“Those are the little things that I don’t think you can see in the box score, ever.”

That’s what Mike Lowell said. Actually, we can put it in. This is what the win expectancy matrix was set up for.

Let’s look at this chart. It’s the bottom of the 12th (look at the bottom of the 9th), the batter just flied out to make the 2nd out, and Scutaro would 99% of the time remain on 1B. That sets the win expectancy at .562. But Scutaro actually went to 2B, for a win expectancy of .610. So, we credit Scutaro with +.048 wins.

There you go, Mr. Lowell, it is now officially in the boxscore. If it’s tangible, we can measure it. And Scutaro going to 2B is tangible and measurable.

All we need to do is get the scorers to make a better notation in the boxscore so we can separate these plays better. If it was a deep fly ball that any runner would have made it, we give 100% of the credit to the batter. If it was a flyball that essentially makes the Scutaro play like a SB attempt, we give 100% of the credit to the runner. The tough ones are the in-between plays where the split is not so easily done.

By the way, had Scutaro been thrown out, the odds go down to .500, or a drop of .062 wins. So, it’s a very heads up play by Scutaro, as he only needed to be safe 56% of the time to breakeven. So, the issue is not that Scutaro went for it, but rather, why don’t more runners go for it on those plays? As Scutaro said: do or die.


Also, someone else pointed out to me that they IBB the next batter, raising the win expectancy from .610 to .613. Why did it go up, if the lead runner wins the game in either case? And, having a runner on base now makes the outs at three bases possible. I didn’t look into it, other than guess that it’s because two walks wins the game.

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17 Responses to ““Those are the little things that I don’t think you can see in the box score, ever.””

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  1. Tom B says:

    Does the WE increase from the IBB take into account that is was now Kevin Youkilis batting instead of Pedroia?

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    • Kevin S. says:

      WE doesn’t consider specific hitters, only a given run environment. It’s generally not a big issue though, because there typically isn’t a massive difference in hitter quality between two consecutive spots in the batting order. Maybe if you had, say, the best hitter on the planet being followed directly by a pitcher, but who would ever do that?

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      • Gdiguy says:


        (couldn’t resist)

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      • Tom B says:

        I would think that facing youkilis over pedroia in any game situation would not help your chances. i’m just trying to figure out what in the world ron washington was thinking. something tells me that the difference between the 2 players outweighs the situational WE differences. someone much smarter than me will have to do the leg work to figure that one out though.

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    • Mr. Sanchez says:

      Could it be the now supposed increased gap on the right side of the field as in theory the 1B is now holding the runner at 1st, while the middle IF are having to move around to hold (or spy) the runner at 2nd? Perhaps that expected change in defensive alignment increases the odds of getting a hit.

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      • Tom B says:

        With the winning run on second you aren’t holding the runner on at first base he doesn’t matter.

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  2. tangotiger says:

    The win expectancy chart that I linked to is based only on the inning, score, base, out.

    There is NOTHING to stop anyone from creating a win expectancy chart that includes the identity of the batters, fielders, pitchers, players in the dugout, last time a reliever was used, manager, park, the count, the time of day, the climate, and anything else you think can affect the win expectancy of a game. All you need to do is put in the time and effort to create such a system.

    Win Expectancy, as a framework, is perfect. Win Expectancy, as an implementation, is limited to whatever parameters you use.

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  3. neuter_your_dogma says:

    Boxscore wouldn’t have captured Ryan Howard’s almost perfect split when stretching for a throw to first from Castro. Please add 9.8 style points to UZR :)

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    • joser says:

      But he got a low score from the East German judge. Anyway, since the last scandal, haven’t they reduced the weighting for Artistic Interpretation?

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  4. joser says:

    This reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to ask you, Tango. Is there an updated version of your Run Expectancy Matrix using data from all the years since? I realize it likely will only effect the rightmost decimal places, but as something I use / quote / link to frequently it still would be nice for it to be based on the largest possible dataset. Also, whatever happened to the update you promised in the parenthetical comment?

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  5. Mike Green says:

    CHONE has Scutaro at +1 runs as a baserunner over his career. This figure seems very low for those of us who watched him closely in 2008-09. Smart player, smart baserunner.

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    • Tom B says:

      Its just hard to purely make up runs as a baserunner. you can be very good at it, yes, but at some point you are still relying on someone else getting a hit.

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      • David Carter says:

        “someone else has to get a it.” Not always. Joe Morgan could manufacture a run = Morgan on First. steals second. Steals third. Goes home on a passed ball or an infield hit. Same for Jacoby Ellsbury. They’re the exceptions, but that makes them all the more valuable.

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  6. Anon says:

    The increase in WE is likely due to the increased likelihood that the next two batters are some combination of walk/walk, single/walk, or error/walk. IOW filling that base makes it more possible that the lead runner will get forced in.

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