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View Full Version : The Effectiveness of Productive Outs. (Small Ball)


Dadawg_77
08-25-2004, 03:27 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=olney_buster&id=1792101
The ESPN Article on it after which ESPN kept track of the stat.
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/productive

Counter article for Hard Ball Times.com.
http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/yet-another-productive-outs-article/

A Chart form there that says everything you need to know about how effective productive outs are.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/productive?tp=team
Updated for todays number. Notice in lower third 5 playoff teams sit. In the Upper third three or two. Those three teams are the only ones over .500 in that group. The Sox are currently 11th. So do we really want to see the Sox become better at losing, I mean, small ball this offseason?

maurice
08-25-2004, 03:57 PM
:?:

The best team in baseball is ranked fifth in productive outs and first in sac flies. The Giants are third in productive outs and seventh in SF. In addition to these two teams, the Top 10 in SF includes SD, Texas, the cub, the yanks, and the Red Sox.

IMHO, it's not really a team issue. I don't want Thomas or Konerko bunting ever (though SFs are nice), but Crede laying one down to move runners over in certain situations beats the heck out of him striking out or popping up. The same is true for NL pitchers.

BTW, shouldn't the relevant correlation be to runs scored and not to won-loss? Nobody's really claiming that productive outs cause your team to pitch better.

Dadawg_77
08-25-2004, 04:09 PM
:?:

The best team in baseball is ranked fifth in productive outs and first in sac flies. The Giants are third in productive outs and seventh in SF. In addition to these two teams, the Top 10 in SF includes SD, Texas, the cub, the yanks, and the Red Sox.

IMHO, it's not really a team issue. I don't want Thomas or Konerko bunting ever (though SFs are nice), but Crede laying one down to move runners over in certain situations beats the heck out of him striking out or popping up. The same is true for NL pitchers.

BTW, shouldn't the relevant correlation be to runs scored and not to won-loss? Nobody's really claiming that productive outs cause your team to pitch better.SF really aren't the issue. I mean you aren't giving up an out when trying hit a sac fly, but trying to drive the ball in the air. Bunts on the other hand you are giving up an out.

Scoring runs is half the game, plus there isn't any colloration. Hitting into double plays has a higher correlation to scoring runs the POPs do.

maurice
08-25-2004, 04:20 PM
SF really aren't the issue.
It appears that POP includes SF and ground ball outs:

A Productive Out, as defined and developed by ESPN The Magazine and the Elias Sports Bureau: when a fly ball, grounder or bunt advances a runner with nobody out; when a pitcher bunts to advance a runner with one out (maximizing the effectiveness of the pitcher's at-bat), or when a grounder or fly ball scores a run with one out.

If you're trying to prove that sac bunts are worthless (irrespective of SF and "productive" ground outs), you have to ditch POP and focus on the correlation between sac bunts and runs scored. Even this analysis probably would be flawed, given the differences between the two leagues, differences among teams within the same league, unmeasurable situational differences, and the fact that a sac bunter sometimes reaches on an infield single or error.

Dadawg_77
08-25-2004, 04:24 PM
It appears that POP includes SF and ground ball outs:



If you're trying to prove that sac bunts are worthless (irrespective of SF and "productive" ground outs), you have to ditch POP and focus on the correlation between sac bunts and runs scored. Even this analysis probably would be flawed, given the differences between the two leagues, differences among teams within the same league, unmeasurable situational differences, and the fact that a sac bunter sometimes reaches on an infield single or error.
You brought up SF, I just countered that SF probally wouldn't be consider small ball per say.

My main point is POP, or "doing the little things", isn't something this team truly lacks, as evidence with the 11st "best" in the MLB. And it also isn't something that drives scoring runs or winning games. Thus this unhealthy obsession that many here, the GM and manager have with "do the little things" is greatly overrated and if this team is built to "do the little things," it won't matter unless the Sox OBP improves next year.

Lip Man 1
08-25-2004, 04:44 PM
I remember one time when baseball was such a simple game...see the ball, hit the ball, throw the ball, catch the ball.

The guy who brought in mathematics, statistical analysis, quantum physics, formulas as long as your arm and fantasy games should have been shot on sight.

Whatever happened to just playing the game and getting the talent to win?

Now you need a P.H.D. is astrophysics just to understand what you folks are arguing about.

