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AN OUT IS AN OUT???

Apr 28, 2019
306
28
I'll speak as someone in the trenches and how I see things as a batter in this situation.

With less than two outs and a/multiple runners in scoring position, I'm up there looking for a ball I can hit...hard. I don't want to hit a soft grounder. I don't want to hit a blooper and just deposit the ball in left-center, center or right-center. I want to hit a ball hard and I want to maybe hit it to someone but preferably, I want to aim gap-to-gap if I possibly can. I mean, I could hook a ball down the line and hope it clears one of the corner bases before going foul so it stays fair. If I have to be out, I'll sacrifice myself to either advance the runner to the next base or even a runner home.

With two outs, my approach changes. I'm going to be more selective with what I'm going to swing at. If a pitcher is putting the ball just anywhere, I'll take the walk any time they want to give it to me. But I'm going to be looking to either put a ball in play or I'm looking to foul a pitch off so I can have another pitch to look at. I'll do this in particular especially if the other team has changed pitchers and I'm trying to get her timing down. But also, if I can make a pitcher work to get that last out of the inning, then I've done my job in wearing the pitcher down.

If a pitcher is all over the place no matter the situation, I'll take the walk any day of the week. I'll also keep fouling pitches off even if there are less than two outs and I feel like I want to make the pitcher work to get me out.
Good approach I like it.
 
Jun 6, 2016
853
28
Chicago
Any ball hit into play is better then a strikeout, unless it leads to a double play. But so many things can happen when the ball is hit. An error or a runner advancing on the out. Put the ball in play and good things happen.
Now lets talk about this whole a walk is as good as a hit BS.
Explain to me how a pop out to the pitcher is better than a strike out.

What people don't really seem to get is that the result is what's virtually the same (it's true a ground out that moves the runner is marginally better than a strike out, but not so much better as to be something we should be teaching or trying to do). The point is that the outs are worth about the same, not that hitting the ball is somehow not better than not hitting the ball. Does that make sense?

There's a reason why those who understand analytics put so much stock into a pitcher's strike out rate. Striking batters out is objectively better than letting them hit the ball (because it's been proven that pitchers tend to have little control over balls in play). HOWEVER, and this is where everybody in this thread isn't quite understanding, the outs are basically the same. A strike out is exactly as bad for the offense as a weak infield pop out.

Here's a somewhat unrealistic example that illustrates the point. Take two hitters. Every single stat they have is identical, except one hitter struck out 100 times and hit 0 pop outs. The other struck out 50 times and popped out to the infield 50 times. If you're arguing that the second hitter is better/more valuable because of 50 more balls in play, I'm going to take issue with that.

Also, a walk is, again, objectively, not as valuable (which means "does not increase run expectancy as much") as a hit, though in certain instances it has the same practical value (a lead-off single and a lead-off walk increase run expectancy by virtually the same amount).

tl;dr version - It's important to learn what those who do the analytics are actually saying, because most of the "disagreement" is based on a misunderstanding.
 

pattar

Clueless..
Jun 8, 2016
2,714
83
The statistics are just that, statistics. You cannot argue with those. One thing which isn't considered is the probability of an individual still being to hit the ball hard by taking the approach advocated by the OP. If the probability that an individual hitter can still hit the ball hard by taking the contact approach doesn't decrease too significantly but the probability that a strikeout goes way down then that would likely be the correct choice. This is where a hitter knowing their own swing comes into play imo.
 
Apr 28, 2019
306
28
Explain to me how a pop out to the pitcher is better than a strike out.

What people don't really seem to get is that the result is what's virtually the same (it's true a ground out that moves the runner is marginally better than a strike out, but not so much better as to be something we should be teaching or trying to do). The point is that the outs are worth about the same, not that hitting the ball is somehow not better than not hitting the ball. Does that make sense?

There's a reason why those who understand analytics put so much stock into a pitcher's strike out rate. Striking batters out is objectively better than letting them hit the ball (because it's been proven that pitchers tend to have little control over balls in play). HOWEVER, and this is where everybody in this thread isn't quite understanding, the outs are basically the same. A strike out is exactly as bad for the offense as a weak infield pop out.

