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JPT: The Cap Standings

13 Responses to JPT: The Cap Standings

  1. Karyn says:

    A swinging bunt that ended up well past third base could rattle around a little, and easily end up worth two bases. It’d be funny to see Mike (Rainbow) Trout do that two or three times in a series.

    • Anon says:

      Robbie Cano did exactly that a couple years ago – bunted hard enough to roll it into LF and turned it into 2 bases.

    • Gary says:

      “Rainbow” Trout, Hey Now! Thanks Karyn, that made my day. Now if you could just get Jerry Koosman into the HOF I would really really appreciate it.

  2. Robert Rittner says:

    It should be clear that there is more strategy in a game with the DH, not less. With the pitcher batting, we all know what will happen with a runner on first; he will sacrifice bunt. Not every time, but usually. That is not the case with the ninth place hitter in the DH league. While the bunt is still possible, it is not automatic.

    Worse yet is that with a runner on first and one out, the pitcher will sometimes sacrifice bunt. That is a crime against baseball, but it happens with pitchers batting. Not in a DH league.

    With the DH, the eighth place batter might try to steal a base; rarely if ever in the pitcher batting league where they don’t want to leave it up to the non-hitter to be the RBI guy. In fact, in another crime against baseball, chances are with a runner on second, the pitcher will walk the eighth place hitter so as to get the opposing pitcher to the plate. Less likely in the DH league.

    The same thing goes for the hit and run, rarely tried with a pitcher at bat, but more likely as a tactical choice in the DH league.

    With the DH, there are numerous options open for offensive strategy not ordinarily available in the league with ersatz hitters. The one so-called strategic difference is whether to remove a pitcher from the game. In most cases, that decision is pretty clear anyway, and with pitchers increasingly going shorter distances even less significant now. In any case, the excitement of a manager’s decision about pulling a pitcher hardly matches the interest lost in other areas.

    • KHAZAD says:

      I think the NL strategy guys are talking about pinch hitting and double switches (which they speak about in holy terms, but is not exactly high strategy. I could teach a reasonably intelligent 8 year old when and how to do it in an afternoon) The thing they miss is that basically all that strategy is designed to do only one thing: limit the number of times the pitcher gets a plate appearance. Pitchers get about 49% of the PAs that the #9 spot gets in an average NL game with the pitcher in the lineup. They are more than halfway to the DH right now, by their own choosing. The double switch is only to delay the pitcher spot coming up even further.

      IT also affects the running game, with NL managers stealing more when there is a threat the pitcher will have to bat later in the inning, and then calling any running game to a halt if a pitcher actually gets on.

      Some of them like bunting, but the AL actually bunts more with position players than the NL. Pitchers make 61.9% of NL sac bunt attempts in 5.4% of the PAs. (Only counts attempts successfully put in play)

      The #8 hitters in the NL lead all lineup spots (in either league) in intentional walks by a huge margin every year. This is despite having the worst batting average and slugging percentage of any lineup spot other than the #9 spot in either league. Another piece of “strategy” centered around the pitcher.

      It also affects the running game, as NL managers will take more chances when there is the threat of a pitcher killing the rally later in the inning. On the rare occasions that a pitcher gets on base though, the running game comes to a screeching halt, as the pitcher puts on a jacket and move stubbornly from station to station. A pitcher attempts a steal about once every 1330 PAs. Even an old fat DH is more than 8 times as likely to try and steal.

      • KHAZAD says:

        some how I got part of the last paragraph jumped into the middle so it appears twice. I thought I had erased it somehow so I wrote it again. Sorry.

      • Robert Rittner says:

        Well done. The double switch is hardly rocket science, nor is it particularly interesting for the fans. Like the sacrifice bunt, it is pretty much routine.

        And my point about sacrifice bunts is not how often it is done but how expected it is. We know the pitcher will bunt. He may surprise us now and then, but it is not a tactic that creates any suspense.

        Interesting point about the running game.

        The game evolves. In fact, were we to begin making rules for baseball today, it is entirely likely we would not have the pitcher hit. Most of the support for it is based on tradition, with the arguments for it an example of deciding on the right answer and then formulating arguments to support it. But as pitchers hit less and less often, with the proliferation of relievers and pitch counts and the like, it is nonsensical to continue having them bat.

        There were actual suggestions for a DH or something like it very early in baseball history, even in the 1800s and again as late as 1940. In one case, I think it lacked only one vote to implement it, but since it did not happen, people think of themselves as “purists” by opposing it.

        • invitro says:

          “The double switch is hardly rocket science” — You guys are projecting your own intelligence on baseball people. They are on average very low-intelligence people, and the double switch probably is rocket science to them. And let’s not set up straw men. Many people (like me, a little) just like having the pitcher hit, and it has nothing to do with tradition or “purity”. And it seems the only argument you have for the DH is that more hitting is always better, which isn’t true for many people.

          • Robert Rittner says:

            No. There are many reasons to like the DH. One is to have real competition in every at bat. Another is that no pitcher ever made a team because he was a better hitter than some other pitcher who had any advantage as a pitcher. Another is that no pitcher ever made the HOF because of his hitting. The greatest hitting pitcher of all time, Wes Ferrell, and a pretty good pitcher, never got close to the HOF while his brother, a rather ordinary hitting catcher, did. In other words, baseball does not value pitcher’s hitting, does not make roster decisions based on it, but insists that they do it anyway. And there are many other reasons as well.

            I have no problem with someone liking it. As a matter of taste, it is not arguable. What I dislike is people claiming it is the only real baseball or that it somehow violates the purity of the game.

          • invitro says:

            “Another is that no pitcher ever made a team because he was a better hitter than some other pitcher who had any advantage as a pitcher. ” — Maybe so, maybe no. Do you have evidence?

            “What I dislike is people claiming it is the only real baseball or that it somehow violates the purity of the game.” — I haven’t heard anyone say this in a long time. I’m sure a few people believe it, but so what? I’m like Joe — I like the distinction between the AL & NL, and wish there were more of it. And you and the others might be getting somewhat close to saying that DH baseball is the only real baseball.

    • invitro says:

      “With the DH, there are numerous options open for offensive strategy not ordinarily available in the league with ersatz hitters.” — No, they’re not numerous. The 8th-place hitter stealing and the 9th-place hitter doing a hit-and-run? That’s a tiny amount of strategy. You’re right that the DH leads to more strategy, but don’t overstate the degree. The NL probably has something like 98% of the strategy as the AL, and because MLB people often aren’t using good strategy options anyway (as Joe points out, they don’t bunt against the shift), I think the difference is not important.

      • Robert Rittner says:

        Thank you for making my point. The argument often heard about the DH is that the NL has more strategy options. My point is that is not true. If anything, the opposite is true. Perhaps my phrasing overstates the point, but not the essential, that claiming an advantage in strategic complexity is simply nonsense. Note that Joe mentions that argument in his article as if it is a given.

  3. Anon says:

    IF hitters committed to bunting, they would still end up with a shift, but it would be less exaggerated:
    – First, teams would move the 3b back to basically his usual position to defend against the bunt because after even a little bit of it, teams will accept that giving up a .750 OBP to the other team is just bad strategy
    – Second, just through natural spray patterns the slugger will spray a few ground balls just to the 3b side of 2b and through the obviously wide-open gap. This will lead teams to eventually move the SS back to the 3b side of the bag. However the SS won’t move too far to that side so it will still be a shift, just much less dramatic.

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