FIRE JOE MORGAN: Dusty Baker Loves OBP


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Dusty Baker Loves OBP

Mark this date down: July 20, 2008.

Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn don't have the best batting averages, but Reds manager Dusty Baker doesn't plan on doing anything different with the two sluggers when it comes to filling out a lineup card.


Griffey's .236 average and Dunn's .230 average are the two worst of any active everyday starter. Only part-time catcher Paul Bako's (.213) is lower. But Griffey, the No. 3 hitter, and Dunn, the No. 5 hitter, are leading the way when it comes to on-base percentage, and for that reason, Baker isn't planning any changes.

Baker, long a skeptic of sabermetrics, the study of baseball statistics, began reading a blog called Fire Joe Morgan late Sunday afternoon.

"Those fellas make some good points," Baker said. "They're profane as hell, and they're probably gay, but they make some good points."

That's not what he said. What he said was:

"Their averages are low, but their on-base percentages are still high," Baker said. "Their on-base percentages are higher than some of the guys who are hitting.

I'm afraid. This is some parallel dream world, right? I've just taken salvia and fallen into a utopian fantasyscape populated by black David Dukes, funny Robin Williamses and OBP-loving Dusty Bakers. That is the only explanation.

Why do you love OBP, Dusty? Tell us tell us tell us all of the reasons!

I know they can hit, but it also helps to get on base and put a pitcher in the stretch. That's the thing. Most starters don't like being in the stretch."


I feel sick.

The the stretch?





On the list of good things about being on base, the order goes, roughly:

1. You're on base.

2. You didn't make an out.

3. Again, great, hey -- you're on base.




One million, four hundred thousand. The pitcher is in the stretch.

Besides loving OBP, Dusty Baker is also a big fan of the French Laundry.

"It's the most amazing place," said Baker. "What I liked best about it was that they give you a piece of fabric you can use to wipe your mouth, wipe your hands -- whatever you want. They call it a 'napkin.' I highly recommend the French Laundry."



I'm actually happy for Dusty. It is a legitimate point to make that pitchers, in general, are a little worse from the stretch. It's just funny that he hates OBP so much that he feels like he has to bring up something relatively insignificant (compared to JUST BEING ON BASE IN THE FIRST PLACE) to justify even talking about it.

Reader Cletus adds:

While I agree that "getting on base" and "not making one or more outs" are by far at the top, putting the pitcher in the stretch is part of
the story.

MLB, 2007, bases empty: .262/.324/.417 (102,842 PA)
MLB, 2007, 1/-/-: .281/.339/.439 (34,166 PA)

The actual impact is slightly larger, given a runner on first is not a guarantee that the pitcher will go from the stretch (e.g., blowout, LHP with good move, Jack Cust on first, etc.). But even +37 points of OPS is nothing to sneeze at. It's virtually the only aspect of "lineup protection" worth caring about.

Caveat: A little bit of that will be selection bias: Good pitchers will be pitching more often with no one on, thus a mildly disproportionate amount of those 102,842 PA will be against pitchers with low WHIPs.

And another helpful caveat from Ed:

Good hitters tend to be clustered together at the top of the lineup. So, for example, your #2 hitter will have a runner on first far more frequently than your #9 hitter.

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posted by Junior  # 1:36 PM
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