Productive outs are a small part of offense that, at the extremes, can be worth a win a season. Making them, however, does not appear to be a repeatable skill for players.
This past April, ESPN.com's Buster Olney introduced a new statistic, Productive Out Percentage, to the baseball public. Working with the Elias Sports Bureau, Olney attempted to create a metric that would support the idea that productive outs were a key element in winning baseball. While the sabermetric community swiftly debunked Olney's creation as flawed--there's no relationship between the quality of a team's offense and its tendency to make productive outs--one question remained unanswered: how valuable are productive outs relative to other offensive events?
Productive outs, such as ground balls that advance runners, have a small benefit relative to outs that do not, such as strikeouts and pop-ups. Certainly, moving a runner over is preferable to not doing so, and over the course of 162 games, occasional bases gained can add up. What they add up to has never been quantified, but thanks to the new widespread availability of play-by-play data, however, we now have the opportunity to do so.
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Brad Ausmus may have fallen short of the World Series, but he was an integral part of this year's HACKING MASS champion.
No matter what rooting interest you have, though, one thing ties us all together: that we could have had our own free HACKING MASS team this year. This year's competition attracted more than 1,300 competitors, most of whom attacked their Bizarro General Manager job description with gusto. If you don't know what HACKING MASS is, take a look at this year's Rules; we'll wait.
In a matchup featuring two powerful offenses, the Cardinals and Astros march into battle. Chris Kahrl breaks it down.
In this case, what it lacks in history-drenched humiliation, it makes up for in a plain old clash between a runaway winner and a second-place team happy we live in the wild-card age. So the best team in the league gets to take on the team that's been hottest down the stretch, with two high-powered lineups that should definitely give us some postseason mayhem in Randomly-Named Corporate Boondoggle Ballpark down in Houston, and two well-regarded managers pulling the high-leverage levers.
The Astros upgrade on their rotation. The Selig's finally announce their sale of the Brewers. And the A's project to improve their offense, despite losing their star shortstop to the most expensive fourth-place team in history. All this and much more news from Houston, Milwaukee, and Oakland in your Monday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
The White Sox will regret hiring Ozzie Guillen. The Astros' Brad Ausmus and Jose Vizcaino: how to flush $4 million down the toilet. The A's and Jays hook up for yet another trade. The Phillies won't solve their bullpen problem with Billy Wagner alone. The Mariners look poised for a fall. These and other news and notes in this edition of Transaction Analysis.
So who's the underdog? With the Astros' pitching staff in tatters and the
Braves' lineup deeply sunk in senescence, does the label even matter? Both
teams have fought doggedly to get here, and the backstory of each is
compelling in its own way. Limping down the stretch, the Astros fended off a
desperate challenge from the Cardinals, while the Braves came from behind to
overtake the Phillies' and their big early-season lead. Sadly, somebody's
going to have to lose this series, which means that either the Braves or the
Astros will continue to be labeled postseason losers despite the
accomplishment of getting there.