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View Full Version : Just how widespread is this phenonmenon?


kevin57
06-08-2008, 10:13 PM
Over the past couple of years, many of us--and I plead guilty--have lamented that the Sox lack in many of the fundamentals. Two of the most obvious in my opinion are 1) pitchers who no longer even pretend to hold runner close, thus practically gifting a stolen base, and 2) bunting, poor and non-existent up and down the lineup.

Is this just a problem with the White Sox, though? I was at the Rangers-TB game last night and noticed the very same two things from both teams. Runners barely broke a sweat getting to 2nd or even 3rd for a stolen base and I didn't see a single bunt although many situations screamed for that strategy.

Do others see a real lack in these and other fundamentals across MLB? If so, are we seeing a fundamental shift in how the game is being played?

balke
06-08-2008, 10:15 PM
I'd rather pitchers not worry about the stolen base. Get the next guy out, don't divide your concentration so much throwing over to 1st 12 times.

thedudeabides
06-08-2008, 10:33 PM
Over the past couple of years, many of us--and I plead guilty--have lamented that the Sox lack in many of the fundamentals. Two of the most obvious in my opinion are 1) pitchers who no longer even pretend to hold runner close, thus practically gifting a stolen base, and 2) bunting, poor and non-existent up and down the lineup.

Is this just a problem with the White Sox, though? I was at the Rangers-TB game last night and noticed the very same two things from both teams. Runners barely broke a sweat getting to 2nd or even 3rd for a stolen base and I didn't see a single bunt although many situations screamed for that strategy.

Do others see a real lack in these and other fundamentals across MLB? If so, are we seeing a fundamental shift in how the game is being played?

Buehrle is great at holding runners and Danks is getting there. Javy does a good job at holding runners. I don't have a read on Floyd yet, but Jose is awefull. Freddy Garcia was one of the worst I have ever seen. I also don't think the Sox stress defending baserunners very much. Most of the time AJ doesn't even make a throw. Greg Maddux is one of the best pitchers of all time and you could run on him any time you wanted to. Different theories I guess. :dunno:

munchman33
06-08-2008, 10:37 PM
I'd rather pitchers not worry about the stolen base. Get the next guy out, don't divide your concentration so much throwing over to 1st 12 times.

If the leadoff guy gets on, and you let him steal second, the other team can score a run without the benefit of a hit.

Not holding a runner on is completely foolish and will cause you to lose baseball games against players that can execute (i.e., teams we'd face in the playoffs if we get there).

getonbckthr
06-08-2008, 10:40 PM
If the leadoff guy gets on, and you let him steal second, the other team can score a run without the benefit of a hit.

Not holding a runner on is completely foolish and will cause you to lose baseball games against players that can execute (i.e., teams we'd face in the playoffs if we get there).
Greg Maddux has 350 reasons to negate this theory.

doublem23
06-08-2008, 10:41 PM
Greg Maddux has 350 reasons to negate this theory.

What does DLS think of holding runners on? That's the correct answer.

getonbckthr
06-08-2008, 10:46 PM
What does DLS think of holding runners on? That's the correct answer.
I know he is holding his arm in a sling.

ondafarm
06-08-2008, 11:09 PM
I think a decent move to first should be something that should be worked on in spring training and occasionally during the season as a refresher. Apart from that, you take what you get. For some guys, a move to first is something they hone and it is part of their game (Buehrle.) For other's it just takes away from their concentration. As a catcher, I would occasionally call it for those guys. Curious to hear from other catchers. I remember one guy who'd just come up and I called that and he kept shaking me off. So I go out and talk to him. I gave him the standard story that if he shook me off on that I'd ask the coach to send him back down. So next time, he does it and I signal it twice in a row. The second one caught the guy leaning and got him. In the dugout the pitcher told me he'd never ever gotten anyone before.

If it's in your game, yeah, do it. If not, its better to get the guy at the plate.

Daver
06-08-2008, 11:14 PM
I think a decent move to first should be something that should be worked on in spring training and occasionally during the season as a refresher. Apart from that, you take what you get. For some guys, a move to first is something they hone and it is part of their game (Buehrle.) For other's it just takes away from their concentration. As a catcher, I would occasionally call it for those guys. Curious to hear from other catchers. I remember one guy who'd just come up and I called that and he kept shaking me off. So I go out and talk to him. I gave him the standard story that if he shook me off on that I'd ask the coach to send him back down. So next time, he does it and I signal it twice in a row. The second one caught the guy leaning and got him. In the dugout the pitcher told me he'd never ever gotten anyone before.

