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Is a walk as good as a hit?
2006-04-29 23:36
by Bob Timmermann

Alan Schwarz in the New York Times writes about David Neft's "on base advantage", a measurement where a walk is valued by subtracting a player's slugging percentage from 1.

However jarring to those riding the modern walk bandwagon, Neft's refinement makes perfect sense. From the pitcher's standpoint, a batter expected to slug 1.000, on average, should always be walked because his average hit is more damaging than a walk.

Meanwhile, walking a player with a .000 slugging percentage is grounds for an early shower, because he is no threat in the first place. The higher the slugging percentage, the less costly the walk.

Walking a player with a .000 slugging percentage is sometimes referred to by those of us on the West Coast as "The Grabowski Principle." You can get something of an explanation of it here.

2006-04-29 23:49:59
1.   Ken Arneson
First impression: I like it.
2006-04-30 07:23:01
2.   D4P, should the value of single be downweighted because it wasn't a double, triple or HR? Aren't singles less valuable to players who hit a lot of extra-base hits than to players who hit few extra-base hits? Where does this line of thinking stop?
2006-04-30 11:57:09
3.   regfairfield
I agree with D4P. While it is worse to walk a pitcher than a hitter, no hitter has ever come close to averaging one base an at bat, meaning that the walk puts them in a better position to score.

The best way to do this is look at runs scored on average when a player like Pujols walks or doesn't walk. I'm guessing the walk category will win out.

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