Bunts Are Not The Problem | Disciples of Uecker

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Bunts Are Not The Problem

By on August 10, 2012

Jean Segura attempted a suicide squeeze in Friday night’s game against the Astros, which fired up at least a segment of the Fire Ron Roenicke machine on Twitter. That said, let’s take a look at some data, shall we?

Brewers attempted sacrifice bunts by non-pitchers (technically, from any batting order slot other than 9, but that’s close enough for me) in 2012:

54 attempts, 12 hits, 30 successful sacrifices, 5 reached on errors, 1 double play, 6 failed sacrifices, -0.0 WPA (negligibly under zero)

In 2011:

55 attempts, 9 hits, 36 successful sacrifices, 3 reached on errors, 1 double play, 6 failed sacrifices, +0.4 WPA.

Overall, Ron Roenickes bunts with position players have actually been a net gain over an average hitter. Considering most of these have come from Carlos Gomez or Nyjer Morgan, the actual net gain might be even higher.

Ron Roenicke likes to bunt, and that can get on the nerves of those who have had it driven into them that the run expectancy with a runner on first and nobody out is higher than that with a runner on second and one out. This is true, but not all bunt calls are created equally. Often, they come for hitters that are able to place a bunt to a point where the runner can beat it out, or they’re in a situation where playing for one run actually is the right play — and one single run is actually more likely after a successful sacrifice in most situations. The Brewers have had plenty of issues in 2012. Excessive bunting is not one of them.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Mathdude says: August 10, 2012

    Yeah, i can live with it.

    But I cant live with his decisions to close this game. Why Roenicke, why? The K-rod/Ax combo–why? Is he dumb or something?

    I feel sick. And what a shame for Mr Rogers– man, was he fantastic tonight. Simply awesome.

  2. icbeast says: August 11, 2012

    The other problem though is that the bullpen hasn’t been able to hold a lead, so even in situations where one run might seem ok on the scoreboard, they should have been playing for the big inning instead. Also at least some of those failed sacrifices included times where the infield was so totally selling out for a bunt defensively, that it would have taken a perfect bunt to make the sacrifice. And Gomez has hit better than the average hitter this year, wRC+ of 113.

  3. Luke says: August 11, 2012

    I’m not one to hop on the fire Roenicke bandwagon, but I did question why he was bunting with Segura yesterday. Aside from the book being out and the squeeze is pretty much expected of the Brewers in an obvious situation, Segura probably doesn’t have a lot of experience laying it down. Why put the pressure on the kid when he’s already got enough to worry about? Let him get up there and hit some MLB pitching. Also, as much as I don’t want to say it, I think Axford needs to be left from high leverage situations for a long time, at least until he is getting the curve over consistently. I actually felt bad for the guy, it just looked like he didn’t even want to be in there.


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