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.

FoxDad posted:
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.

Yeah, but they don't hurt you like a hit. I'd rather my pitcher have a higher walk rate and low OBA than the opposite. With a guy on second, it takes three walks to bring him in, but only one hit.

roothog66 posted: Yeah, but they don't hurt you like a hit. I'd rather my pitcher have a higher walk rate and low OBA than the opposite. With a guy on second, it takes three walks to bring him in, but only one hit.

 There’s very little chance every ball hit will result in the batter reaching base, but with walks it’s a guarantee.

 Over the years, 36% of the 5,446 hits I’ve scored have scored. Over the same period of time, of the 3521 BBs and HBPs I’ve scored, 37% have scored. Seems to me the odds are a lot better in making the batters hit their way on than giving them a free pass.

Stats4Gnats posted:

roothog66 posted: Yeah, but they don't hurt you like a hit. I'd rather my pitcher have a higher walk rate and low OBA than the opposite. With a guy on second, it takes three walks to bring him in, but only one hit.

 There’s very little chance every ball hit will result in the batter reaching base, but with walks it’s a guarantee.

 Over the years, 36% of the 5,446 hits I’ve scored have scored. Over the same period of time, of the 3521 BBs and HBPs I’ve scored, 37% have scored. Seems to me the odds are a lot better in making the batters hit their way on than giving them a free pass.

You just quoted a statistic that shows the results as practically dead even and then say the odds are "a lot better." Of course, I'm also not talking about the average. I'm talking about comparing say, a pitcher who walks 6/9ip but only gives up a .115 OBA vs. a guy who only walks 1/9ip, but allows opponents to hit .380 against him. I'll take the first guy. But, again, not talking about average players either way. I think , for the average, your stat shows that there's little significant difference in the long run, except for (probably) the affect on pitch counts.

My son has struggled at the plate this year.  I've struggled with where to have him in the line up and here is why.

PA-23, AB-11, AVG-.182, OBP-.609 H-2, RBI-4, R-7, BB-10, HBP-2, SO-6, K-L-5, SB-7.

So the obvious, like I said he is struggling making contact with the ball.  I have had him back and forth from the 2 spot to the 9 spot as a "second lead-off" man, mainly because up until last week he had a .900+ OBP. But here is what I can tell you just from his stats.  First, he is patient at the plate and hes scored more than 3 times the amount he has gotten hits.  However, you can see that out of 6 SO, 5 were looking.  So I think that is an indicator that if someone is too patient at the plate it can begin to make them look at strikes too close to the zone.  Now, what I have told him is that he needs to change one thing...expand his zone with 2 strikes.  If it were not for the 5 K-L out of 6 SO I would say he's a great patient batter, but that stat indicates that he is looking to walk.  There comes a time to be aggressive and there comes a time to be patient...2 strikes is not a time to be patient.

As to the original question and my son's stats...well, he has 2 hits and 10 BB and has scored 4 RBI's and 7 runs...my opinion, as walk is as good as a single in most cases.

roothog66 posted:
FoxDad posted:
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.

Yeah, but they don't hurt you like a hit. I'd rather my pitcher have a higher walk rate and low OBA than the opposite. With a guy on second, it takes three walks to bring him in, but only one hit.

Yes, a hit has the potential due to more damage - especially if it is a double, triple or HR.  At least the batter earned it and didn't get a free pass from the pitcher.  The batter that drew a walk wouldn't necessarily need 3 more walks to score.  If he can steal 2nd base, now he's in scoring position where a single could score him.  It's hard to score from 1st on a single.

It just seemed when my son was playing legion, that a walk resulted in a series of plays where multiple runs ended up scoring and many times when we looked back at the inning, getting the batter out instead of a free pass would have made a significant difference. 

FoxDad posted:
roothog66 posted:
FoxDad posted:
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.

Yeah, but they don't hurt you like a hit. I'd rather my pitcher have a higher walk rate and low OBA than the opposite. With a guy on second, it takes three walks to bring him in, but only one hit.

Yes, a hit has the potential due to more damage - especially if it is a double, triple or HR.  At least the batter earned it and didn't get a free pass from the pitcher.  The batter that drew a walk wouldn't necessarily need 3 more walks to score.  If he can steal 2nd base, now he's in scoring position where a single could score him.  It's hard to score from 1st on a single.

