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College Baseball and Manufacturing Runs - Quick Followup

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In my previous post on this topic, I looked at overall scoring by game situation both for the nation as a whole and the 2008 Texas team. I then looked at what we can learn from that information as far as the decisions to bunt or steal.

In the discussion that followed that post, I offered to follow up with an analysis of the runner on first and no out situations we faced last year. One of the commenters asked that I look at the winning percentage based on the decision, so I included that information in this analysis.

In 2008, we faced 129 such situations (in the games that have their box scores posted on texassports.com). We bunted in 34 of the situations, which yielded 19 innings in which we scored for a total of 40 runs. We did not attempt a bunt in 95 of the situations, which yielded 57 innings in which we scored for a total of 137 runs.

Bunting --> 1.18 runs per inning at a 55.9% scoring rate; 0.647 winning percentage resulted
Not bunting --> 1.44 runs per innings at a 60.0% scoring rate; 0.653 winning percentage resulted

To be frank, I find the winning percentage result somewhat uninformative because of standard variance during a season. As I stated previously, winning is just as much about pitching and defense as it is about offense. Exactly as much, not more Mr. Sportscaster Cliché Guy.

Anyway, the important thing to note is how well our results line up with our calculations from the previous exercise. Bunting cost our team about 1/4 of a run and resulted in a lower scoring rate. This seems to be a fairly predictable result in the modern college baseball environment.

I took one more step and eliminated the games against "lower quality" competition. I took out situations against Alabama A&M, Sam Houston St., TAMU-CC, Texas Southern, Texas St., UTA, UTPA, and UTSA. Yes, we lost to UTA and UTSA last year in mid-week games. Doesn't change the point.

Against the other opponents, the results were:

Bunting --> 1.11, 55.6%; 0.593
Not Bunting --> 1.32, 61.6%; 0.603

A little odd that the scoring rates were up, but the runs per inning and winning percentage were down, which makes sense.

Once again, this was all by hand and so there may be an error here or there, but the point is the general trends. In the interest of full disclosure, this study had a fairly small sample size for an analysis like this. For example, if one of the bunt situations had resulted in a 6-run inning that in reality yielded a scoreless frame, then bunting would have produced more runs per inning. I hope to be able to add this season to the study for a larger sample size and if so will release the updated findings at the end of the year.

A final note: Augie doesn't bunt as often in this situation as I thought he did. This both surprised and pleased me. Furthermore, his bunt rate was lower against better teams. Does he have an innate understanding that bunting isn't as wise as he lets on? Or will the bunt rate go way up without Kyle Russell in the middle of the order?