make alot more errors (mental and physical) so if you can move the runner on the chance of getting runs goes up. It also depends on the coaches strategy since some feel if they can score early they can hold off rallys or if they can use the long ball then they can come back in a hurry. Overall though since the average high schooler is not huge small ball is a good strategy.

    Leave a comment:


  • BallCoach06
    replied
    At the amatuer level, I really believe in putting pressure on the defense, which entails at lot of motion (running, bunting, etc.).

    There was an article on Coach Dawson and Chaparral HS in the most recent issue of Collegiate Baseball. I thought it was pretty good. Especially liked his 8 hour Saturday practices.

    To shed a little more light on this, I have studied the stats of a lot of the top college programs over the past 3-4 years and one trend I usually seem to find with the good teams is:

    - The good teams usually have 2:1 or better K/BB ratio
    - The good teams have a better fielding percentage then their opponents
    - The good teams usually have more stolen bases than their opponents (some have more than their opponents have even attempted)
    - The good teams usually have more sacrifice hits than their opponents

    For example, check out the stats of #1 ranked Miami (Fla.) this year:

    http://hurricanesports.cstv.com/spor.../teamcume.html

    Or UC Irvine from '08:

    http://ucirvinesports.cstv.com/auto_...mulative-stats

    Check out the U of Texas over the years. It shows up with them almost every year. Not so much this year, but really showed up in '07.


    This basically tells me what the good teams have in common:

    1. They throw strikes (limit what they give up for free)
    2. Play solid defense behind their pitchers
    3. Move runners around (either by stealing or bunting)

    Now, not all the good teams have all of these attributes, but most do. As mentioned in another post, pitching and defense wins championship and I believe that. If you can hold your opponents to zeroes it opens up a lot more for you to do offensively.

    Just want to end by saying that this is in no ways a scientific study. Just something I have done the past few years and I found showed up the most often with successful teams.

    Leave a comment:


  • KNIGHTTIME24
    replied
    Type

    I play HS baseball and I think that it is more important to play to the strength of your own team. If you have a team that can hit homeruns and extra base hits with ease I see no reason to play "smallball". But on the otherhand if you have a team that struggles getting extrabase hits and moving runners I would think that it only makes sense to play smallball. Also SPEED kills! If you have a player who can fly around the bases you can cause havoc with him. Whether it be bunting him or stealing him either way you will cause the other team to make a "hard" play. I think another big thing is knowing what each player can do. That team in Arizona who bunts their cleanup man has a lot of trust in that guy that he will be able to lay it down successfully and move the runner over. But if you have someone who you aren't confident in, I see no point to have that player bunt just for the sake of playing smallball. Let the players play to their strengths, not their weaknesses!

    DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS!

    Leave a comment:


  • metrotheme
    replied
    When I used to coach HS baseball, I was a big fan of bunting. It works for quite a few reasons.

    1) It causes a lot of confusion. Even well coached teams fall asleep at the wheel and someone forgets to cover first base, or the pitcher / catcher / 3rd baseman can't make up their minds on who should get the ball.

    2) High school 3rd basemen aren't particularly adept at charging the bunt and making a strong throw on the run after 1-2 steps ala the major leagues.

    3) If the pitcher has to field it going towards the 3rd base line, they are also more prone to making a bad throw.

    4) If a bad throw is made, you now potentially have a double out of it and a man on third or home depending on how bad the missed throw is.

    I used to have to rotate guys out of the #2 hole so that they wouldn't complain about having to "give up" their first at bat of every game.

    Leave a comment:


  • stejay
    replied
    Moneyball gave me the idea to become a better hitter,and a more disciplined hitter. Believe me, if you play patiently, and wait for good balls, and not taking chances, you hit more homers, if you have sufficiant power. Believe me.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jake Patterson
    replied
    Originally posted by TG Coach View Post
    You can't apply a theory designed for pro ball at the high school level. The talent levels are too different. The stolen base is usually a huge tool in high school. Most pitchers can't hold runners like pro pitchers can. Moneyball also isn't big on bunting to give away outs. Pro players aren't as likely to throw the ball away as high school players.
    I agree with TG. In HS it is more about looking for opportunites while mitgating your mistakes.

    Leave a comment:


  • TG Coach
    replied
    You can't apply a theory designed for pro ball at the high school level. The talent levels are too different. The stolen base is usually a huge tool in high school. Most pitchers can't hold runners like pro pitchers can. Moneyball also isn't big on bunting to give away outs. Pro players aren't as likely to throw the ball away as high school players.

    Leave a comment:


  • Postblank
    replied
    I don't think many aspects of Billyball can carry over to High School ball simply because it came about as an efficient way to exploit the available player market for a lower payroll team. There's very limited information you can get as a high school coach about players from your limited population of one high school.

    I think through HS all the way to Div III or II college ball, it would be best to play as aggressively as possible. Have an active running game, stretch out borderline base hits, drop bunts from unsuspecting batters, et cetera. That way the other team is forced to make tougher plays (and they will make mistakes, because all of the guys that don't really belong haven't been weeded out yet).

    Leave a comment:


  • kylebee
    replied
    HS catchers and pitchers are notoriously terrible at controlling the running game, which makes stealing a better option. Typically basestealers have to steal second base at a 75%+ rate to produce a positive run expectancy, which is very easy to do in most HS leagues for skilled runners. Bunting has a better run expectancy in HS as well, since fielders typically make more errors on plays.

    Remember, don't be obsessed with walks. People tend to lose sight of what the most important part of plate discipline is: Swinging at the first good pitch you get. If you look middle-in fastball on your first pitch and get it, simply taking it for the sake of "working a deep count" is a bad idea, because that might be the best pitch you see all day! Of course, you should be cognizant of a pitcher who cannot locate pitches for strikes and take your walks when you get them, since, as they say, "OBP is life."

    If you are interested in this type of discussion, you can read more at www.baseballprospectus.com and the SABR board on this very website.

    Leave a comment:

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