It just seemed when my son was playing legion, that a walk resulted in a series of plays where multiple runs ended up scoring and many times when we looked back at the inning, getting the batter out instead of a free pass would have made a significant difference. 

True, but you're making a huge assumption that, instead of the walk, a better pitch would have resulted in an out and not a nicely grooved 3-1 pitch for a double down the line. It's frustrating, but impossible to reconstruct an inning replacing the walks with outs. Additionally, there are a lot of other factors, some of which you mention - can the runner you walked steal? Is your defense likely to hold him on a ground ball? Does the pitcher also have a tendency to throw a lot of wild pitches? Honestly, I've seen kids who rarely walk anyone with era's in double digits because they get rocked and pitchers who walk a lot of guys, but mostly strike out the batters they don't walk skate through inning after inning. The biggest problem with walks can be driving up the pitch count, but that also happens with high strike out rate pitchers as well. There's probably no easy answer to the question and it's easy as a coach to blame walks because we tend to assume that if our pitcher didn't walk that kid, he would have gotten the out.

roothog66 posted:You just quoted a statistic that shows the results as practically dead even and then say the odds are "a lot better." Of course, I'm also not talking about the average. I'm talking about comparing say, a pitcher who walks 6/9ip but only gives up a .115 OBA vs. a guy who only walks 1/9ip, but allows opponents to hit .380 against him. I'll take the first guy. But, again, not talking about average players either way. I think , for the average, your stat shows that there's little significant difference in the long run, except for (probably) the affect on pitch counts.

 

How can you say the results are practically dead even? 100% of the batters who walk or get hit, reach base while the percentage of batters who put the ball in play is one Hell of a lot less.

 Just out of curiosity I took a look at the number of pitches there were per walk and per hit. 13,175 pitches in 2,843 walks for 5.3 pitches per walk. 16,036 pitches for 5,181 hits for 3.1 pitches per hit. Sure seems as though it’s a lot less taxing on pitchers to allow the same number of hits as walks.

 

 

Stats4Gnats posted:

roothog66 posted:You just quoted a statistic that shows the results as practically dead even and then say the odds are "a lot better." Of course, I'm also not talking about the average. I'm talking about comparing say, a pitcher who walks 6/9ip but only gives up a .115 OBA vs. a guy who only walks 1/9ip, but allows opponents to hit .380 against him. I'll take the first guy. But, again, not talking about average players either way. I think , for the average, your stat shows that there's little significant difference in the long run, except for (probably) the affect on pitch counts.

 

How can you say the results are practically dead even? 100% of the batters who walk or get hit, reach base while the percentage of batters who put the ball in play is one Hell of a lot less.

 Just out of curiosity I took a look at the number of pitches there were per walk and per hit. 13,175 pitches in 2,843 walks for 5.3 pitches per walk. 16,036 pitches for 5,181 hits for 3.1 pitches per hit. Sure seems as though it’s a lot less taxing on pitchers to allow the same number of hits as walks.

 

 

Your own stat says that 37% of walks and HBP score and that 36% of hits score. What am I missing? I'd also ask, how many of those hits result in rbi and how many of those walks and HBP drive in runs? 

Saying 100% of walks reach base is relevant, how? Are you assuming all of those walks would have otherwise definitely been outs? Plus, if we're simply answering the question asked (what's better - a walk or a hit) from a pitcher's perspective, I'll ask this: Bases loaded and yur only two options are to give up a hit or a walk - which is the better option?

OB1 posted: My son has struggled at the plate this year.  I've struggled with where to have him in the line up and here is why.

PA-23, AB-11, AVG-.182, OBP-.609 H-2, RBI-4, R-7, BB-10, HBP-2, SO-6, K-L-5, SB-7.

So the obvious, like I said he is struggling making contact with the ball.  I have had him back and forth from the 2 spot to the 9 spot as a "second lead-off" man, mainly because up until last week he had a .900+ OBP. But here is what I can tell you just from his stats.  First, he is patient at the plate and hes scored more than 3 times the amount he has gotten hits.  However, you can see that out of 6 SO, 5 were looking.  So I think that is an indicator that if someone is too patient at the plate it can begin to make them look at strikes too close to the zone.  Now, what I have told him is that he needs to change one thing...expand his zone with 2 strikes.  If it were not for the 5 K-L out of 6 SO I would say he's a great patient batter, but that stat indicates that he is looking to walk.  There comes a time to be aggressive and there comes a time to be patient...2 strikes is not a time to be patient.