Lip

maurice
08-25-2004, 04:55 PM
You brought up SF, I just countered that SF probally wouldn't be consider small ball per say.
:?:

You brought up POP. As I noted, by definition, any discussion of POP raises SF. IMHO, a SF that scores a runner or moves a runner from 2nd to 3rd with no outs definitely would be considered "small ball." However, I agree that all the sac bunts in the world don't amount to a hill of beans if your team OBP sucks.

My point remains that the methodology is crap and proves nothing, since POP mixes apples (SF & productive groundouts -- things that apparently help score runs) with oranges (straight sac bunts -- the value of which remains unmeasured and may be unmeasurable). The distribution of POP among both good teams and bad teams indicates that it could be a neutral factor. It certainly hasn't cost StL any games.

The author of the Hardball Times article you linked apparently agrees that the methodology is crap, saying that "this whole statistic is silly," that the data prove nothing either way, and that ESPN shouldn't waste bandwith tracking it. He goes on to agree with my conclusion that "it's not really a team issue" but rather depends on the unmeasured context. Finally, he points out the obvious conclusion that a "productive out" is better than any other kind of out, especially a double play . . . and that "productive outs" have real value in certain contexts.

jeremyb1
08-25-2004, 10:24 PM
I remember one time when baseball was such a simple game...see the ball, hit the ball, throw the ball, catch the ball.

The guy who brought in mathematics, statistical analysis, quantum physics, formulas as long as your arm and fantasy games should have been shot on sight.

Whatever happened to just playing the game and getting the talent to win?

Now you need a P.H.D. is astrophysics just to understand what you folks are arguing about.

Haha. Well that's not really true Lip. VORP, EQA, SLG, and OBP are no different than AVG, RBI, and runs. It's only the concepts that are different. There's always been numbers.

Randar68
08-25-2004, 10:33 PM
The Sox are currently 11th. So do we really want to see the Sox become better at losing, I mean, small ball this offseason?
Frankly, I don't care whhat it's called, but this team needs more speed on the bases, better all-around fielding, and a couple guys to get on base at the top of the order.

I'm so tired of the GIDP and K's from guys like Konerkro and Crede and the station-to-station offense. Give me 2 top of the order hitters for konerko, crede and everett and even Maggs and I'd like our line-up a LOT more.

I like how next year's rotation is looking, especially considering kW's iniference that he's going to go after another top-end starter, but I'd rathehr have a more consistent offense than one like we have now when healthy ywhere we put up 12 or 13 a couple days in a row and then don't score for the next 2. The way the ball is flying out of US Cellular, they're still going to hit HR's...

wish we had Reed, but glad we have garcia...

Randar68
08-25-2004, 10:37 PM
I remember one time when baseball was such a simple game...see the ball, hit the ball, throw the ball, catch the ball.
who are you, Abner Doubleday? Stats have been important since Babe Ruth, if not earlier. Everyone always knew you valued a guy who got on base all the time, the only thing different now is the way those thoughts are tied to actual numbers and statistical evidence suggesting its worth versus other factors in a supposedly unbiased way...

Things like OPS are invented trying to create the singular stat with which to compare players of all kinds

Lip Man 1
08-25-2004, 10:39 PM
Hi Jeremy:

Haven't seen you around for a month...hey is Jon Garland still going to have a 'breakthrough' season? Is Jon Rauch still headed for stardom? (LOL)


Lip

Randar68
08-25-2004, 10:41 PM
Hi Jeremy:

Haven't seen you around for a month...hey is Jon Garland still going to have a 'breakthrough' season? Is Jon Rauch still headed for stardom? (LOL)


Lip
Good to see you've gotten over that spell of pettiness.

Aidan
08-25-2004, 10:47 PM
Good to see you've gotten over that spell of pettiness.How is that pettiness? It just goes to show that your analysis of players or jeremyb1's analysis is no better than anyone else's here. It's very easy to be an "armchair" GM.

Randar68
08-25-2004, 11:27 PM
How is that pettiness? It just goes to show that your analysis of players or jeremyb1's analysis is no better than anyone else's here. It's very easy to be an "armchair" GM.
Well, bringing up peoples' opinions of players in the past to try to counter any slight differense of opinion in the presense is petty. It's clear you don't recognize it since you troll around for my posts doing the same thing.



