Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Sacrifice Attempts / Successes

Dan Fox wrote an article over at Hardball Times about sacrifices. In the article he included sacrifice attempts and successes for every MLB team in 2005. This subject interested me for two reasons:

1. I generally hate sacrifices and felt Yost called too many of them in 2005. I suspected the Brewers attempted an above average number of them but had no data to back up that suspicion. Did they?

2. Anytime the Brewers failed at sacrificing in 2005, many at brewerfan.net took the opportunity to point out how bad the Crew was at sacrificing. While there were indeed a good amount of horribly botched sacrifice attempts in 2005, I was skepticle that they were significantly worse at sacrificing than an average team. Were they?

Dan's Fox's data answered both of these questions:

Team Att Suc SuccR

WAS 132 96 72.7%
COL 126 95 75.4%
FLO 125 95 76.0%
SFN 118 95 80.5%
HOU 113 92 81.4%
SLN 112 85 75.9%
ATL 108 81 75.0%
MIL 108 80 74.1%
ARI 101 75 74.3%
SDN 101 73 72.3%
CHN 98 71 72.4%
NYN 96 71 74.0%
PHI 93 70 75.3%
PIT 90 63 70.0%
LAN 86 62 72.1%
CIN 80 61 76.3%
CHA 74 50 67.6%
SEA 61 50 82.0%
KCA 60 50 83.3%
ANA 60 49 81.7%
MIN 60 47 78.3%
DET 57 46 80.7%
BAL 54 44 81.5%
CLE 54 44 81.5%
TBA 51 41 80.4%
NYA 44 35 79.5%
TOR 30 23 76.7%
OAK 30 23 76.7%
BOS 22 18 81.8%
TEX 11 9 81.8%
---------------------
AVE: 78.5 -- 77.0%

While it initially appears that the Brewers attempted an above average amount of sacrifices, that's simply because the NL attempts many more as a whole. The NL average was about 105, making the Crew average as well.

On a side note, Frank Robinson sure likes to sacrifice alot!

As for the success rate, the Crew's rate was pretty close to average. In fact, if they had converted only 3 more sacrifices successfully, they would have been exactly average. I think this is just another example of fans placing too much importance on failure, which distorts their perception of events. I'm sure you'd find fans from every team that thinks their team fails too often at sacrifices.

For completeness, here's the same data in graphical form:

Sacrifice Attempts and Successes

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