As to the original question and my son's stats...well, he has 2 hits and 10 BB and has scored 4 RBI's and 7 runs...my opinion, as walk is as good as a single in most cases.

How do those stats prove he’s struggling making contact with the ball? IMHO, the only way to measure contact is to divide the number of pitches contact is made on by the number of pitches swung at.

 How do you measure patience? I’ve always computed the number of pitches per PA as an indication.

 I agree a walk is as good as a single in most cases.

roothog66 posted: Your own stat says that 37% of walks and HBP score and that 36% of hits score. What am I missing? I'd also ask, how many of those hits result in rbi and how many of those walks and HBP drive in runs? 

Saying 100% of walks reach base is relevant, how? Are you assuming all of those walks would have otherwise definitely been outs? Plus, if we're simply answering the question asked (what's better - a walk or a hit) from a pitcher's perspective, I'll ask this: Bases loaded and yur only two options are to give up a hit or a walk - which is the better option?

You’re missing that while 100% of all batters that walk reach base, a much much smaller percentage of those that put the ball in play get hits. That’s why it’s always better to pitch to contact.

 From the data I can count, of the 693 RBIs, 530 came on hits. 41 came on a walk or HBP. And?

 No, I don’t’ assume 100% of the walks would have produced outs. However, I’d bet my house that at least half would have.

 If those are the only 2 possibilities, of course I’d choose a walk. But the options shouldn’t be hit or walk, they should be BIP or walk. Then you’d get an entirely different answer.

 

OB1 posted:

My son has struggled at the plate this year.  I've struggled with where to have him in the line up and here is why.

PA-23, AB-11, AVG-.182, OBP-.609 H-2, RBI-4, R-7, BB-10, HBP-2, SO-6, K-L-5, SB-7.

So the obvious, like I said he is struggling making contact with the ball.  I have had him back and forth from the 2 spot to the 9 spot as a "second lead-off" man, mainly because up until last week he had a .900+ OBP. But here is what I can tell you just from his stats.  First, he is patient at the plate and hes scored more than 3 times the amount he has gotten hits.  However, you can see that out of 6 SO, 5 were looking.  So I think that is an indicator that if someone is too patient at the plate it can begin to make them look at strikes too close to the zone.  Now, what I have told him is that he needs to change one thing...expand his zone with 2 strikes.  If it were not for the 5 K-L out of 6 SO I would say he's a great patient batter, but that stat indicates that he is looking to walk.  There comes a time to be aggressive and there comes a time to be patient...2 strikes is not a time to be patient.

As to the original question and my son's stats...well, he has 2 hits and 10 BB and has scored 4 RBI's and 7 runs...my opinion, as walk is as good as a single in most cases.

OB1, I propose to you that you can make zero assumptions regarding your hitters when you are playing opponents that allow for a .900+ OBP.  That is beyond crazy.  Immediately start working on scheduling better opponents.  

I believe I recall you having a team that struggles and in that circumstance, it is OK to put together a manageable schedule with some weaker opponents on it.  But when it reaches that level of bad, no one is benefiting.

Sorry for the diversion on the topic.  But that is CRAZY.

cabbagedad posted:

OB1, I propose to you that you can make zero assumptions regarding your hitters when you are playing opponents that allow for a .900+ OBP.  That is beyond crazy.  Immediately start working on scheduling better opponents.  

I believe I recall you having a team that struggles and in that circumstance, it is OK to put together a manageable schedule with some weaker opponents on it.  But when it reaches that level of bad, no one is benefiting.

Sorry for the diversion on the topic.  But that is CRAZY.

Trust me, I looked at his OBP and it was crazy high, now some of that was two games with light opponents but we are sitting at 3-8 over the season, 2 of those games being weak opponents and all the others serious competition with one “earned” win.

I was praising his patience at the plate and he has fought off full counts to force pitchers to stay in the strike zone, which is why he has the 5K-L. He was one of few players that saw the base path when we faced the #2 Team in the state who had just returned from being consolation winners in the IMG spring break tourney.

Unfortunately, I really can’t coach him too much because his personality and mine are too similar and I’ve had years and the USMC to help me control my attitude...good thing I have a good assistant coach and a dad that helps who he respects. 

