You can’t score .667 runs in a given inning. He either scores or he doesn’t. There is way, way more data than “odds of scoring from second with no outs, vs from 3rd with one out” going on, and that matters a great deal.

For instance, to use Wonk’s example of stealing third: if the pitcher pulls a Storen and just forgets all about him, his chances go way up, as we have, alas, seen. We could all list a hundred confounding variables, and the sum of them matters. You can’t just hang it on one point and ignore the whole context.

That said, I would have bunted him over.

]]>But, given Tanner’s good success rate at bunting, and given Lobaton’s record as a pinch hitter and his recent non-use — I think a bunt by Tanner was the smarter move.

]]>So … it does get complicated, and those probabilities, as 61D also keeps pointing out, are historical outcomes across all players, so MW might well be able to assess different probabilities for this particular set of players.

I personally would have chosen the bunt, especially since Lobaton hadn’t gotten any ABs in the last few days and has been scuffling anyway, but I don’t think it’s an obvious decision. ]]>

My guess is that the importance of individual deviation from historical averages increases as the success rate between two historical outcomes narrows.

]]>Not really. In the end, it’s about what decision gives you the best chance to win. We don’t lose the game if they guy is thrown out at 3rd on an attempted sacrifice We just might not have as good a chance to win it in that inning. Suppose the odds of scoring a guy from third with one out were 90% and from second with none out 50%. Would you still be concerned about making sure that you don’t end up with a guy on first and one out? Of course not. You’d do everything you could to get that guy to third.

*You don’t understand what probability is and how to use it.*

Ignoring the arrogant snark in this comment, I thought that probabilities were precisely “historical outcomes expressed in percentage form.” More exactly, lots and lots and lots of historical outcomes. Your coin toss example doesn’t change that probability because we know that the chance of tails is 50-50, and any 60-40 outcome over 100 tosses is obviously an aberration based on small sample size. But over enough tosses, the historical outcomes expressed as a percentage will be 50%, right?

The chances or probabilities of scoring from second or third are based on so many historical outcomes that they essentially control for the variables that would effect the actual (and pretty much unknowable) probability in an individual case — like how good the hitters coming up are, how good the defense against the bunt is, how hard the pitcher is to bunt against or get a hit against. But it’s still just a probability and if a manager has information on those variables that counsels for adopting the approach that according to the numbers is less likely to occur, then by all means he would use it.

Here, most of those variables point in the other direction — Lobaton is not a great hitter and has been sitting on the bench for 13 innings. The Reds first and third basemen are not stellar defenders. On the other hand, the pitcher is not one of their best, perhaps easier to get a hit off, but also easlier to lay down a good bunt off.

I’ll buy that it was not a slam dunk decision, but I still think the best choice was a sacrifice.

]]>But that’s all we can ever do with human performance, right?

Why not have Franny just steal third, right?

The reason: because we know from accumulated historical outcomes, that stealing third has a low probability of success move.

jd is right. When stat guys accumulate *tens of thousands* of times that a runner was on second and no out, and a runner on third with one out, they see that the latter ends up with a run almost ** 10%** more of the time. You can’t just throw that evidence away and say that: well, it’s all historical and therefore irrelevant.

**I am confidently predicting!** that RZ, Harper, and LaRoche will, indeed, rejoin the team this year.

Likewise, the starting pitching being up to par.

It really is kind of amazing we’re not underwater.

]]>Calculating the probability of a sac bunt working strikes me as being like calculating the probable outcome of rolling 12-sided dice that may be randomly weighted at three points on a randomly oscillating table.

]]>Actually projections at this time have been proven to be extremely accurate. If they wait till July to get hot they might find themselves at home before it gets cool again. Last year is a very good example of that. They have no control of the injuries, but they must at least play smarter and field better.

]]>TyMo => LaRoche

Espi => Zim

McLouth/Frandsen/Hairston => Harper

Will be interesting to see how Dobbs/TyMo does vs. just TyMo, though.

]]>The probability of scoring a run with a man on 2nd and none out :61.9%

The probability of scoring a run with a man on 3rd and 1 out : 69.3%

Whether to move Span out of the leadoff spot may be something the Nats need to consider, but it’s not really relevant here. As Kilgore says, he has succeeded in 2 of 5 chances in that situation (runner on 3B, 1 out) this year, and even if he fails, he’s not the only or last batter who has a chance. That was Rendon, who nearly succeeded. Plus, if you really don’t trust Span, why make his job harder with the high chance of an unproductive out that leaves Frandsen 90 feet further away from the plate?

61D20

Could it happen? Sure.

Did Kilgore think it likely enough, or important enough, that he ranked it among his top 5 arguments in defense of MW? No.

The good news is there’s a game tonight and a new game thread up, and we get to leave this behind.

]]>To put it simply there is really only one question that needs to be answered:

What action brings the greatest probability to score 1 run with a man on 2nd and none out? forget the results for a minute, forget the players involved.

I know that in general when you are trying to score as many runs as possible, you are better off swinging away but when you need 1 run to win it’s a different equation. You never addressed Ghost’s very key point that there was no force involved which makes it more difficult for the defense and also gives the runner the option of staying at 2nd base if he judges the bunt to be poor.

]]>