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Sacrifice Flies, Accidents?

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  • Sacrifice Flies, Accidents?

    There was a discussion a few months ago about whether or not batters should be rewarded for Sac. Flies by not registering an AB, as they are not necessarily "giving themselves" up.

    Anyway, here's an article from Hardball Times that goes into this topic

    One thing, that the atricle touches on but doesn't address specifically is the way having runners on influences how a pitcher pitches, especially in bases loaded situations. It is mentioned that the overall strikeout rate and walk rate drops in sacrifice fly situations. Quite possibly, this could be because pitchers don't want to issue walks in these situations and, especially after falling behind in the count, stop nibbling, throw more fastballs and therefore allow batters to hit more deep fly balls.

    The Sac Fly is, in a sense, a result that is the sum of its parts. The hitter's possible shift in approach is only one of many factors that leads to an increased likelihood of a sac fly. Others include, the adjustments of the pitcher and defense, the game situation, speed of runner on third, aggresiveness of coaches and defensive ability of the outfielders.

    While I feel it is a stretch to say that batters try to hit sac flies, I believe at times some do. Also the fact that the sac fly exists as a safety net for those players who are trying to slug is not necessarily a bad thing, it allows the sluggers to take their shots. It is also a testament to their slugging ability that they are not asked to lay down a squeeze.

    Further, I don't think that the players are particularly concerned with driving in a run with a sac fly as opposed to a ground out to help their average, at least I hope not.

    For the record, I have worked with this data and would not completely trust the trajectories on the retrosheet PBP data, they are used a lot in this study.
    Last edited by digglahhh; 12-02-2005, 10:46 AM.

    In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

  • #2
    The main reason I think SF should be tracked is that they have a very high value in terms of generating runs. I do however agree that an at bat should be charged...I don't think SF is really a repeatable skill once you correct for battrers' tendencies to hit the ball in the air and to make contact in general.


    • #3
      I, also, think it should be an AB. The batter is attempting to hit the ball hard. I do believe some hitters are more than capable of hitting fly balls on demand. It is simply a matter of bat control and getting a pitch you can deal with.
      Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball


      • #4
        Some hitters adjust to pitchers just as pitchers adjust to hitters. If a hitter can send a ball far enough out to score a run despite the pitching and defense, the batter should get credit, not an AB and no hit. The sac fly rule does just that.
        Ifa batter whales one 400+ ft and the fielder makes a spectacular catch, the batter should get credit for driving the runner in. But what's the best way to score it--AB, great defense, robbery? All of the above?


        • #5
          I think the at bat should count because no hitter intends only to make an out and drive in the run...they intend to hit it hard...hoping it will AT LEAST drive in the run...and maybe more.

          The At Bat should count, but I think we should continue to record SF...I also think we need to record "Reached On Error" as both an at bat for the hitter AND a seperate event...because we need to know when hitters got on base but it's not the hitter's skill that got him there so he shouldn't be positively rewarded.

          IOW I think we should be tracking the different out types and their effect on the game situation rather than just lumping everything into one stat called outs.


          • #6
            All stats should be relative to game situation. If a player hit 2 or 3 HR in a blowout consistently, for instance, but never in a close game, we should know that.


            • #7
              i am with four tool on this: "If a hitter can send a ball far enough out to score a run despite the pitching and defense, the batter should get credit, not an AB and no hit."
              "you don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. just get people to stop reading them." -ray bradbury


              • #8
                Originally posted by SABR Matt
                The main reason I think SF should be tracked is that they have a very high value in terms of generating runs. I do however agree that an at bat should be charged...
                Seems strange to even care about SF if it still counts as an At-Bat.
                Batter gets credit for the RBI. Isn't that enough to know about it? Or should we also track RBIs that result from a ground out that allows a runner to score from third?

                The on-again off-again history of the Sac Fly rule is interesting to follow. Introduced for a few years starting in 1908 (even crediting Sac if a runner advanced without scoring); then re-introduced from 1931 thru 1938 (but for RBI only); and finally introduced yet again in 1954. Unfortunately, Sac Flies were recorded same as Sacrifice Bunt prior to 1954, so we really can't examine the impact of SF on hitting stats prior to 1954. Hitters I've sampled after 1954 have career BA 2-3 points higher than they would be if SFs were counted as an official at-bat.

                Ted Williams played most of his career without benefit of the Sac Fly rule (he was 35 when the rule was introduced again in 1954). I figure that Ted's lifetime batting average of .344 (actually .3444) would be about .347 if he played all his career with the SF rule that is now in place for the last 52 years. More significantly, Ted would probably have another batting title on his belt if the SF were in play for the 1949 season.

                Now the question seems only one of fairness. It does seem that only rarely will a hitter deliberately make a FLY OUT (rather than try for a safe hit) so why should he get excused that at-bat? Is it fair to take the SF away now, when hitters for most of the past 90 years (and all of the past 50 years) have benefitted from it?
                Last edited by Appling; 02-11-2006, 05:15 PM.


                • #9
                  Here is my sample of hitters whose career is mostly after 1954 (when SF totals became official part of a player's record). For each player listed, I will show his (1) official career BA; (2) career SF total; (3) adjusted career Batting Average (when SFs are added to official AB total):

                  Player Name: BA / SF / ABA
                  Hank Aaron: .305 / 121 / .302
                  Mick Mantle: .298 / 47 / .296
                  Willie Mays: .302 / 91 / .299
                  W McCovey: .270 / 70 / .267
                  Harm Killebrew: .256 / 77 / .2536
                  Wade Boggs: .328 / 96 / .3245
                  C Yastrzemski: .285 / 105 / .2827
                  Larry Walker: .314 / 63 / 311
                  Barry Bonds: .300 / 87 .297 (thru 2004 season)
                  Albert Pujols: .333 / 25 / .3296

                  Ted Williams is credited with just 20 SF, but that counts only SF after 1954. Adding those 20 to his career AB would cut his career BA from .3444 to .3435. If he had benefit of SF rule for his entire career, Ted's career BA would be about .347. This would put Ted at #5 on the career BA list, ahead of Delehanty and Speaker.

                  -- And if Williams had just one SF more than George Kell in the 1949 season , he would have won yet another BA title (and his third Triple Crown).
                  Last edited by Appling; 02-11-2006, 05:45 PM.


                  • #10
                    Stats are not about fairness but about what happened on the field. This whole notion of not charging an AB to hitters is like a woman who keeps saying she is 29 for 30 years. Just because the reality isn't pleasant does that mean we should not count it. Batting average, RBI, and so on are not rewards or penalties they are data. They tell us what happened.


                    • #11
                      Fortunately it doesn't matter...since we track SF data...I can still count them as outs in my analysis whether or not they show up in ABs.


                      • #12
                        One reason I like Total Average is because it counts SFs as outs


                        • #13
                          Most major RC estimators these days count SFs as outs...I count a SF as a rare brand of out that creates a run. IOW, the value of a SF is the same thing as turning a triple into a HR and adding an out (essentially)...


                          • #14
                            If you say so:noidea


                            • #15
                              Do you guys every hit any balls in a cage?????

                              YES, yes you can determine whether you hit under or over the ball, if you have skill, and MLB players have that skill

                              If a man is on 3rd, almost any player on any pitch can pop it up...just depends if it goes far enough


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