NY Sports Dog: Of Outs and Walks

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Of Outs and Walks

I don't pretend to be Mr. Sabermetrician, though I love baseball statistics.

Like many of you, it started with the backs of baseball cards and newspaper box scores and went from there to Bill James, and thinking about metrics that matter.

Throughout the revolution in baseball statistics one thing is universally understood--outs are the most precious thing in the game (you only get 27), and letting the other guys get on base is bad.

Pretty simple, no?

That brings us to the Mets under Jerry Manuel.

We're only going to look at two statistics here today: Intentional Walks Allowed, and Sacrifice Hits (Bunts).

One stat puts the opposition on base, and the other takes away one of those precious 27 outs.

2009 Intentional Walks Allowed: The Mets have issued 43 Intentional Walks in 2009, 3rd most in the big leagues behind the Dodgers and Marlins. For comparison purposes the Cards, under Tony LaRussa, have issued 11. The Rangers, under the Nolan Ryan concept of pitching, have issued 7, the fewest in MLB. And because we hate them and no conversation would be complete without a mention, the Yanks have issued 20.

2009 Sacrifice Hits (Bunts): The Mets have Sac Bunted 59 times in 2009, again, 3rd most in the big leagues behind the Dodgers and Reds. For comparison purposes, Boston has 11 sac bunts. Of course the National League will sac bunt more, so keeping it in the NL, the bottom two are the Phillies and Brewers with 37 and 36, respectively.

Now again, I'm no sabermetrician, but I do know this--giving away outs and putting the opposition on base time and again doesn't really work--we've seen that with our own eyes. You can point to the injuries as the reason for these numbers, but that doesn't hold up as the Mets were among MLB leaders in both of these categories the first month of the season when everyone was healthy.

Just an FYI, in 2008 the Mets led MLB in Sacrifice Hits, and were 9th in Intentional Walks.

In 2002, Bobby Valentine's last year at the helm, the Mets were 6th in Sacrifice Hits and 5th in Intentional Walks.

In 2000, when the Mets won the NL Pennant, they were again 6th in Sacrifice Hits and 13th in Intentional Walks.

Bottom line for 2009: these strategies just don't work with the team constructed as it currently stands, and Jerry Manuel doesn't seem to understand this by refusing to deviate from his game plan to give away outs and allow baserunners.

It's time for a managerial change, and count me as one who hopes it's not Bobby Valentine. Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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