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In-Game Update: Tyler Colvin and wOBA by Count

That footage you see there is of Chicago Cub outfielder and No. 8 hitter Tyler Colvin swinging and missing at a pitch from the newest of St. Louis Cardinals, Edwin Jackson, in the second inning of this evening’s Cubs-Cardinals matchup. More accurately, it’s Tyler Colvin swinging at (what appears to be) an 0-0 slider very much in the dirt with the bases loaded and no outs.

While, given all the variables at play, it’s difficult to say exactly how many runs Colvin cost his team with that one ill-advised hack, we do know — thanks to work from a combo package of Toms Tango and Tippett from 2006 — roughly what the difference in wOBA is given different counts.

Specifically (again, as of 2006), batters passing through a count of 1-0 had a collective wOBA of.371. Meanwhile, batters passing through a count of 0-1 had a collective wOBA of .283*. The difference between those two states, in a context-neutral environment, is about 0.1 runs — but that’s just on a single pitch, with literally no regard for the situation. Considering that, in a typical none on, none out scenario, generic run expectancy is 0.46 and that, in this situation, the (again, generic) run expectancy was 2.28, then we see that Colvin’s lack of discipline is magnified even more.

*The exact numbers are probably different this season given the deflated run environment, but the point remains.