From the Braintrust
By David Keech
April 14, 2019
St. Louis, MO— For way too long, baseball managers have done what they think is right. Using strategy that they felt made sense, managers have chosen to use the bunt to do what everyone wants, improve their chances to win.
The facts show, however, that bunting is bad.
Managers have been using what they thought was logic in using the bunt. Advancing runners into scoring position is the reason why managers all over use bunting so often, and their thought process is rather simple. Get runners into scoring position so a single scores the runner.
Turns out their logic is flawed. The two most valued possessions in baseball are runs and outs. On offense, maximizing opportunities to score runs while minimizing outs is the key, and of course on defense, the opposite is true.
There is an incredible amount of evidence showing the connection between runs scoring and specific combinations of baserunners and number of outs in an inning. Bunting a runner over does put the runner in scoring position, but the same result can be accomplished by stealing. The biggest way bunting hurts teams is that it reduces the chances for a big inning, which often break a game wide open.
To sum up the research, outs are a currency of sorts in baseball, and for offenses to give up outs in exchange for bunting a runner over is just bad baseball.
Want to read more? Check out the article by Dan Blewett: Run Expectancy and Why Bunting is Bad