Questioning your stratagy. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Daryl Hutson   
Friday, 23 July 2010 16:06

Worst of the Worst - Questioning your stratagy

Walking batters every plate appearance; Good strategy, feel good management, or vindictive bull crap.


As this league matures the rulebook lengthens, the boundaries are pushed further and rules need to be made to make the game fair, fun, and keep the stats legitimate.  Rules are impossible to create for every situation or advantage a team may think of.  Sometimes this is because it will handcuff honest advantages, sometimes it’s because physically wording a rule is impossible, and sometimes it’s because it will cripple only a few players of many.


Many of these advantages therefore become judgment calls or “gentleman’s agreements.” Things like looking for a walk every plate appearance, endless home runs against bottom tier pitching, or walking runs in  has become frowned upon by the masses.  Mind you there is no official ruling or opinion on these matters, and whether it’s right or wrong is a personal or team judgment call. The issues usually arise when something that may be taboo to others can be used as a game changer.


This past week both Kevin Marszalek and Brian Meyers were intentionally walked almost every plate appearance in their respective games. Snowsuits’ decision to intentionally walk Marsz on four of his seven plate appearances may have very well led to the Snowsuit 6 - 2 victory.  Mike Raber’s decision to send Brian Meyers to first every at bat led to the rest of the Industials bringing him home two out of seven times, with Brian walking himself in for a third run scored.  Gaining the rare BLIBB (Google it, it's a real stat.)  With a total of nine runs scored against the Lemon’s two runs, “taking Brian out of the game” brought no help.


The first question to be asked; is this even a smart call?  The answer really depends on both teams ability to score runs as a whole.  If as a captain you feel that Kevin Marsz is the only batter on his team capable of driving in enough runs to beat you, then it would probably be a smart decision.  Now all that’s left to worry about is his team retaliating and waving your best hitter to first as well.  On the other hand, if all of the Industrials and Friars have a track record of not leaving ducks on the pond, then putting Brian and Kevin on base every appearance may not be in your best interest.


While the theory sounds easy, adding the numbers gets confusing.  Keeping our two real life examples, let’s view this chart.

Individual Player Offensive Efficiencies

  RBI's per Hit RBI's per PA Runs scored when reaching base. Homerun percentage Homerun Ratio
Kevin Marszalek 1.15 1 RBI : 3.36 PA Scores 47% of time. 13% of PA 1 HR : 6.3 AB
Brian Meyers 1.24 1 RBI : 3.00 PA Scores 48% of time. 13% of PA 1 HR : 6.5 AB

Quickly summarizing the chart, Marsz drives in a run 29.7% of each plate appearance, while Meyers does this 33.3% of the time. Factor in batting averages and this works out to 2-3 RBI’s per game.  These are all averages obviously, but the one thing that is certain is if you walk them every time, they will be on base every time.  Going deeper into the stats, Marsz’s scores 47% of the time he reaches a base, while Meyers's scores 48% of the time.  This roughly means 1/3 of the time the two are at the plate they will drive in 1 RBI, and 1/2 the time they are on base they make it home. Averages look good on paper, but against good or bad matchups these numbers will go up or down.


So how does a team predict the numbers?  All they have to go against is games against.  In May of this season’s games against Snowsuit Marz was 1 for 11 with no RBI’s.  Last year in 5 games Marz was 16 for 33 with 8HR and 14 RBI’s.  Career against Matt Jennings (whom walked him in Monday’s game) Marz is 9 for 13 with 5 HR and 9RBI’s. Late last year Meyers went 5 for 10 with 7 RBI’s and 2 HR’s against the Lemons.  On a side note in the same games Don Kern had 6 RBI’s, he was present this year as well.


The second harder question a team must ask themselves; is it fair to walk a batter every appearance?  Since there are no rules against, and likely never will be, this is purely a judgment call.  I personally feel that the odds typically lean in your favor to try and outpitch a hitter the majority of the time, instead of intentionally walking them every time. Bases loaded or pushing a force excluded.  I’m competitive and would rather beat the whole team as opposed to a crippled version of it, but I realize not everyone feels the same way.  What I do take issue with is a team continuing to walk a player intentionally when the game is no longer close.


To restate, being right or wrong is purely in the hands of the team Captain or player on the mound, but I can’t promise a team won’t catch flak.  Sometimes the ribbing is worth wins in your pocket, but that's for you to decide.


I welcome your opinions.

Last Updated on Friday, 23 July 2010 17:07
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