Main Entry: petĚty http://www.webster.com/images/audio.gif (javascript:popWin('/cgi-bin/audio.pl?petty001.wav=petty'))
Pronunciation: 'pe-tE
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): petĚtiĚer; -est
Etymology: Middle English pety small, minor, alteration of petit
1 : having secondary rank or importance
2 : having little or no importance or significance
3 : marked by or reflective of narrow interests and sympathies
- petĚtiĚly http://www.webster.com/images/audio.gif (javascript:popWin('/cgi-bin/audio.pl?petty002.wav=pettily')) /'pe-t&l-E/ adverb
- petĚtiĚness http://www.webster.com/images/audio.gif (javascript:popWin('/cgi-bin/audio.pl?petty003.wav=pettiness')) /'pe-tE-n&s/ noun

santo=dorf
08-25-2004, 11:29 PM
How is that pettiness? It just goes to show that your analysis of players or jeremyb1's analysis is no better than anyone else's here. It's very easy to be an "armchair" GM.
I thought it was hilarious considering he is stomping on an anti-KW :dtroll:

santo=dorf
08-25-2004, 11:31 PM
Well, bringing up peoples' opinions of players in the past to try to counter any slight differense of opinion in the presense is petty. It's clear you don't recognize it since you troll around for my posts doing the same thing.



Main Entry: petĚty http://www.webster.com/images/audio.gif (http://javascript<b></b>:popWin('/cgi-bin/audio.pl?petty001.wav=petty'))
Pronunciation: 'pe-tE
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): petĚtiĚer; -est
Etymology: Middle English pety small, minor, alteration of petit
1 : having secondary rank or importance
2 : having little or no importance or significance
3 : marked by or reflective of narrow interests and sympathies
- petĚtiĚly http://www.webster.com/images/audio.gif (http://javascript<b></b>:popWin('/cgi-bin/audio.pl?petty002.wav=pettily')) /'pe-t&l-E/ adverb
- petĚtiĚness http://www.webster.com/images/audio.gif (http://javascript<b></b>:popWin('/cgi-bin/audio.pl?petty003.wav=pettiness')) /'pe-tE-n&s/ noun
Don't pick on the birthday boy now.

Dadawg_77
08-26-2004, 10:38 AM
I remember one time when baseball was such a simple game...see the ball, hit the ball, throw the ball, catch the ball.

The guy who brought in mathematics, statistical analysis, quantum physics, formulas as long as your arm and fantasy games should have been shot on sight.

Whatever happened to just playing the game and getting the talent to win?

Now you need a P.H.D. is astrophysics just to understand what you folks are arguing about.

Lip
Lip, being the historian on this site I thought you would be better informed on these matters. Some of the best stat work was done at the start of baseball in the 1890 and 1900's (OBP, SLG were started then) also the work of Branch Rickey. Stats have been a integral part of baseball since the beginning, just some newspaper reporters ignored stats because they couldn't understand them.

Dadawg_77
08-26-2004, 10:45 AM
:?:

You brought up POP. As I noted, by definition, any discussion of POP raises SF. IMHO, a SF that scores a runner or moves a runner from 2nd to 3rd with no outs definitely would be considered "small ball." However, I agree that all the sac bunts in the world don't amount to a hill of beans if your team OBP sucks.

My point remains that the methodology is crap and proves nothing, since POP mixes apples (SF & productive groundouts -- things that apparently help score runs) with oranges (straight sac bunts -- the value of which remains unmeasured and may be unmeasurable). The distribution of POP among both good teams and bad teams indicates that it could be a neutral factor. It certainly hasn't cost StL any games.

The author of the Hardball Times article you linked apparently agrees that the methodology is crap, saying that "this whole statistic is silly," that the data prove nothing either way, and that ESPN shouldn't waste bandwith tracking it. He goes on to agree with my conclusion that "it's not really a team issue" but rather depends on the unmeasured context. Finally, he points out the obvious conclusion that a "productive out" is better than any other kind of out, especially a double play . . . and that "productive outs" have real value in certain contexts.
Look my point was all this angst that the Sox don't do the little things like moving the runner over is way over blown. Since one, the Sox are above average at doing it and two more importantly, it doesn't matter. If moving the runner over mattered at a macro level, then we would see playoff teams clustered toward the top. That isn't happening but we bad, low scoring teams are clustered at the top. Thus we can conclude moving the runner over in large scale of the game doesn't really help you win or score runs, thus it doesn't matter. The Author argues that anyone making the case that POP, mean anything in trying to win the game, methodology is crap. I am using POP, because that is what many posters here keep harping on and ESPN listing the stat.

