Lillian

03-12-2008, 08:15 AM

We've all heard Hawk assert how bunting for base hits could boost a player's average significantly. His 'logic' goes something like this: "If you can just pick up one bunt hit a week, that's 24 extra hits over a six month season, and ""dag'umit"", that's 25 extra hits a year, or about 50 points on your average."

We've heard this dubious logic directed at one player or another over the years. Mike Caruso, Pods, and now Jerry Owens. Well, Hawk's latest subject for this "theory" of how to turn a slap hitter into a Hall of Famer, has taken his advise to heart. Owens has been echoing Hawk's advice, and was heard in an interview on the Score, talking about how he has really been focusing on bunting, and plans to attempt to get at least one base hit every game.

I'm sorry to have to disappoint Jerry, Hawk, and anyone else who subscribes to this nonsense, but it doesn't work. Don't believe me? Do the math!

If you are a .250 hitter who never attempts to bunt for a hit, and you are convinced that you can raise your average significantly by including this seemingly potent weapon into your offensive arsenal, you'd better think again. Unless you can bunt at a rate of success better than one hit out of every four attempts, your average won't improve a single percentage point.

The fallacy of the logic of Hawk, and his disciples is quite simple. You can't just add the extra hits produced by bunts, but rather you need to calculate the number of hits per attempt. If a batter would otherwise get 500 at bats in a season, and hit at a rate of .250. By attempting to get one base hit per game, the batter would be using more than 100 at bats. However, even if he were to use only 100 of those at bats in order to attempt to get a hit by bunting, he would need to be successful at least 25 times out of the 100, just to maintain his .250 average.

If he could get 30 base hits out of the 100 attempts he would be bunting at a .300 average. Hitting .300 over those 100 at bats would raise his season's average by 10 points, to .260. But bunting once a game could result in as many as 150 attempts, and being successful even 40 times, which is unheard of, would not help even as much as the 30 out of 100 successful attempts.

The question is how often can the hitter be successful with his bunt attempts. Perhaps the biggest value of adopting this strategy is the effect that it has on the defense. If the 3RD Baseman plays in on the grass, in an attempt to thwart the bunt, then that raises the hitter's odds of sneaking the ball by him, for a hit.

I don't know what a reasonable rate of success would be for attempting to reach First by bunting, but I would be surprised if anyone could do it often enough to significantly improve their average.

We've heard this dubious logic directed at one player or another over the years. Mike Caruso, Pods, and now Jerry Owens. Well, Hawk's latest subject for this "theory" of how to turn a slap hitter into a Hall of Famer, has taken his advise to heart. Owens has been echoing Hawk's advice, and was heard in an interview on the Score, talking about how he has really been focusing on bunting, and plans to attempt to get at least one base hit every game.

I'm sorry to have to disappoint Jerry, Hawk, and anyone else who subscribes to this nonsense, but it doesn't work. Don't believe me? Do the math!

If you are a .250 hitter who never attempts to bunt for a hit, and you are convinced that you can raise your average significantly by including this seemingly potent weapon into your offensive arsenal, you'd better think again. Unless you can bunt at a rate of success better than one hit out of every four attempts, your average won't improve a single percentage point.

The fallacy of the logic of Hawk, and his disciples is quite simple. You can't just add the extra hits produced by bunts, but rather you need to calculate the number of hits per attempt. If a batter would otherwise get 500 at bats in a season, and hit at a rate of .250. By attempting to get one base hit per game, the batter would be using more than 100 at bats. However, even if he were to use only 100 of those at bats in order to attempt to get a hit by bunting, he would need to be successful at least 25 times out of the 100, just to maintain his .250 average.

If he could get 30 base hits out of the 100 attempts he would be bunting at a .300 average. Hitting .300 over those 100 at bats would raise his season's average by 10 points, to .260. But bunting once a game could result in as many as 150 attempts, and being successful even 40 times, which is unheard of, would not help even as much as the 30 out of 100 successful attempts.

The question is how often can the hitter be successful with his bunt attempts. Perhaps the biggest value of adopting this strategy is the effect that it has on the defense. If the 3RD Baseman plays in on the grass, in an attempt to thwart the bunt, then that raises the hitter's odds of sneaking the ball by him, for a hit.

I don't know what a reasonable rate of success would be for attempting to reach First by bunting, but I would be surprised if anyone could do it often enough to significantly improve their average.