Siberian Baseball

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Is small ball a little white lie?

It's pretty intuitive to write off the big swinging, big missing sluggers in baseball as being more trouble than they're worth some seasons when they put together games where they don't make contact in any of their at-bats until they crush one into the cheap seats.

Run down your mental checklist of players who have had that tag hung on them and it makes a lot of sense to lust after a few players on your team that grasp small ball and can grind out runs and make solid contact each time they grab a bat.

(I am currently having the shakes caused by the final two seasons that Sammy Sosoa spent with the Cubs after weighing this prospect.)

But, is it worth it?

I found this link to Dugout Central from a tip from another BallHype user, BrianDaubach7, which starts plugging in different numbers and seeing what would happen if a few players from Reggie Jackson to Barry Bonds had been playing station-to-station.

Intuitively this seems incorrect. Everyone knows that strikeouts are more damaging than this. After checking (and rechecking) the math, I turned to Reggie Jackson. Reggie created 1,728 runs in 21 seasons. Turn all 2,597 of his strikeouts into pop outs and his runs created climbs to 1,754. The all-time strikeout leader only cost his teams 26 runs through failure to make contact.

It won't make it any easier the next time someone hacks themself back to the bench late in a close game, but it might help a little bit.

(Image from:



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