Relative to the rest of the league, Ned Yost‘s bunting isn’t exactly out of control. However, he does seem rather fond of the strategy, so he pulls it out pretty often, and it’s a big part of how he’s labeled online. The Royals bunted and ran like crazy people in the wild-card playoff against Oakland, and in Wednesday’s Game 4 against the Orioles, Lorenzo Cain sac bunted in the first inning, with nobody out, as the third hitter in the Kansas City lineup, facing Miguel Gonzalez. The Royals did score twice in the inning, but it was taken to be another bit of good Royals luck, and the bunt predictably drew its critics. If nothing else, it looked weird. Cain, again, was batted third, by his own manager.
But there’s a funny thing about Ned Yost’s sacrifice bunts. This goes beyond just the wild-card playoff bunts mostly being defensible. In theory, a sacrifice bunt is either successful or unsuccessful. Even if successful, it trades an out for a base or two. But bunts, as you know, have a whole range of potential outcomes. The Giants, just Tuesday, won on a walk-off sac bunt attempt. 2014 Ned Yost has called for a bunch of sacrifice bunt attempts, and overall, they’ve actually been good for the team.