Passed Balls & Other Advances

When a runner tries to advance after the ball gets away from the catcher, and it’s not ruled a Wild Pitch, two things can happen. If the runner advances safely, the catcher is charged with a Passed Ball. If the runner is thrown out it’s simply an out. You might think the second case is Caught Stealing, but it’s not. From Rule 10.07:

In those instances where a pitched ball eludes the catcher and the runner is put out trying to advance, the official scorer shall not charge any “caught stealing.”

Project Scoresheet codes this as “OA,” Other Advance.

OA is coded for a base runner advance that is not covered by one of the other codes. A comment may be given explaining the advance.

play,3,1,parkr001,??,,OA.2X3(25)
com,"Thompson out trying to advance after ball eluded catcher"

Commish & I saw this happen a couple of times at a B-Mets game this week. Commish was interested to know how many times these events occur. So was I.

Using Retrosheet Event File data from last five regular seasons (MLB 2007-2011), I count 1,522 Passed Balls and 337 Other Advances that involved the catcher. (I didn’t count 19 Other Advances that didn’t seem to involve the catcher.) So, there’s one Other Advance for every 4.5 Passed Balls. A Passed Ball occurs once every eight games on average, while an Other Advance occurs once every 36 games. For comparison, a Wild Pitch occurs once every 1.54 games.

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