Stranding Runners at Third

BASEBALL

I was reading an interesting discussion about whether the Tigers do poorly at scoring runners who reach third base with less than two outs.  It turns out last year that they were one of the worst teams at this (48% of Tiger runners scored while the American League average was 52%.)  But, the Tigers were not a good hitting team.  So I thought that since this was a rate statistic maybe just team that hit well scored theses runners well.  In other words, who cares how the runner got to third.  The good hitting teams are most likely to drive in the runner.

I first compared OPS and 3B <2 from last year.

TEAM 2009 OPS 2009 3B, <2
SEA

0.716

47%

KC

0.724

50%

OAK

0.726

51%

CHA

0.74

49%

DET

0.747

48%

BAL

0.747

57%

CLE

0.756

51%

TEX

0.764

50%

TOR

0.773

52%

MIN

0.774

56%

TAM

0.782

51%

LAA

0.792

55%

BOS

0.806

53%

NYA

0.829

54%

If you fit a trend line to this date you see an r2 coefficient of 0.30.  In other words OPS explains about 30% of scoring these runners.

With some more thought I figured that power is not needed to score a runner from third so maybe batting average is the key.

TEAM 2009 BA 2009 3B, <2
SEA

0.258

47%

CHA

0.258

49%

KC

0.259

50%

DET

0.260

48%

TEX

0.260

50%

OAK

0.262

51%

TAM

0.263

51%

CLE

0.264

51%

TOR

0.266

52%

BAL

0.268

57%

BOS

0.270

53%

MIN

0.274

56%

NYA

0.283

54%

LAA

0.285

55%

When this data is fit with a line r2 = 0.59.  Batting average does explain most of the scoring of runners from third with less than two outs.

I didn’t think OBP would work better because not all walks immediately score a runner from third.  In fact the data only explains 41% of scoring runners on third with less than two outs.

TEAM 2009 OBP 2009 3B, <2
SEA

0.314

47%

KC

0.318

50%

TEX

0.320

50%

OAK

0.328

51%

CHA

0.329

49%

DET

0.331

48%

BAL

0.332

57%

TOR

0.333

52%

CLE

0.339

51%

TAM

0.343

51%

MIN

0.345

56%

LAA

0.350

55%

BOS

0.352

53%

NYA

0.362

54%

So, it is not surprising the Tigers stranded runners on third with a higher rate.  They had a lower batting average than most teams.  A follow up question is if you include SO% (strike out rate) and batting average how well could you predict  3B <2?  I have neither the statistics experience or software to answer that.

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