posted on Apr, 23 2006 @ 04:28 PM
No. Lots of teams, and therefore their players, have gotten the word on how hugely important walks are. And one of these days soon, there will be a
crackdown on the countless Latino players who swing at every damn pitch, even if it's miles out of the strike zone--like their great hero, Roberto
Clemente, did, with his almost 2-1 career strikeout-to-walk ratio.
My Giants, I regret to say, haven't figured this stuff out yet, and do NOTHING as their players go right on swinging at garbage. As Bill James has
demonstrated, the cost in runs to the teams of such players is enormous. And Barry B-word's best year, in terms of run production, was NOT the year
of the 73 chemically-enhanced HR's. It was the year of the 200+ walks and the OBP over 600.
One day, with him sitting out because it was a day game after a night game, Alou sent him up to pinch hit in a tie game, to LEAD OFF the ninth. Now,
for a guy who himself never walked, and whose players in general never walk, that was a brilliant move. Alou was saying, "Here, do you want to walk
the winning run to START the bottom of the ninth." The answer came back "yes."
This was in September, with the 40-man rosters. Bonds was immediately replaced by someone not carrying 50 extra pounds of, um, muscle... some kid
from the minors who could run like the wind, but whose career was doomed because, as they say, you can't steal first base. Well, he sure stole 2nd.
Then he took 3rd on a bunt. Then he scored on a fly ball. One walk and game over.
The Boston Red Sox hired Bill James as a team consultant a few years ago, and he really sold them on the value of walks. Other teams were watching
and learning. And THAT, I think, is why you've seen on-base percentages, in many instances, go way up. A guy with a .298 batting average and a .398
on-base average is, assuming roughly equal power stats, worth a LOT more than a guy with a .335 batting average and a .360 on-base average.
As for the guy with a higher batting average than OBP, I should know how to explain that, after all these decades, but I'm sad to say I don't. I
believe that when a batter hits a base runner with a line drive, the BASERUNNER is the one who's out, and the batter can still get first base. OH!!!!
I KNOW!!! The guy singled and got thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. That's a hit, but it didn't get him on base.
[Edited on 4/23/06 by BaseballHistoryNut]