April 12, 2011

Is Eight LOB Per Game "Astounding"?

In his pre-game notes, Peter Abraham stated that the Red Sox
have left an astounding 81 runners on base in 10 games.
Is an average of 8 LOB per game really "astounding"?

Here are the number of games in each of the last five seasons in which the Red Sox left eight or more men on base:
2006: 84 of 162 (51.9%)
2007: 93 of 162 (57.4%)
2008: 86 of 162 (53.1%)
2009: 77 of 162 (47.5%)
2010: 77 of 162 (47.5%)
     417 of 810 (51.5%)
If something happens roughly every other game, I do not think it can be described as "astounding".

What about the average number of men left on base per game?
2006: 8.0
2007: 8.0
2008: 7.8
2009: 7.5
2010: 7.4
It's interesting that the Red Sox have been steadily leaving fewer men on base per game for the last five seasons. But more importantly, leaving eight men on base per game is not astounding. In fact, for the Red Sox over the last half-decade, it's almost average (literally).

Even when Boston led all MLB teams in runs scored for three straight seasons -- 2003-05 -- they still left roughly eight men on base in every game.

2003: 961 runs (54 more than the #2 MLB team); averaged 7.6 LOB per game

2004: 949 runs (52 more than the #2 MLB team); averaged 7.8 LOB per game

2005: 910 runs (24 more then the #2 MLB team); averaged 7.7 LOB per game

Four other high-scoring teams:

2007 Yankees
Led MLB with 968 runs
82 games with 8+ LOB - averaged 7.6 LOB per game

1999 Cleveland
Led MLB with 1,009 runs
84 games with 8+ LOB - averaged 7.5 LOB per game

1950 Red Sox
Led MLB with 1,027 runs
86 games (of 154) with 8+ LOB - averaged 8.3 LOB per game

1931 Yankees
All-time record of 1,067 runs
80 games (of 155) with 8+ LOB - averaged 7.9 per game

9 comments:

allan said...

LOBotomy!

"OBP keeps me happy!"

laura k said...

*insert my standard comment about LOB here*

I get really tired of listening to Red Sox fans complain about LOB - without knowing how our LOB compares to other teams - and without knowing how much it's a function of just getting more guys on.

I know it's frustrating when we're watching a game - I feel it too - but the whole "Red Sox special" thing is ridiculous.

Edward Lee said...

I get really tired of listening to Red Sox fans complain about LOB - without knowing how our LOB compares to other teams - and without knowing how much it's a function of just getting more guys on.

I'd wager that it's almost completely a function of having a good offense that gets more baserunners.

Leffty said...

A high absolute LOB isn't a problem, only a high LOB percentage. If you leave 8 of 9 runners on base (88%), then you're not having a great day. If you're leaving 8 of 16 runners on base, then you've scored at least 8 runs and (hopefully) are winning. The Sox need to get some more production from the top of the order--extra base hits and steals--so they get left ton base less often. They're meager production is making life more difficult for the middle of the order. Check out the statistical breakdown:

http://tinyurl.com/SoxReview

Jere said...

Nice job debunking Abe Stinkin'.

The Sox have left 27 in the last two games, to their opponents' 8. And sports fans, and now reporters, only know what they've seen in the last two days (see: "trade [whoever did poorly yesterday] now!"), so that's why it's being brought up I guess.

allan said...

I'd wager that it's almost completely a function of having a good offense that gets more baserunners.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

This paper shows a positive correlation between runs scored and LOB. Even in games decided by only 1 or 2 runs, more LOB usually means a win.

9casey said...

I think Leffty has a point. Abe should have wrote they have left 81 on base and only scored 38 runs..

allan said...

That still would have given the reader no context at all, no way to know how good or bad the #s are.

andy said...

I have always enjoyed the number of LOB. If the bases are always stacked then any little hit or error will result in runs most times. This keeps the pitcher out of the full wind up and raises the chances to score. What is astounding about it is if the guys in the lineup that are hitting a hundred points below career BA start hitting at average, I believe you get my point.