Walks

Depends on the situation/batter/who’s on deck, etc.

So, batter’s have to learn to take their walks and not get themselves out because, if they don’t, pitcher’s will let them continue to get yourself out. 

When I coached I would ask my guys who could do damage to expand the zone, a little, in certain situations where they could drive in runs.  

Your question is without context and therefore vague and general.  So, generally...

A walk is equivalent to a single.  It is one base gained for the offense, one lost for the defense.  It is not equivalent, exactly, in that it is often less "earned" by the hitter. 

Defensively, we preach "no free bases" with our pitchers and defense.  Four balls results in a free base 100% of the time.  Throwing strikes and making the hitter put the ball in play only results in gaining a base (or bases) about 25-30% of the time.  A walk is almost always a cardinal sin for the defense.  Our few league losses this year can be traced back to allowance of a couple of free bases, usually walks.

Offensively, going to the plate with the intent of drawing a walk is a long term losing approach.  Going to the plate with the intent of hammering pitches that you can drive but adjusting your approach when you get behind because the pitcher made a few pitchers' pitches or taking a walk when that is the opportunity given is a long term winning approach.

Also, a walk is equal to a hit that is a single in bases gained but obviously not equivalent to an XBH.  A walk can have value in regards to making a pitcher throw more pitches, show more arsenal/patterns, etc.  But if a pitcher is pounding the zone, a hitter's approach should take advantage of that.

You can add specific game situations and hitters and this discussion can go on for a very long time.

In the right situation a walk may be a valuable contribution to the team (example: leading off an inning getting on base). But in terms of advancement in the game a player can’t walk to the next level.

Moneyball would tell you the offensive object of the game is not to make outs ("Pete.......he gets on base").  Any at bat that doesn't result in an out is a successful at bat to help your team score more runs and win games.  That said, I know from previous threads you are a high school player.  I'm sure your first priority is to help your HS team win games.  However, if there is a secondary goal of impressing a recruiter with your offensive ability, some might argue that 3 or 4 loud outs (ball hit extremely hard) may be worth more than a few walks.  I guess that would partially depend on how you project.  If you're super fast, then just getting on is a big deal as speed on the bases is so valuable.  If you're projecting as a middle of the order RBI producer, hard hit balls may be the best outcome from a purely recruiting perspective.

Are you asking the pitcher, hitter, or coach?   What is the situation?   I would see both equally if the score is tied bottom of the ninth, and the opposing team just walked my leadoff guy.  I can tell you with certainty that coaches look at walks and hits differently, and that is entirely situational.

As the hitter you can only take what the pitcher gives him based on the count and situation.  You have no control over the pitches that are going to be offered to you...speed, location, movement.   You are reacting to a sequence of pitches. 

If you ask the pitcher, he'll probably see them equally as a threat to score and a lost opportunity to record an out (as 9and7Dad pointed out).  The pitchers job is to get outs plain and simple.

 

A single is much more valuable than a walk, and modern sabermetrics seems to have lost sight of that, although some MLB teams seem to be turning the corner on that and are starting to put a premium on high contact hitters who can hit for a high average.

You can never drive in a runner from 2nd with a walk.  A walk never drives in a runner from third unless the bases are loaded.  There are many situations where a fly ball out resulting in a runner tagging up and scoring from third (or moving from 2nd to 3rd) is more valuable that a walk.

The ability to not chase pitches out of the strike zone, which does result in extra walks, is valuable, but ultimately the most valuable offensive contributions come from doing damage hitting the baseball.

I look at players who have a higher walk rate as being more selective and having higher potential eventually. It's very difficult to take a really aggressive hitter and teach them to narrow their focus. A player who has a good walk rate will also contribute to team production when they are in a slump, because they will still be getting on base.

As for a walk being as good as a single, it depends. If I have a guy on 3B with less than two outs and I walk, even though I saw pitches I could hit hard through the right side of the field, I would consider that not as good as a single, if the following batter makes the third out and R3 is stranded. All strike outs aren't equal either. I'd rather have a strike out than an inning ending double play.

Baseballcomesthird posted:

Very curious to see what you all have to say. Is a walk as good/equivalent to a hit?

What hit? Do you mean a single? Obviously a double is better than a walk (or single). Single and walk with bases empty is the same but with runners single is better because lead runner might advance two bases vs 0 to 1 for a walk.

I wish more of my hitters would walk. I like walks when were hitting. I hate them when were pitching. I would rather give up a single with no one on than a walk. I do know that a walk can lead to the next hitter seeing something better to hit. I do believe there is no reason to throw strikes to teams that will swing at balls. And of course why throw strikes to a hitter than swings at pitches out of the zone. Walks are good. I believe there are times when a walk is more devastating to a teams morale than a hit. Teaching players to hit includes teaching players to attack pitches in the zone while laying off pitches out of the zone. Walks are an indication that they understand this. 

Coach May:

When Nolan Ryan was pitching, the opposing team instructed their hitters to go deep in the count. If they could increase the pitch count [over 14.5] per inning, Nolan would be removed in the 6th inning and NOT pitch a complete game. Then they would be successful with the relief pitchers.

With the mandatory pitch count in HS, it maybe a wise strategy to have hitters go "deep" in the count. When our American teams play Internationally Japan, Korea, Australia, we instruct our hitters to "zone" each pitch until 2 strikes.

Bob

<www.goodwillseries.org>

Walks are an indication of plate discipline.  Swinging at hittable strikes is the key to good hitting.  If a batter can control the zone and take advantage of forcing pitchers to "come in" you have a ballplayer on your hands.

The flip side of this is the "hope" guys.  They hope to walk, they hope to hit the ball etc.

From a defensive perspective - a wild pitcher sucks the air out of a team.  How many times to you see a pitcher go deep in counts and the team behind him starts standing up, spinning their heads etc.  A couple of walks followed by defensive misplays has created more blowouts by far than a team stringing 5 or 6 hits together. 

Baseballcomesthird posted:

Very curious to see what you all have to say. Is a walk as good/equivalent to a hit?

From a defensive point a view, son's Legion coach was of the opinion walks tend to come back to bite you.  He absolutely hated it when a pitcher gave up a walk.  He'd rather the ball be put in play - at least the defense got a chance to make the out if the batter didn't strike out.

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