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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Run Expectancy and the 11-run inning

I'm secure enough in my baseball fanhood that I can confidently say that statistics like WAR, run expectancy, and win expectancy aren't a part of my enjoyment of the game.  However, all signs(and scoreboard functions) point to the fact that the jargon of sabermetrics will more and more be heard at Minute Maid Park in the future.  In light of this trend, this post is an experiment to see how RUN EXPECTANCY might affect my following of a game.
Below is a RE-enhanced recap of a recent Lancaster JetHawks inning.  In the top of the fifth inning at Visalia on June 1, the JetHawks sent 12 batters to the plate and scored an unexpected(?) 11 runs.  Please note that I used an RE matrix based on Major League data, so it is not precise for this California League game. However, it serves my purposes.
Top of 5th Inning starts- RE- .491
Grant Hogue singles
Runner on 1st, no out- RE- .840
Ben Orloff sacrifice bunt
Runner on 2nd, one out- RE- .662
George Springer walks
Runners on 1st and 2nd, one out- RE- .877
Balk moves runners to 2nd and 3rd
Runner on 2nd and 3rd, one out- RE- 1.365
Erik Castro singles, two runs score
Runner on 1st, one out- RE- .493- Runs Scored-2
Domingo Santana walks
Runners on 1st and 2nd, one out- RE- .877- Runs Scored-2
Telvin Nash walks
Bases loaded, one out- RE- 1.529- Runs Scored-2
Kike Hernandez doubles. Two runs score.
Runners on 2nd and 3rd, one out- RE- 1.365- Runs scored-4
Alex Todd singles to the catcher
Bases loaded, one out- RE- 1.529- Runs scored-4
Rene Garcia singles, two runs score
Runners on 1st and 2nd, one out- RE- .877- Runs scored-6
Runners move on a passed ball
Runners on 2nd and 3rd, one out- RE- 1.365- Runs scored-6
Grant Hogue singles, one run scores
Runners on 1st and 3rd, one out- RE- 1.113- Runs scored-7
Ben Orloff hits a sacrifice fly.  One runs scores.
Runner on 1st, two outs- RE- .216- Runs scored-8
George Springer singles.
Runners on 1st and 2nd, two outs- RE- .436- Runs scored-8
Erik Castro hits a home run.  Three runs score.
No one on, two outs- RE- .101- Runs scored-11
Domingo Santana strikes out. 
Inning over.  11 runs score.
Three thoughts about the numbers that came up as I keyboarded my way through this inning:
Of course, the strategy worked out for the JetHawks in a big way in this case, but it is interesting to see that a sac bunt usually reduces the chances of scoring by about 17%.

It doesn't hurt to have the other team commit a balk AND a passed ball in the same inning.  According to my matrix, each of those "errors" increased the JetHawks' run expectancy by almost 50%.

Run Expectancy matrix or not, Erik Castro had an awesome inning.  2 for 2 with a home run, two runs scored and five RBI.

Conclusion:  As a math/statistics fan, I could see references to RE being interesting to refer to on occasion while following a baseball game.  However, I'm not sure that it tells you much that a baseball fan wouldn't know already just from watching.   I think I will try this experiment again during a live game situation to gather more data for the decision scientists in the Farmstros' offices.


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