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Sac Flies and Guys Who Don't Hit Them

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  • Sac Flies and Guys Who Don't Hit Them

    This reminded me of the Dunn conversation...wish I'd looked this stuff up back then. Anyway, it's from the pocket-protector crowd at Prospectus, so get out your abacuses (abaci?)...


    Lance Berkman doesn’t have a single sacrifice fly in 374 plate appearances this year. If, as some would have us believe, a willingness to give oneself up in order to move runners over is the ultimate sign of a player’s true value, then here are the least valuable players in the majors this year:

    Players with most plate appearances and zero sac flies:

    439: Todd Helton, Rockies
    409: Jermaine Dye, White Sox
    393: Orlando Cabrera, Angels
    383: Mike Piazza, Mets
    380: Jason Giambi, Yankees
    374: Lance Berkman, Astros

    What is interesting about this list is that none of these men are leadoff hitters, unlike a number of the players on the all-time single-season list (starting in 1954, when they officially began counting the stat):

    751: Pete Rose, 1973 Reds
    721: Kirby Puckett, 1986 Twins
    705: Gene Richards, 1980 Padres
    704: Vada Pinson, 1959 Reds
    689: Steve Sax, 1982 Dodgers
    687: Tony Womack, 1997 Pirates
    686: Lou Brock, 1965 Cardinals
    684: Don Blasingame 1959 Cardinals
    683: Bill Bruton, 1955 Braves
    681: Adam Dunn, 2004 Reds

    Normally, when compiles a list of any sort, there are at least a couple of repeaters--players who show a pattern of a certain type of behavior. In this case, only one name appears twice in the top 32 all-time: Bill Bruton. It would seem that luck and circumstance play very important roles in a stat like this. As for Bruton, he went 611 appearances without one the year before, making for a two-year total of 1,294 sans sac-ing.


  • #2
    I don't know what any of this means, but I'm so grateful to see a baseball thread on here that I could cry.
    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
    --Albert Einstein

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    • #3
      I don't think a sacrifice fly counts as "giving yourself up", since the batter is swinging away. (This is why the practice of not charging an at-bat for an SF should end). What lack of sac flies would seem to indicate is a player who whiffs too much. We know that Dunn doesn't hit sac flies b/c the only way he can put a ball in play is to hit it over the fence; is that true of the other players on that list?
      Official sponsor of the St. Louis Cardinals

      "This is a heavyweight bout indeed."--John Rooney, Oct. 27, 2011

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      • #4
        Abacuses.

        "My daddy Nabacuses like my mommy did."
        Official sponsor of the baseball gods and other missalaneous stuff.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by kah@Aug 16 2005, 02:06 PM
          I don't think a sacrifice fly counts as "giving yourself up", since the batter is swinging away. (This is why the practice of not charging an at-bat for an SF should end). What lack of sac flies would seem to indicate is a player who whiffs too much. We know that Dunn doesn't hit sac flies b/c the only way he can put a ball in play is to hit it over the fence; is that true of the other players on that list?
          Helton: 7.03 PA/K
          Dye: 5.60
          Cabrera: 11.29
          Piazza: 6.37
          Giambi: 4.51
          Berkman: 8.50


          League leaders in sac flies:

          Craig Monroe: 7.16 PA/K
          Juan Uribe: 5.92
          Carl Everett: 5.88
          Shawn Green: 7.12


          Moral of the story: On a single-season basis, at least, the correlation between not hitting sac flies and striking out a lot is pretty gd weak. And sac flies are pretty random. I mean, Shawn Green is fourth in the majors, and he has a whopping 8 sac flies.

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          • #6
            One more thing: Adam Dunn is hitting .324/.427/.714 with 11 HR (and 30 strikeouts) since the all-star break.

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