The Brewers Need to Play more Small-Ball

Posted by Dan 

I’ve heard this complaint mentioned on AM radio (admittedly a terrible place to find in depth sports conversation) and I’m going to address it. The problem is the idea that the Brewers need to play more small ball to manufacture more runs. I present this table ( ).

RE 99-02 0 1 2
Empty 0.555 0.297 0.117
1st 0.953 0.573 0.251
2nd 1.189 0.725 0.344
3rd 1.482 0.983 0.387
1st_2nd 1.573 0.971 0.466
1st_3rd 1.904 1.243 0.538
2nd_3rd 2.052 1.467 0.634
Loaded 2.417 1.65 0.815

It’s “Outs” across the top, and runners on base down the left side. Follow the two and that is the number of runs expected to be scored in a given situation (using data from 2002-2004). So, one of the the staples of small ball is the sacrifice bunt. Lets look at the numbers.

Nobody Out, man on first = .953 Runs expected to be scored

One out, Man on Second = .725 Runs Expected

Obviously, with your pitcher you still want to bunt the guy over but you simply are less likely to score a run after a sacrifice bunt. The out you give up to move him over is more valuable then the 90 feet you move the runner.  Now you know why my face turns red when someone suggests more bunting is required.


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