single with man on first

The ABL simplifies runner advancement on singles. I think the only way to go from first to third on a single is on a hit-and-run. This made me wonder about how often runners advance past second on a single. Here’s what I got from the Retrosheet event files for 2006. (single_first.pl) These are singles with a man on first and no other base runners. Advancement on fielding errors counts, but getting thrown out doesn’t.

first to second    4101   (73.5%)
first to third     1473   (26.4%)
first to home         8   ( 0.1%)

About a one-in-four chance to move the man to third. That sounds about right.

Here are the numbers from 1973:

first to second    3270   (68.9%)
first to third     1468   (30.9%)
first to home        10   ( 0.2%)

Why did more guys go from first to third back then?

home-field advantage

One thing caught my eye in the Curve Ball book: batters playing at home hit 12 points better than on the road. Makes sense, but it’s almost as big as the lefty/righty match-up difference, which they say is 15 points. And yet, AFAIK, there are no adjustments in TPB to take home-field advantage into account.

A quick run of the Retrosheet game logs proves the home-field advantage for wins & losses:

              HOME WINS       ROAD WINS
            --------------  --------------
1960-1969    8603 (54.03%)   7319 (45.97%)
1970-1979   10644 (53.78%)   9149 (46.22%)
1980-1989   10995 (54.12%)   9320 (45.88%)
1990-1999   11554 (53.52%)  10033 (46.48%)
2000-2006    9166 (53.93%)   7831 (46.07%)

1960-2006   50962 (53.86%)  43652 (46.14%)

It’s almost 8 points. Not as large as 12, but, of course, there’s more to winning than hitting!

2007-10-07: The Commish’s comment re capturing home-field advantage in Park Effects is very interesting. I might even replace the LHB/RHB categories with home/visitor.

Curve Ball: Baseball, Statistics, and the Role of Chance in the Game

Didn’t expect it, but this book starts out with a simple analysis of All-Star Baseball, APBA, SOM & Sports Illustrated Baseball! Interesting point about the SOM method of splitting the rolls: the batter’s ability is purely additive, that is, there’s no direct interaction with the pitcher. You can get some of that with pitcher symbols in TPB, of course.

More to come…