Friday, April 30, 2010

Bases Loaded and Nobody Home

My work as a producer requires me to work with numbers to some extent, but by no means would I consider myself a mathematician or a statistician, so forgive my post, please. But I think the principle I'm harping on is relatively understandable even by those, like myself, who find their head spinning around numbers for the most part...

I really like to think that I don't knee-jerk in my reactions to a few bad outings or for underperforming. But, truth be told, this lack of hitting with RISP and bases loaded is actually starting to gnaw on me. I'm not sure I've been any less excited to see bases loaded than I am currently when watching a Twins game.

To be fair, I really don't think this can or will continue forever. But the one thing I'm going to draw the line at is that I don't believe this will necessarily course-correct or even equal out over the season. Currently the Twins are hitting a measly .143 with bases loaded. The 2009 MLB average was .279 with bases loaded.

Assuming the league average is a good bar to judge by, this ultimately means that the average team should have a 279/1000 chance of getting a hit every time a player steps up to bat. What it doesn't mean is if your team is currently hitting .143 that you will undoubtedly catch a string of good luck and by the end of the season will be hitting .279. If the Twins have gotten themselves off to a horrible start, those numbers will remain, and the next time someone steps up with bases loaded their chances aren't weighted, they should still have about a 279/1000 chance.

Say you roll a die and it lands on a 3. If you roll it again, you have just as much chance of it landing on a 3 this time as a 1, 2, 4, 5 or 6. The fact that you rolled a 3 previously does not change your chance every time you release.

While batting averages are useful in guesstimating future performance, it doesn't necessarily fluctuate your chance of getting a hit. Continuing to come up without runs in bases loaded situations is not a guarantee that we will get a floodgate of them coming soon. To expect that is unrealistic.

This isn't all doom and gloom though. If the Twins can get the monkey off their back and start hitting as calmly and patiently as they do for the majority of the game, they will undoubtedly see their average rise. I don't think it will necessarily rise to league average if it doesn't happen soon, we likely will end up below the median at the end of the year, but they just might catch a hot streak and things could even out -- it's just not a given.

The other good thing is the most obvious: The Twins still have been winning. Despite looking absolutely clueless with the bases loaded, they still pile on the runs and tally up the wins (Wednesday and Thursday regardless...). All teams have at least one weakness, but the good teams make up for their weaknesses and still find a way to win. I think that would classify us as a good team...

Quick plug, if you haven't been to a Twins Centric viewing party yet, mark your calendar for the Saturday, May 15th showdown against the Yankees. It is being held at the Major's in Bloomington -- which happens to be almost right down the street from my childhood home!

You can use the opportunity to meet up with other Twins bloggers and fans and a fun game to play could be perusing the stands and trying to be the first person to spot the three Twins fans being assaulted in the middle level behind home plate... I will wear my bright blue Twins T-shirt and red Twins cap to try to make myself easier to spot against a sea of navy. My work was kind enough to again give me the company tickets to see our boys from the awesome seats that they have -- and hopefully this time we might actually come away with a win! So while I won't be there with everyone at the viewing party this month, I'll join them in spirit!


  1. Topper,

    Finally someone writes about how aweful this team has been with the bases loaded. Nice job!!

  2. Amen, I've also been getting a little tired of people thinking it's just a given, that we will all the sudden start hitting with RISP. This team looks so lethargic is really all I can come to. Everyone wants to try and work a walk and nobody is trying to actually drive our guys in. I've been watching the Rays play a lot lately and it only makes it worse. That is how an offense is supposed to work. By all accounts our offense should be on par (albeit we're 1,000x slower), but we can't do anything. Maybe it's time for Gardy to take away all the new pampered treatment the boys are getting until they actually earn their keep, because if it wasn't for an incredible performance by Liriano on Tuesday and 2 Detroit errors we would not have scored any runs in that game either. Right now I'm having nightmares of what happened to the 2008 Tigers that were supposed to be unstoppable and ended up in last. Boy, and does that Garza and Bartlett trade just keep looking worse and worse. Lets hope Gibson doesn't get into Gardy's "doghouse".