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  1. Good stuff.

    If you remove bunts from pitchers, what percentage had positive WPA?

    Comment by tangotiger — January 10, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

  2. Could you do a partner piece to this article describing the 5 or 10 worst bunts of the year? That might be interesting as well.

    Comment by Jon E — January 10, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

  3. Probably. No promises, but I’ll see if I can fit that into my schedule…

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — January 10, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

  4. That would be the right thing to do, of course… let’s see if I can actually figure out how to do that SQL with the database prior to giving up and going to a three-state fast food eating spree.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — January 10, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

  5. oooh… oooh… what about the 5 bunts with the least overall impact one way or the other?? :-)

    Comment by Adam D — January 10, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

  6. The negative aspects of bunting are usually expressed in terms of WPA or how giving up the out to move the base runner decreases the average number of runs scored in an inning based on well researched data. However, as pointed out, there are game situations where bunting actually makes sense – usually late in a close or tied game where one run may be just as good as 2 or three. I would be curious to know if anybody has looked at whether or not bunting can increase the odds of scoring just one run? Maybe a runner on second with one out is more likely to score than a man on first with no outs even though the average runs in that inning will be less. In the bottom of the ninth in a tie game, additional runs are useless so if a team can increase the frequency of scoring one even if they decrease the frequency of scoring two, three or more than it is a good idea. My statistics classes are old, but I think this would mean one would be the “mode” which would be more useful than the arithmetic mean or median. I realize this is a small subset of bunts but has anybody looked at that?

    Comment by MikeS — January 10, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  7. I don’t have it at hand right now, but I would recommend checking out the chapter on bunting in “The Book.”

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — January 10, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

  8. I believe 1884 was the last time fans were treated to such artful use of the sacrifice-bunt-in-anticipation-of-a-game-ending-error managerial strategy.

    Comment by Choo — January 10, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

  9. thanks, Klaassen. bunts are fun.

    Comment by delv — January 10, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  10. You’re probably joking, but Ned Hanlon’s 1890′s Orioles are generally credited as having been the team that developed the bunt as an offensive weapon. Perhaps you’ve heard of the “Baltimore chop”? Those guys.

    Comment by Alex Remington — January 10, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

  11. Okay… I figured it out without undue anguish. I’m a bit of a drama queen when it comes to confronting my severe limitations when it comes to this stuff.

    Excluding pitchers (assuming my query did it right) the number is 756 for 2161, or about 35%.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — January 10, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  12. I believe this is exactly what you’re looking for…

    When Is One Run Worth More Than Two?

    Sorry, Google books is the only place I could find the article.

    Comment by theflash141 — January 10, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

  13. Only on FanGraphs can you find people interested in the 5 Least Interesting Bunts of 2010. ;-)

    Comment by wickethewok — January 10, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

  14. lol – the baltimore chop, yes siiirrr…..I wish Cesar Izturis would’ve bunted more with runners on, I think he would’ve had better luck instead of actually swinging the bat. He needs to learn this art, hun

    Comment by dave O's fan — January 10, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

  15. I couldn;t figure out why Wainwright would be batting in the 9th with 2 on …. he was a PH brought in just to bunt.

    That TLR … a damn genius.

    Here’s how to lose a game (for the defense).

    “Adam Wainwright reached on fielder’s choice and error to pitcher (Bunt Grounder). Jaime Garcia scored on error. Brendan Ryan advanced to 3B on error. Adam Wainwright advanced to 2B. Error by Aaron Heilman.”

    “Skip Schumaker reached on fielder’s choice and error to first (Grounder). Brendan Ryan scored on error. Adam Wainwright scored on error. Error by Adam LaRoche.”

    9th inning,3 unearned runs.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 10, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  16. I was totally joking, but the Baltimore Chop . . . holy smokes. You gotta love the garbage that passed for excitement during the Deadball Era. Much like the Eskimos and snow, the sheer volume of choppers led to a myriad of terms – Alabaster Blaster, Butcher Ball, Pittsburgh Chopper, Mad Injun, Johnny Appleseed, Juan Pierre, etc. – to categorize subtle differences of the same event.. According to baseball lore (Wikipedia), Wee Willie Keeler once chopped a double off the rock-hard clay in front of home plate. One can only assume bacchanalia ensued.

    Comment by Choo — January 10, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

  17. Aah, LaRussa…

    I thought this might have something to do with direct results, as I recall Cliff Pennington had a bunt double.

    Comment by gnomez — January 10, 2011 @ 7:24 pm

  18. It didn’t end up doing anything, but Aubrey Huff’s first sacrifice bunt of his entire career in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series was pretty awesome.

    Comment by Evan — January 10, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

  19. how about the 5 most ironic bunts, in which the goal was to advance the runner so as to avoid hitting in to a double play, but actually RESULTED IN A DOUBLE PLAY!!!!

    Comment by grady — January 10, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

  20. EXACTLY what I was interested in. Thanks!

    So in a tie game, in the ninth, runners on 2nd or 1st and 2nd a bunt is a good play unless a pretty good hitter is up. If down a run, it is almost a wash. Cool.

    The article also does a good job of pointing out that sometimes managers make the right call but get bad results – the opposite of this article.

    Comment by MikeS — January 10, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

  21. first ever?

    Comment by phoenix2042 — January 11, 2011 @ 12:07 am

  22. First. Ever.

    Comment by Kevin — January 11, 2011 @ 9:44 am

  23. WPA is wins, not runs, and it is the correct currency to use. The “one run” thing is captured perfectly and accurately with WPA.

    Comment by tangotiger — January 11, 2011 @ 10:45 am

  24. I honestly don’t understand how bunts are considered to be a negative thing to do. I found something really interesting… First of all there is a huge discrepancy between the AL and the NL because of pitcher bunts obviously.
    But using the nifty new feature here on the FG leaderboard splits… from 2005-2010 bunting in the AL produced 82.9 wRAA or about +8.3 WAR. just from bunting (!) it gets even more impressive as we take a look at the wRC+ for bunts… well bunts in the AL are fairly rare so the wRAA are excellent. the worst team in that time-frame were the white sox with a wRC+ of 80. the second worst were the twins with 123 (!!!) 12 out of 13 teams had a wOBA above .350 on bunts while 8 teams managed to get over .400!

    In the NL the cummulated amount of wRAA was -37.8 or -3.8 WAR. Only 3 teams managed a wOBA over .350 just one above .400…. 8 teams were bunting for a wOBA under .300…

    wouldn’t it make sense to bunt far more often? or don’t let pitchers bunt at all since the only real difference from the AL are pitchers bunting almost always when at bat what i think is the reason for the negative results of NL bunting.


    Comment by AC_Butcha_AC — January 11, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  25. what do you think of peter bourjos’ ability?

    Comment by will — January 11, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

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