Mains: Maybe we’ve taken this whole anti-bunting thing too far

From SABR member Rob Mains at Baseball Prospectus on February 7, 2018:

At the end of every season, I write about under-the-radar trends that occurred. The article for 2017 pointed out some developments that I think are interesting, but it’s also an opportunity for me to trot out what are probably my two favorite baseball charts.

Here’s a graph showing the frequency of bunts in the National League since 1955.


There are all sorts of ways that sabermetrics and analytics have affected the game. On-base percentage and slugging percentage are valued more than batting average. Plate discipline and catcher framing are understood and rewarded. Lineup construction and bullpen management have become more fact-based than instinct-based. But to me, the above two charts represent one of the clearest victories: Sacrifice bunts often don’t make sense.

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Originally published: February 7, 2018. Last Updated: February 7, 2018.