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Hit or Myth: Too Many Runners Left On

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Rollins singles...
Victorino moves him over...
Utley Doubles...
Howard gets walked...
Conine fouls out...
Burrell whiffs, inning over.

"We left runner on AGAIN!  We always do that!  THAT is what's wrong with this team!"

A refrain heard, in some format - voice, email, message board post - on an almost constant basis in the Delaware Valley.

But is it true?

The Phillies led the league in runs scored, with 865.  They also led the league in Baseunners (Hits+BB+HBP+CI-CS-DP), with 2099 - 84 more than the 2nd place team, almost 200 more than the average team.  Thus, they "stranded" 1234 runners, ALSO the highest total in the league.  

Those 1234 stranded runners represent 58.8% of their baserunners.  How does that number compare to the rest of the league?

TEAM Baserunners Stranded % Stranded
Pittsburgh 1835 1144 62.30%
San Diego 1912 1181 61.80%
Houston 1908 1173 61.50%
Cincinnati 1941 1192 61.40%
Washington 1920 1174 61.10%
Milwaukee 1816 1086 59.80%
Arizona 1911 1138 59.50%
LA Dodgers 2015 1195 59.30%
St. Louis 1915 1134 59.20%
Florida 1858 1100 59.20%
Chicago Cubs 1751 1035 59.10%
Philadelphia 2099 1234 58.80%
San Francisco 1803 1057 58.60%
Colorado 1957 1144 58.50%
NY Mets 1929 1095 56.80%
Atlanta 1923 1074 55.90%
Average 1906 1135 59.50%

The Phillies were actually quite efficient, stranding runners at the 5th-lowest rate in the National League.  11 teams, including 3 of the 4 playoff teams, stranded runners more frequently.

There's not a lot of difference between the 9 teams from Milwaukee to Colorado... had the Phillies failed at the rate the Brewers did, it would have cost them 21 runs, or 2 wins, and had they gained enough efficiency to catch Colorado, they'd have gained 7 runs, or maybe one win.

The outliers, though, are interesting... Had the Phillies stranded runners as often as the Pirates, they'd have lost 75 runs, or 7-8 wins.  There would have been no wildcard chase.  On the other hand, had they been as efficient as the Braves, they'd have gained 62 runs (6 wins) and, again, no race - they're in.

I suspect "outliers" are not repeatable, and that we can expect an uptick in scoring from the Pirates next year, and a bit of a dip from both the Mets and Braves (yes!), but I've got a lot more work to do to support that conclusion.

Conclusion:  MYTH!