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This question below was originally posted by Andy Katz on Facebook, and I thought it might generate some interesting discussion here on CheckSwing....

"Should a sacrifice fly that does not score a run count as an at bat? A sac bunt does not. Why are sac flies treated differently?"

I've pondered this as well. While it doesn't happen as often, it probably should be treated the same as a sacrifice bunt if it advances the runner. What about when a batter hits the ball to the right side to advance a runner to third? The intent is there.


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Along the same lines, why not let "reached on error" count in on base percentage? How about fielder's choice? There are times I've hit a ball and there's no way the defense would have put me out, but because there was another runner on base, or because of the runner's gaffe, I got a FC in the book.

And I think you're alluding to it, but a fly ball that moves a runner from first to second or second to third, without scoring a run, also doesn't count as a sacrifice.
The reason a bunt does not count as an at bat because it is apparent the batter is giving up their at bat to advance the runner. Remember, the official scorer has the discretion not to rule it a sacrifice if he feels the runner was trying for a bunt hit.

With a ground or fly out that advances the runner, the batter is still trying for a hit, but told to hit to right field so that if there is no hit, he makes a "productive out".

With a sacrifice fly, I guess it is treated differently because a run is scored. To me, if anything, the change should be here, and that should count as an at bat.
That would definitely make things more consistent. Then only a sac bunt would not be considered an atbat and you could make the argument that it's because the batter is intentionally giving himself up.

However, as long as the sac fly is also not considered an atbat, one could make the argument that these other cases should also not count as an official atbat...

-sac ground-out which scores a runner or moves a runner from second to third
-sac fly which moves a runner to second or third
Because it's an error and the batter SHOULD have made an out. Just I said before, your best hitters are the ones that step it up with runners on base and this is no different, if you're the victim of getting a fielders choice scored on you it's because you probably didn't get the job done during your at bat.
Usually yes, but not always. Examples, runner on first, blooper into short CF, ball drops, runner is doubled off second base. If there are no runners on base, it's a hit. Because the runner was put out, it's now a FC and costs an AB.

Runners on first and second, ground ball down the 3B line, third baseman lays out for it, gets up and tags third base. Without the runners there, it's a base hit.

Also on the error part, if a runner is very fast, the defense will often react to that. I've seen times where an infielder will rush because of the speed of the batter/runner and because of the haste, bounces the throw or air mails the 1B, which then goes down as an error. Without the haste, the infielder might have put the runner out. Speed makes defenses very uncomfortable and this can cause errors in itself.
It doesn't matter how or why the runner gets thrown out because it's all about the situation in baseball. If you somehow get a FC put on your stats it's because it's deserved. Do yourself a big favor and look at what players in MLB make the big money. Yep, it's your RBI guys. Why, because they love to hit when the money is on the line. Errors are errors and no matter if the runner is fast or not, fielders have to make prepitch adjustments both physically and mentally to make up for the speed. I've seen many a 3rd baseman plays like you say that have been outs. And if it turns into a fielders choice, hang with em.
You only get the at-bat removed if a run scores. Remember, a Sac Fly does not go against your batting average, but it does however count against your On Base Percentage. The OBP formula adds in the SF when dividing it out. The thought being that you would have "rather" had a hit and a hit would have been "better" for the team, but you will settle for the SF. You were still trying for a hit, where as on a sac bunt, you were told by your manager (or on your own) to "give up" your at bat so it should not count against you at all.
Many years ago, the batter was expected to be able to make contact and control the ball off of the bat. Man on third the batter went deep for a SAC fly. Even the power hitters did not strike out as much as the power hitters do today. You were only considered a skilled hitter and a professional hitter if you could control the ball off of the bat. Maybe, that was what made them come up with the concept that a SAC fly was not an AB. Runner on third with less than two outs and I as a batter try to make adjustments and hit the ball deep enough to score the runner. Not sure this is right but it is a thought. If Mickey Mantle struck out as much as some of today's hitters he would not be considered one of the best hitters to ever play the game. My opinion only.
We are not the first to wonder about and debate this. The sacrifice fly not has not counted as a time at bat since 1893, and has been in and out as a statistic 3 separate times. Moreover, in the early years of baseball, if a runner other than the batter got put out for the 3rd out, the first batter the next inning was the person after the runner put out, not after the batter. Back then outs were sacred, and being tagged out was considered a worse move than the batter who hit the ball to the fielder.
Interesting...
Even today the hitter at the plate is the next hitter the next inning after a runner makes the 3rd out. Maybe I'm not reading what you said right.
No - let's say there are two outs, and the leadoff hitter is on first, cleanup hitter batting. Cleanup hitting hits ground ball to shortstop who tags 2nd base for third out. Before, I think, 1872, the first hitter the next inning would be the second hitter, not the fifth.

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