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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Ron Fairly Is "Not Entirely" Full of Crap 

...in one regard, that is. A look at James Click's latest article at Baseball Prospectus (subscription required) shows that one of the old-timey pieces of baseball wisdom that are Red's specialty might be true.

Click wants to know if a speedy runner on first base actually influences the batter-pitcher outcome. Looking at last season's numbers with a runner on first and with second base unoccupied and available to steal, and divided into baserunner classes ("major threat" (to steal), "minor threat," and "slow as evolution") it turns out that hitters outperformed their seasonal averages by a greater margin with the faster runners on first base than with the slower ones aboard. The difference is not enormous (about .030 OPS), but it is persistent, showing up in each season that Click examined. Says Click:
So the next time you're listening to a ballgame and the announcer claims a hit is the result of a pitcher focusing too much on a basestealer instead of the batter, it's not entirely untrue.

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