Here's a somewhat unrealistic example that illustrates the point. Take two hitters. Every single stat they have is identical, except one hitter struck out 100 times and hit 0 pop outs. The other struck out 50 times and popped out to the infield 50 times. If you're arguing that the second hitter is better/more valuable because of 50 more balls in play, I'm going to take issue with that.

Also, a walk is, again, objectively, not as valuable (which means "does not increase run expectancy as much") as a hit, though in certain instances it has the same practical value (a lead-off single and a lead-off walk increase run expectancy by virtually the same amount).

tl;dr version - It's important to learn what those who do the analytics are actually saying, because most of the "disagreement" is based on a misunderstanding.
I don’t care about numbers. Baseball/softball is a game of feel. Making the defense work gives you a better chance of getting on base.
Here’s a stat for you. If you swing you have a better chance of making contact than if you don’t swing.
How many rings did Mr Money ball help his team get? Correct me if I’m mistaken but I believe it was ZERO. Strikeouts suck!!!
 
Dec 11, 2010
1,978
48
When this argument comes up 3x a year I always think that the posters opinion probably is based on the level of softball they are most familiar with and what age of play they are most familiar with.

Once you get to a certain level, and a certain age, most ground balls are outs. Grounders that get through are the exception, not the norm. If you are hoping the defense makes errors you are going to be disappointed. Hoping the other team screws up is, as they say, no way to run a railroad.

Lasers to the gaps. There is no substitute. 😎

I’ll add this: there are a handful of teams built on blinding speed that defy this. The players aren’t pretty fast. They aren’t fast. They are the fastest, as in if the ball bounces twice they are safe. Not what most coaches have to work with. Ground balls work for them.
 
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Dec 11, 2010
1,978
48
I don’t care about numbers. Baseball/softball is a game of feel. Making the defense work gives you a better chance of getting on base.
So you are saying the stat you care about is OBP? Because if so, I would be able to agree with you. So would Billy Beane.

Here’s a stat for you. If you swing you have a better chance of making contact than if you don’t swing.
If you swing at good pitches, you have an even better chance.

Those numbers you don’t care about can tell you if your players are really doing that.

Stats are what tell a good coach if what he thinks he is seeing is what he’s really seeing. Sometimes good coaches are surprised at what they don’t see.
 
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Apr 28, 2019
306
28
When this argument comes up 3x a year I always think that the posters opinion probably is based on the level of softball they are most familiar with and what age of play they are most familiar with.

Once you get to a certain level, and a certain age, most ground balls are outs. Grounders that get through are the exception, not the norm. If you are hoping the defense makes errors you are going to be disappointed. Hoping the other team screws up is, as they say, no way to run a railroad.

Lasers to the gaps. There is no substitute. 😎

I’ll add this: there are a handful of teams built on blinding speed that defy this. The players aren’t pretty fast. They aren’t fast. They are the fastest, as in if the ball bounces twice they are safe. Not what most coaches have to work with. Ground balls work for them.
I have seen many errors so far at regionals and Super regionals. If you make contact you have hope of reaching base. No hope if you K. (Drop 3rd strike only hope and that is very low percentage as most batters don’t make an effort to run just hang their heads and sulk back to the dugout.
 

4 girl's dad

Finding my way
Apr 5, 2013
1,751
48
Back on the dirt
I have seen many errors so far at regionals and Super regionals. If you make contact you have hope of reaching base. No hope if you K. (Drop 3rd strike only hope and that is very low percentage as most batters don’t make an effort to run just hang their heads and sulk back to the dugout.

You have a lot of emotion in your post. That’s not a bad thing but sometimes the emotion takes a little intelligence away.

Yes, there have been a good number of errors but there have been WAY more putouts on ground balls than errors. Errors stand out so we notice them. Putout are the norm so they don’t stand out. I would bet there are not enough errors against offenses to win a game as a game plan.
 
Dec 11, 2010
1,978
48
Oh me too, MANY errors, lol.

So do you agree with Billy Beane about OBP or not?

And you said in post #9 you don’t like to bunt- think Billy might agree with you there too. Pretty sure he was also against giving up outs. I think you may agree with saber metrics more than you realize.

In post #7 you said you hate bunting. Isn’t bunting putting a ball in play? Making the defense work and all? After all, they might make an error.

So help me with this. Should a player’s goal be to put balls in play and “not strike out”? Or should hitters be predators looking to do damage? I ask because the difference in those two attitudes sets a path for a player.
 
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