Dadawg_77
08-26-2004, 10:50 AM
Frankly, I don't care whhat it's called, but this team needs more speed on the bases, better all-around fielding, and a couple guys to get on base at the top of the order.

I'm so tired of the GIDP and K's from guys like Konerkro and Crede and the station-to-station offense. Give me 2 top of the order hitters for konerko, crede and everett and even Maggs and I'd like our line-up a LOT more.

I like how next year's rotation is looking, especially considering kW's iniference that he's going to go after another top-end starter, but I'd rathehr have a more consistent offense than one like we have now when healthy ywhere we put up 12 or 13 a couple days in a row and then don't score for the next 2. The way the ball is flying out of US Cellular, they're still going to hit HR's...

wish we had Reed, but glad we have garcia...
While I don't really care about K's, give me Adam Dunn any day of the week, I totally and completely agree the Sox need more guys who get on base. This team has the slugging to take the maximum advantage of guys who get on base. What the Sox don't need is a speedy player who can bunt. From what I am hearing from Ozzie and Kenny, I fear that is the player they will go after this offseason without looking on whether a player can get on base. This team doesn't need one let a alone two Timo Perezs.

samram
08-26-2004, 10:58 AM
While I don't really care about K's, give me Adam Dunn any day of the week, I totally and completely agree the Sox need more guys who get on base. This team has the slugging to take the maximum advantage of guys who get on base. What the Sox don't need is a speedy player who can bunt. From what I am hearing from Ozzie and Kenny, I fear that is the player they will go after this offseason without looking on whether a player can get on base. This team doesn't need one let a alone two Timo Perezs.Or Alex Sanchez, who seems to fit the great bunter, no OBP mold. He's hitting .322, but his OBP is .335, and he's only 59% in SB. I think the Sox need at least two guys that will bring a high OBP to the team, and it would be nice if they had some speed.

As for the productive outs thing, I didn't particularly like all the bunting Ozzie did earlier in the season in the first inning with no one out. I don't know how much one run in the first helps in the AL these days. However, I would like to see the productive out percentages of the good teams from the 7th inning on, when each run does matter a whole lot. There could be a difference.

Jerome
08-26-2004, 11:16 AM
STATS SHMATS! I've said it before and I'll say it again. What the Sox need to do in the offseason is get solid defense up the middle and get guys who can bunt! Bunting wins championships!

SoxFan76
08-26-2004, 01:56 PM
While I don't really care about K's, give me Adam Dunn any day of the week, I totally and completely agree the Sox need more guys who get on base. This team has the slugging to take the maximum advantage of guys who get on base. What the Sox don't need is a speedy player who can bunt. From what I am hearing from Ozzie and Kenny, I fear that is the player they will go after this offseason without looking on whether a player can get on base. This team doesn't need one let a alone two Timo Perezs.
How can you hate on Timo Perez. He is my favorite player to watch ever since Frank went down. He's hitting pretty good with RISP. He does that little slap hit, he plays mind games with pitchers (Zambrano), he plays adequate defense, decent average, has some pop, I like him. Should be be starting? HELL NO! But I'd take him as a 4th outfielder any day. In fact, I wouldn't mind if the Sox had a few more Timo's and Rowand's.

Flight #24
08-26-2004, 02:34 PM
While I don't really care about K's, give me Adam Dunn any day of the week, I totally and completely agree the Sox need more guys who get on base. This team has the slugging to take the maximum advantage of guys who get on base. What the Sox don't need is a speedy player who can bunt. From what I am hearing from Ozzie and Kenny, I fear that is the player they will go after this offseason without looking on whether a player can get on base. This team doesn't need one let a alone two Timo Perezs.
DD77 - I'm curious what your "recipe" for the Sox is? I ask because I'm in agreement with you that some top of the order OBP is what's needed, and I actually think that with relatively few moves, things can be "fixed". Acquiring a 2B with OBP gives you your top of the order OBP guys (2B, ARow), followed by your big bopper guys who also get on base (Frank, Maggs, Lee). They in turn can be followed by some guys who are decent to above average hitters: Paulie, Jose, Davis. That leaves Crede in the #9 slot. Or let Jose go and bat Uribe #8.

If they can resign Maggs and still have $$ to pick up some vet relievers and a #4 / #5 starter, then a trade for a Hairston-like guy IMO makes this team pretty solid and balanced.

