FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. You mean 2010?

    Comment by Randy — June 18, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

  2. %$#@!

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — June 18, 2010 @ 4:09 pm

  3. As an A’s fan, Ive watched all of Barton’s bunts, and they have been seethingly infuriating. Its mathematically proven that his bunts in particular (from a guy who gets on base 4 times out of 10 anyway) are perhaps the most bone-headed play called upon a non-manager in recent history. Bob Geren deserves some blame as Barton should be hitting 3rd anyway, and also it needs to be brought up to Daric that swinging away is his ONLY move he should ever be allowed to do. Ryan Sweeney and his slap singles and decent OBP should be hitting #2 behind Raj Davis, and Barton’s higher OBP 3rd. Its common sense.

    Having a teams best hitter give away his out for free is simply mind-numbing to have to witness, and the A’s brass have been testing the fans patience with this all year. Thank you FanGraphs, perhaps we will see more swings from Daric.

    Comment by PL — June 18, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

  4. The worst part, IMO, is they have a premier base stealer in front of him, and considering most of these were in the first inning he’s been the only guy who could have been ahead of him.

    Haven’t they heard of the hit and run?

    Comment by Gina — June 18, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

  5. I actually think it’s been shown that your best hitter shouldn’t hit third, because they come up with 2 outs too often. They should be 1,2nd and 4th.

    Comment by Gina — June 18, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

  6. Now, this analysis isn’t perfect.

    Say you have a guy with a RE24 over 600 PA of -20 (so a fringe shortstop in MLB, essentially).

    His E(RE24/PA) = -.033.

    Therefore, it would actually be advantageous to concede the out for a base rather than letting him swing away.

    So, while I’m not too sure if letting 2009 Clint Barmes bunt everytime there’s 0-1 outs and a man on 1st or 2nd (that would take a much deeper analysis), there is a possible advantage to bunting rather than living with the consequences of his PA result.

    That being said, autobunting should still be reserved for the worst of the worst.

    Comment by Joe R — June 18, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

  7. While I’m not trying to excuse him, the problem I have with win expectancy and run expectancy stats is that (correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe) they don’t take into account the actual batters.
    Maybe Barton feels that the As hitters are so atrociously bad that they actually have less of a chance to score that runner from 2nd than we statistically believe is true. And, who knows, that could be the case.

    Comment by matt — June 18, 2010 @ 6:16 pm

  8. I think that logic is bass-ackwards. If he feels they are atrociously bad, then he should be taking it upon himself to “drive them in” rather than throwing his plate appearances away.

    Comment by Not David — June 18, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

  9. This isn’t a proper way to evaluate the usefulness of a bunt. If Barton were hitting like a pitcher, those WPA and RE24 numbers would be exactly the same, when usually the bunt would be preferable to letting him hit away.

    Comment by ??? — June 18, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  10. And it would be a bad thing to have a good hitter come up with two outs? Wouldn’t that be a good time to have a good hitter up, when you need a hit to drive in baserunners?

    Comment by Nathaniel Dawson — June 18, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

  11. unless I am reading wrong and rob told you it was a defense I don’t think it was a defense. More questioning and asking questions about Beane doing things. The point of the comment was that beane zigs when other teams zag” is a statement toward the possible tendency for beane to do things simply because its not done by the establishment. Its worked well for Beane when there is good evidence that its right but this may be a case where they wasn’t good reason to zag. At least thats what I took away from it. Beane’s moves were also questioned in earlier articles comparing the Giants to the As.

    Comment by highrent — June 18, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

  12. I didn’t see these plays. Was Barton squaring up early or was he bunting at the last minute like he would be going for a bunt single? Also, was he bunting to 1B or 3B? I think we need to know the answers to these questions before we can completely condemn it.

    If he is bunting for a single then he doesn’t have to successful very often to make the play worth it. If he is bunting to bring in the 1B then there are some game theory aspects that could improve his long term results.

    Sac bunting, especially if you’re not completely giving it away by setting up early is a pretty sweet move if you want to pad your statistics. If you successfully sac then it is not counted against you, but if you make a hit you get the credit. You only get penalized if you completely screw it up and don’t advance the runner.

    Comment by Matt Lentzner — June 18, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

  13. Gina probably meant to say “because they come up with 2 outs and the bases empty” too often.

    Comment by Not David — June 18, 2010 @ 7:31 pm

  14. I’ve seen most of the nine bunts. He doesn’t appear to be bunting for a hit. He shows bunt pretty early in each situation and doesn’t kind any sort of running start, drag-bunt style. He deliberately stays in the box.

    It’s also worth noting that he doesn’t have great speed.

    Comment by Jacob Jackson — June 18, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  15. I don’t know too many scenarios when you have a guy with a decent average and an excellent OBP should be bunting true in these situations. He’s no slugger but in this case he has a decent chance of getting a good pitch to hit. Its been a trend lately that I have watching him that barton has been trying to do things to stretch his value. Taking extra bases and these small ball tactics to offset and make up for his general lack of power. WHich is a good thing as long as he doesn’t get caught stretching or does stuff like bunt with not outs and guys on second. He doesn’t have good speed so he best be careful. Its crazy that they are letting him do this. He needs to realize he’s a valuable player and to just take a regular approach. Doing thigns like this may get you a pat on the back right now but its not helping his team win.

