Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Explaining the oversight Sabermetrics and Analytics are making regarding Omar Vizquel.
Yes, Omar Vizquel is the Modern Era leader in Combo Sacrifice Flies and Sacrfice Bunts with 350. No other modern era player ever reached 300, Ozzie Smith is second with 277.
What is being forgotten about Vizquel's 350 productive outs is they did NOT replace hits, they replaced BAD OUTS. What is also not being counted are the total number of baserunners Vizquel moved over via the out. The number could be as high as 600 to 800 total runners moved over via a productive out, while still hitting .272
Every ballplayer has pitchers they hit well against, and pitchers they struggle with. If a batter can replace an unproductive out against a pitcher they struggle against, then they have done a good thing if they convert a potentially worthless out into a productive out.
While analytics people continue to say that more runs are scored every 100 at bats when a batter does not bunt, what analytics continues to leave out in their 100 at bat analysis is the hitter who replaces 5 to 10 of the 70 non productive strikeouts, GIDP's or pop ups, with a productive out in which a runner is either moved over or a GIDP is averted.
Analytics sometimes forgets to add the qualifier to a proven but less examined thesis. Sure, every 100 at bats may produce more overall runs if the batter never bunts, but if the manager knows which 5 or 10 at bats are most likely to be the least productive for a ballplayer, and they bunt for a hit (which is not counted as a bunt by the way, further skewing the bunt productivity stat), or move a runner over, or move multiple runners over (which still only counts as one sacrifice) what they have done is enhance the overall productivity among their 70 inevitable outs per 100 at bats without affecting their approximately 27 to 30 hits.
Whenever Omar Vizquel came to bat as a Cleveland Indian I never felt he was a weak link in the line-up. I knew Vizquel would get his hit a game with his career batting average of .272 and I also knew that on at least another 20 or 25 times during that season Vizquel would make the most of an out when runners were on base and the situation called for an effective at bat versus one that in no way helped move a runner, or runners, over a base.
If ever there was a player who should get a "bump" in his overall OPS stat of .688 because of his high level of effective productive outs, it would be Omar Vizquel. And when combined with his 11 Gold Gloves should mean a place in the MLB Hall of Fame.