Dadawg_77
08-26-2004, 02:41 PM
How can you hate on Timo Perez. He is my favorite player to watch ever since Frank went down. He's hitting pretty good with RISP. He does that little slap hit, he plays mind games with pitchers (Zambrano), he plays adequate defense, decent average, has some pop, I like him. Should be be starting? HELL NO! But I'd take him as a 4th outfielder any day. In fact, I wouldn't mind if the Sox had a few more Timo's and Rowand's.
.247/.295/.336 from your sixth outfielder is horrible and not even enough to make the Northern League.

SoxxoS
08-26-2004, 03:03 PM
Hey guys-

SOMETHING ISN'T WORKING.

Go into productive outs, OBP and all that other crap. Last I checked, that is all on paper. We have been paper champs for what...4 years now? KW needs more guys with baseball IQ's...and preferably fast ones. Guys like Catalanatto (not that fast, but just a good player), Figgins, Pierre, Bellhorn, and the guy I would probably most LOVE to have on the Sox...Brian Roberts.

Those are the guys we need. We had a trade in place for Bellhorn. His OPS is 811. Willie Harris' is .678. Willies "great speed" 8 more SB than Bellhorn, and he is down 130 points in OPS. Granted, OPS isn't important with a leadoff hitter, but is Willie Harris good enough to lead off, just because he is average at getting on base?

Joe Crede's OPS is 695. To put that in perspective, he is the worst 3B in the league when it comes to OBP. OPB is a telling stat for 3B as they usually have a little power at the hot corner. Let's look at Ryan Freel from Cincy. He has stolen 27 bases and has a .382 OBP. He could leadoff. Imagine that...a leadoff hitter with speed that can get on base and steel bases?

Switching Bellhorn with Harris and Freel with Crede changes our lineup drastically..and those are two minor moves.

As a pipedream...add Edgar Renteria and two high-priced bullpen arms for Maggs's money, and we are looking formitable.

Dadawg_77
08-26-2004, 03:05 PM
DD77 - I'm curious what your "recipe" for the Sox is? I ask because I'm in agreement with you that some top of the order OBP is what's needed, and I actually think that with relatively few moves, things can be "fixed". Acquiring a 2B with OBP gives you your top of the order OBP guys (2B, ARow), followed by your big bopper guys who also get on base (Frank, Maggs, Lee). They in turn can be followed by some guys who are decent to above average hitters: Paulie, Jose, Davis. That leaves Crede in the #9 slot. Or let Jose go and bat Uribe #8.

If they can resign Maggs and still have $$ to pick up some vet relievers and a #4 / #5 starter, then a trade for a Hairston-like guy IMO makes this team pretty solid and balanced.
I am not sure Hairston is that high OBP guy we need as in what he is doing this year. I think he is more of a player to post around .350 OBP, which is good, but what we are getting from Harris. Hairston does have some more pop, just not sure if that would be worth the cost. Maybe Todd Walker would work.

I really hope Uribe isn't on this team next year. I don't think he will be worth what he will get in arbitration and the Sox would be better off non-tendering him.

The biggest problem unless you are willing to spend 15+ million it will be hard to get a high OBP player at 2B or SS. Thus you have to draft them. So the team major increase in OBP production needs to come from First, third and the OF.

One thing would be to see if the Sox could trade Konerko away, and trade for Overbay. The Brewers aren't going to keep Overbay at first with Fielder coming up through the system, so if he can't adjust to a new postion, they may trade him. Even with arbitration, I would expect Overbay to make no more the three million and I am not sure he has the service time to pull it off. Hell, maybe Konerko for Overbay would work. The Brewers have someone to give Fielder one more year in the minors and look like they are serious about winning. But that is just a thought, not even a rumor.

OF the Sox need to find a way to replace Mags production. Even if they resign Mags, how much can we rely on him. If he knees prevent him from playing OF, he should be a bench warmer or Frank plays first. JD Drew is one good name out there in the FA market. Also if the right deal came around I would think Lee is expendable.

Other then adding OBP the Sox need to strength their bullpen. The major problem is mid level relievers vary greatly year to year. Not many big names will be out there, so the Sox might be better off, looking in the scrap pile to help the pen.

So yeah they are couple major roster moves away, but I would also completly gut the bench and rebuild it.

Randar68
08-26-2004, 04:24 PM
.247/.295/.336 from your sixth outfielder is horrible and not even enough to make the Northern League.
Having to use your "6th OF'er" regularly should be indication enough that something has gone awry...