    Comment by highrent — June 18, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

  16. Did Barton have the platoon advantage or disadvantage in each case, and what were his platoon splits against the handedness of the pitchers in question?

    Comment by Torgen — June 18, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

  17. Nope, he does it whenever Rajai Davis gets on base in front of him with no outs. No platoon splits at all, this is what hurts the most: Barton is GOOD AT HITTING. There’s absolutely no need for him to do this.

    Comment by PL — June 18, 2010 @ 8:53 pm

  18. Perhaps what is lost in the win expectancy rating is gained in the act of self-sacrifice and playing for his team. Statistically it hurts the team but maybe it provides a psychological boost for the team. It did get him written up in an article.

    That said, I would really prefer to see a player of Barton’s caliber hitting away, particularly in high leverage situations and in the first inning. What is Billy Beane doing?

    Comment by nolan — June 18, 2010 @ 11:57 pm

  19. And later today, Barton bunts w/ no out, Rajai on 2nd in the first, fails twice, then moves him over on a ground out.

    This counts as a failure – gave up two strikes instead of hitting.
    No score that inning.

    Comment by MobiusKlein — June 19, 2010 @ 12:10 am

  20. Barton needs to be stopped, he’s out of control.

    Comment by Not David — June 19, 2010 @ 12:25 am

  21. I think Rob Neyer is mentally incapable of criticizing Billy Beane.

    Comment by Vidor — June 19, 2010 @ 1:17 am

  22. I already said that. It’s not the expected value of the bunt that’s the issue, it’s the expected value of it VERSUS the expected value of letting the hitter hit.

    Usually it’s better to swing away, but in some cases, bunting is better (ex: horrible hitter, or late-game)

    Comment by Joe R — June 19, 2010 @ 2:16 am

  23. This is exactly why there is little merit to the notion that a batter w/ a .360 wOBA should be giving the other team an out by sacrifice bunting.

    Comment by chuckb — June 19, 2010 @ 10:13 am

  24. It’s interesting that, were this any other team, we would be questioning the field manager. Since it’s the A’s, we’re ignoring Bob Geren and, instead, questioning Beane.

    Comment by chuckb — June 19, 2010 @ 10:14 am

  25. He tried this same maneuver in last night’s game w/ Davis on 2nd in the first inning and no one out. Bizarre! Why is a guy w/ a .360 wOBA attempting to sacrifice bunt w/ no one out in the first inning? Worse (or better, perhaps), he bunted the first 2 pitches foul and ended up bouncing out to first, thus moving Davis to 3rd anyway. The Cardinals took the out gladly and the #3 hitter failed to get Davis home and the A’s ended up failing to score in the first inning. It’s just bad baseball. I was stunned that Beane would hire a manager that would allow this to happen. The fact that Barton, apparently, is doing this on his own is just bizarre.

    Comment by chuckb — June 19, 2010 @ 10:19 am

  26. Yeah, but walks and singles also advance the runners and… don’t make outs. And, Barton’s got like a .386 OBP, which has touched .400 at times.

    Comment by BX — June 19, 2010 @ 11:29 am

  27. Barton doesn’t have significant platoon splits in either direction. He hits lefties better than he hits righties, but he’s still close to a league average hitter against RHP.

    Not ones that warrant bunting.

    Comment by BX — June 19, 2010 @ 11:31 am

  28. The reason they question Beane is both the coaching staff and the team are aware of it. Geren and the hitting coach are aware of it and the hitting coach praised it. While Beane is not the manager a GM can politely prod his staff to suggest that he stop. Beane should no better and probably suggest that he stop. Its not unusual for Geren to like it because to him its a guy showing how selfless he is rather than costing him games.

    Comment by highrent — June 19, 2010 @ 6:30 pm

  29. @)!)

    Comment by gnomez — June 20, 2010 @ 1:56 am

  30. If it’s being scored a sacrifice, then the scorekeeper has decided that Barton could not possibly have been bunting to reach base. Scorers are pretty clear about this – the only time you get credit for a SH is if you are clearly conceding the out.

    But you’re right – if he was actually trying to bunt aboard, and if he had the wheels and skill to pull it off, say, even only 25% of the time, it might make sense to try. My sense, though, is that he isn’t, and he doesn’t.

    Comment by Neil — June 20, 2010 @ 10:31 am

  31. The A’s are tanking on purpose! It’s like the movie Major League. As their attendance careens into a subzero arctic wasteland the move to San Jose becomes a forgone conclusion.

    Comment by sleepingcobra — June 20, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

  32. maybe they are trying to gain some edge for davis later in the season.

    Comment by Lionofthesenate — June 20, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

  33. walks don’t move a a runner from 2nd to 3rd, and if the guys hitting behind him are awful, he might not feel like he gets a pitch to hit a single on when there is a runner in scoring position and a base empty.

    I’m in the “he’s stupid to be bunting” group too, just trying to point out that the means that are used in the article to “prove” that it’s a bad idea are imperfect.

    Comment by Matt — June 21, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

  34. Here’s the deal: When is it EVER a good idea to sacrifice with your Number 2 hitter in the first inning by any player on any team? If he’s good enough to be No. 2, he should be trying to hit a double.

    Comment by wking — June 22, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

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