He’s just got to gain confidence and go to the plate to hit. He tries to get walked in some aspects: crowding the plate and showing bunt to throw pitchers off. He’s learned the hard way that an umpires strike zone grows after you show bunt so you better slap it if it’s close. It’s better than last year because he averaged being hit at least once per game, most of the time multiple times, which says something about a pitchers accuracy because he’s 6’2”, 140#, you can barely see him from the side. Lol

FoxDad posted:
roothog66 posted:
FoxDad posted:
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.

Yeah, but they don't hurt you like a hit. I'd rather my pitcher have a higher walk rate and low OBA than the opposite. With a guy on second, it takes three walks to bring him in, but only one hit.

Yes, a hit has the potential due to more damage - especially if it is a double, triple or HR.  At least the batter earned it and didn't get a free pass from the pitcher.  The batter that drew a walk wouldn't necessarily need 3 more walks to score.  If he can steal 2nd base, now he's in scoring position where a single could score him.  It's hard to score from 1st on a single.

It just seemed when my son was playing legion, that a walk resulted in a series of plays where multiple runs ended up scoring and many times when we looked back at the inning, getting the batter out instead of a free pass would have made a significant difference. 

Sequencing matters here.  A walk a double play a double a walk,  another walk and a Fly ball out equals zero runs run on 1 hit with 3 left on base.

But three walks followed by a bases clearing double a ground ball moving runner to 3rd.  A sac fly and another grounder yields 4 runs with the exact results from the individual plate appearances - 1 2B, 3 Walks, 1 Grounder and a Fly Ball.  The third out in the 2nd sequence is superfluous.

That one ground ball Double can leverage 3 walks and a couple of contact outs into an inning equal to a Grand Slam with 3 ringing line drive singles in front of a 400 foot homerun is testament about how the game is played.

Walks and base hits are both pieces of productive hitting.  Walks have a place in any good offense - but sooner or later the ball must be struck effectively with the bat for a team to be really good offensively.

There is also this old thought:

The saying spread among Dominican prospects, "No one walks off the island." It meant that in a land with so much baseball talent you had to hit, and hit aggressively, to impress the American scouts; simply showing a good eye would not be enough.

OB1 posted:

My son has struggled at the plate this year.  I've struggled with where to have him in the line up and here is why.

PA-23, AB-11, AVG-.182, OBP-.609 H-2, RBI-4, R-7, BB-10, HBP-2, SO-6, K-L-5, SB-7. .

That is a 9 hole hitter.  And a valuable one at that.  Only a kid's Dad would hit him higher than 9th with stats like that, until he consistently started hitting the ball hard.

OB1 posted:
cabbagedad posted:

OB1, I propose to you that you can make zero assumptions regarding your hitters when you are playing opponents that allow for a .900+ OBP.  That is beyond crazy.  Immediately start working on scheduling better opponents.  

I believe I recall you having a team that struggles and in that circumstance, it is OK to put together a manageable schedule with some weaker opponents on it.  But when it reaches that level of bad, no one is benefiting.

Sorry for the diversion on the topic.  But that is CRAZY.

Trust me, I looked at his OBP and it was crazy high, now some of that was two games with light opponents but we are sitting at 3-8 over the season, 2 of those games being weak opponents and all the others serious competition with one “earned” win.

I was praising his patience at the plate and he has fought off full counts to force pitchers to stay in the strike zone, which is why he has the 5K-L. He was one of few players that saw the base path when we faced the #2 Team in the state who had just returned from being consolation winners in the IMG spring break tourney.

Unfortunately, I really can’t coach him too much because his personality and mine are too similar and I’ve had years and the USMC to help me control my attitude...good thing I have a good assistant coach and a dad that helps who he respects. 

He’s just got to gain confidence and go to the plate to hit. He tries to get walked in some aspects: crowding the plate and showing bunt to throw pitchers off. He’s learned the hard way that an umpires strike zone grows after you show bunt so you better slap it if it’s close. It’s better than last year because he averaged being hit at least once per game, most of the time multiple times, which says something about a pitchers accuracy because he’s 6’2”, 140#, you can barely see him from the side. Lol

Sorry, my mistake.  I read that wrong... thought i read "we had a 900+ OBP" as in whole team.

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