If it's in your game, yeah, do it. If not, its better to get the guy at the plate.

If a pitcher shook off my sign to hold the runner, I'd snap throw to first, I had a good put out rate doing that, if I got the runner out the pitcher had to deal with me telling him I didn't want to do his job for him between innings.

Lefty34
06-08-2008, 11:23 PM
I think a decent move to first should be something that should be worked on in spring training and occasionally during the season as a refresher. Apart from that, you take what you get. For some guys, a move to first is something they hone and it is part of their game (Buehrle.) For other's it just takes away from their concentration. As a catcher, I would occasionally call it for those guys. Curious to hear from other catchers. I remember one guy who'd just come up and I called that and he kept shaking me off. So I go out and talk to him. I gave him the standard story that if he shook me off on that I'd ask the coach to send him back down. So next time, he does it and I signal it twice in a row. The second one caught the guy leaning and got him. In the dugout the pitcher told me he'd never ever gotten anyone before.

If it's in your game, yeah, do it. If not, its better to get the guy at the plate.

As a left-handed pitcher it is a little easier for me to hold a runner on at first, and I am still trying to get my move to get as close to that 45 degree mark, just like Buehrle. Also, I was always taught to make a quick move over to the runner right before throwing a breaking ball, so as to keep him as close to the bag as possible.

As for the bunting I see it as a shift away from traditional baseball thinking and a move towards valuing your outs more. That, and some guys are used as more of a blunt instrument at the dish. But hey, you can't fault Dusty Baker for telling Adam Dunn to bunt twice.

FedEx227
06-08-2008, 11:27 PM
The bunting is definitely a fundamental shift going on in baseball, people are seeing less and less regular season need for it.

Absolutely I believe in the post-season or in close and late games it's essential.

Save McCuddy's
06-09-2008, 12:08 AM
The bunting is definitely a fundamental shift going on in baseball, people are seeing less and less regular season need for it.

Absolutely I believe in the post-season or in close and late games it's essential.

As they should be.

If a player lacks the speed to use the bunt as a weapon to reach base, then practicing it is a waste of time.

Daver
06-09-2008, 01:14 AM
As they should be.

If a player lacks the speed to use the bunt as a weapon to reach base, then practicing it is a waste of time.


Wrong.

Cuck the Fubs
06-09-2008, 01:27 AM
It's not just MLB, it's all the way down the ladder at the pee wee level!

Even the young uns' are in love with the long ball.....I've got 7 year olds who swing from the heels despite me preaching contact swings!

Boondock Saint
06-09-2008, 02:33 AM
Wrong.

Agreed. Unless you're a major RBI threat, you should always be prepared to lay one down. And even if you ARE one of those guys, you'd better know HOW to get one down if/when you're asked to do so. Trying to sneak your way onto base by bunting and running the play out isn't even the most common situation for the bunt. It's almost universally used as a sacrifice technique.

Frater Perdurabo
06-09-2008, 07:54 AM
As a left-handed pitcher it is a little easier for me to hold a runner on at first, and I am still trying to get my move to get as close to that 45 degree mark, just like Buehrle. Also, I was always taught to make a quick move over to the runner right before throwing a breaking ball, so as to keep him as close to the bag as possible.

As for the bunting I see it as a shift away from traditional baseball thinking and a move towards valuing your outs more. That, and some guys are used as more of a blunt instrument at the dish. But hey, you can't fault Dusty Baker for telling Adam Dunn to bunt twice.

If a pitcher shook off my sign to hold the runner, I'd snap throw to first, I had a good put out rate doing that, if I got the runner out the pitcher had to deal with me telling him I didn't want to do his job for him between innings.

I think a decent move to first should be something that should be worked on in spring training and occasionally during the season as a refresher. Apart from that, you take what you get. For some guys, a move to first is something they hone and it is part of their game (Buehrle.) For other's it just takes away from their concentration. As a catcher, I would occasionally call it for those guys. Curious to hear from other catchers. I remember one guy who'd just come up and I called that and he kept shaking me off. So I go out and talk to him. I gave him the standard story that if he shook me off on that I'd ask the coach to send him back down. So next time, he does it and I signal it twice in a row. The second one caught the guy leaning and got him. In the dugout the pitcher told me he'd never ever gotten anyone before.

If it's in your game, yeah, do it. If not, its better to get the guy at the plate.

