Mastrodonato: Free bases and outs are costly

From Jason Mastrodonato at the Boston Herald on March 27, 2016, with mention of SABR President Vince Gennaro:

Led by numbers-friendly coaches and an open-minded manager, the Red Sox have been among the more progressive major league teams in two facets of the game: intentional walks and sacrifice bunts. Both the bunt and intentional pass were once viewed as beneficial, but more recent studies reveal that they can often negatively impact a club’s chance at winning. Each statistic reached its lowest recorded level in 2015. The Red Sox were near the bottom of the majors in each.

On average last season, there was only one sacrifice bunt every four games and one intentional walk every five games.

“I don’t know that anybody wants to give away an out,” manager John Farrell said.

And that’s what the rest of the league might be thinking, too.

“I really do think it took a pretty big mind-sight shift,” said Vince Gennaro, the president of the Society for American Baseball Research. “Think about it optically, what it feels like when you’ve got a runner on first with one out and you bunt him over. Now, optically, to the baseball veteran person who has grown up in the game, they look at it and say, ‘All we need is a single to score.’ So it just feels like it’s the percentage play. But if you don’t bunt him (over), you have two shots at a double.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: March 28, 2016. Last Updated: March 28, 2016.