CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Futures Guide 2014 is Now Available in Paperback and Three E-book Formats.

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (05/23)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The Ma... (05/21)
Next Column >>
Pebble Hunting: How to... (05/28)
Next Article >>
Premium Article An Agent's Take: Why I... (05/23)

May 23, 2014

Pebble Hunting

A Billy Hamilton/David Ortiz Race

by Sam Miller


On April 16th, Johnny Cueto singled against Francisco Liriano, which brought up Billy Hamilton, who grounded weakly to shortstop Jordy Mercer, which sets up a question we don’t ask very often but, in this case, must: Should Mercer have taken the out at second, or ignored Cueto and thrown Hamilton out at first?

Eric Hartman phrased the question a bit differently in an email to me this spring: “Down 1 run in the 9th, would you rather have David Ortiz on 2nd base, or Billy Hamilton on 1st?”

Most of the questions we get aren’t this simple. All I have to do is go to a run-expectancy table, and I can see that with nobody out and a runner on first this year, the average team has scored .48 runs; with nobody out and a runner on second that team has scored .62. So I’ll take the runner on second. Asked and answered!

But, alas, a Billy Hamilton run expectancy table is very different. With a runner on first and nobody out, according to the Billy Hamilton run expectancy table, the most likely result is mayhem; with a runner on second and nobody out, it’s madness, and with a runner on third and nobody out it’s hysteria.

So while the question seems silly—Hamilton and Ortiz aren’t even on the same team, for starters—it’s actually somewhat tied to reality. Mercer didn’t seem to think twice about his play, flipping it casually to second, where a disinterested Cueto never even entered the frame. But Mercer had just loosed Hamilton in a one-run game. Did he do wrong?

***

In one sense, there might not be a bigger tools gap in the sport than that between the speed of Hamilton and the speed of Ortiz (or some similar slug). Ortiz will hit considerably more home runs than Hamilton, for instance, but Hamilton will also hit some home runs; any home run Ortiz hits Hamilton might also have hit, so there is never a situation where Ortiz’s power is infinitely better than Hamilton’s. But when Hamilton does something like this,

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Related Content:  Billy Hamilton,  David Ortiz,  Run Expectancy

8 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (05/23)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The Ma... (05/21)
Next Column >>
Pebble Hunting: How to... (05/28)
Next Article >>
Premium Article An Agent's Take: Why I... (05/23)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article The View from the Loge Level: Ode to Joe
Premium Article What You Need to Know: July 25, 2014
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Kendrys Redux
Premium Article Skewed Left: The Mismatched Incentives of Dr...
Premium Article Notes from the Field: What's Wrong With Appe...
Premium Article The Call-Up: Chris Taylor
Premium Article Raising Aces: Shelby Miller's Fall From Grac...

MORE FROM MAY 23, 2014
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Friday, May 23
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Ray, the Rays, and th...
Premium Article An Agent's Take: Why I Avoid the Draft
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Thursday, May ...
Baseball ProGUESTus: Fantasy Gets Impersonal
Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week Nine
Daily League Strategy: Affording a Super-Ace

MORE BY SAM MILLER
2014-05-28 - Pebble Hunting: How to Celebrate a Game-Endi...
2014-05-28 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 4...
2014-05-27 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 4...
2014-05-23 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: A Billy Hamilton/David Ortiz...
2014-05-23 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 4...
2014-05-23 - BP Unfiltered: This Week's New Pitching Line...
2014-05-22 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 4...
More...

MORE PEBBLE HUNTING
2014-06-02 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The Best Defensive Game of M...
2014-05-29 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Pitchers at the Plate: Even ...
2014-05-28 - Pebble Hunting: How to Celebrate a Game-Endi...
2014-05-23 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: A Billy Hamilton/David Ortiz...
2014-05-21 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The Marlins and the AT&T Shi...
2014-05-19 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: How to Still Get Ejected
2014-05-16 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The Meaning of 3-0 Green Lig...
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2014-06-04 - Painting the Black: How to Slow Down Dee Gor...