Great stories! Thank you!

kevin57
06-09-2008, 08:34 AM
To clarify: I meant bunting to sacrifice a runner over. Getting back to the Rangers-TB game the other night...It was a 5-4 game with 14 runners left on. You don't need a lot of imagination to see how advancing a runner or four over would have been a good strategy in that sort of game. I don't recall a single batter even squaring around to bunt.

On the "free" steals comment...it seems to me that AJ is catching the flack for not throwing out runners this year, and maybe his release speed has decreased, but it seems to me equally fair to question whether pitchers on the WS--and as I'm suggesting in this thread throughout the MLB--are not doing their job holding runners close.

MisterB
06-09-2008, 11:15 AM
To clarify: I meant bunting to sacrifice a runner over. Getting back to the Rangers-TB game the other night...It was a 5-4 game with 14 runners left on. You don't need a lot of imagination to see how advancing a runner or four over would have been a good strategy in that sort of game. I don't recall a single batter even squaring around to bunt.

Looking at the PBP of that game (http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TEX/TEX200806070.shtml), I can only see one instance where bunting someone over would have resulted in a sure run. (In the Texas second, if Catalanotto bunts Boggs to 3rd, he scores on Salty's flyball.) Otherwise, I don't see another situation where a bunt could be laid down that would have obviously changed the outcome. Ultimately, the big problem was the combined 3-for-20 batting with RISP.

P.S. it was 17 left on base for the game.

Save McCuddy's
06-10-2008, 08:41 AM
Wrong.

No, not wrong. It's statistical fact that giving up outs with the sacrifice bunt leads to fewer runs scored than swinging away.

LITTLE NELL
06-10-2008, 09:00 AM
Teaching the fundamentals starts in the low minors. Thats the reason the Twins always have guys that can bunt and hit and run. Down here in SW Florida we have the Ft Myers Miracle, they are the Twins single A team in the Florida State League. Just about every year they are in the playoffs. A franchise needs to have scouts and coaches in the minors who can teach the fundamentals. Back in the 50s and 60s the Sox always had one of the best minor league systems, I havent seen that much since the JR gang took over.

ondafarm
06-10-2008, 09:09 AM
No, not wrong. It's statistical fact that giving up outs with the sacrifice bunt leads to fewer runs scored than swinging away.

No, actually Daver is correct ((Note to self: man, that hurts to say.))

The analysis that produced that result was poorly done. What it didn't take into account was the errors and other exacerbations that occur when you force a major league team to field bunts. If you force them to make a play and you hustle down the line, the number of balls throw away and bunt hits actually tips the advantage in favor of the bunting team.

I don't rec comend bunting everytime, but in close games it is the definitive winning strategy.

palehozenychicty
06-10-2008, 10:17 AM
linkee (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/2008/06/08/2008-06-08_recent_home_run_slowdown_has_meant_shift.html)

The Daily News does an article broadly discussing the return of fundamental play. Nothing new is brought up, but at least the media is talking about it.

Eddo144
06-10-2008, 11:31 AM
No, actually Daver is correct ((Note to self: man, that hurts to say.))

The analysis that produced that result was poorly done. What it didn't take into account was the errors and other exacerbations that occur when you force a major league team to field bunts. If you force them to make a play and you hustle down the line, the number of balls throw away and bunt hits actually tips the advantage in favor of the bunting team.

I don't rec comend bunting everytime, but in close games it is the definitive winning strategy.
I don't know...there has been more than one report analyzing the effectiveness of bunting, and they all pretty much show that it leads to fewer runs. Remember, bunting someone over is playing for one run, and I believe Earl Weaver once said something along the lines of "If you play for one run, you'll only score one run."

Now, that's not to say it doesn't have it's place; late, in close games, in can be the right strategy, but only for the right hitters. You wouldn't want David Ortiz or Alex Rodriguez, or even Jermaine Dye or Vernon Wells, bunting in those situations - they're all much more likely to drive in the run themselves than set up another player to do so. Weaker hitters, who are less likely to get the job done swinging away, can contribute by moving the runner over.

PatK
06-10-2008, 02:29 PM
What about bunting when you have someone that can't?

I'd rather see someone swing for contact if they have no prayer of pulling it off.

One reason I think there may be a lack of bunting could be that the players the last year or two seem like they are becoming better situational hitters.

Could be a result of the end of the steroid era.

downstairs
06-10-2008, 06:39 PM
You can debate the stats all you want on bunting vs. not bunting... but its still very important to mix things up. Predictability kills you. If the defense knows you'll never, ever bunt... they're going to set up purely for a normal hit. If you show bunt every now and then, it makes it difficult to set up correctly. Gotta keep them on their toes- stats be damned.