Last week, I used some different metrics to quantify bunting performance in 2010. In this post, I would like to build on what I found after researching the first part of this post. The clear issue with using data from only one year is that it becomes susceptible to small sample sizes, and since bunt attempts occur on such a small percentage of swings, that issue is magnified in this case. In order to get a better feel for bunting skill, I've set up the statistics I used last week for 2008 and 2009 data. Before I get into go on, I'd like to revisit the league averages that I showed at the beginning of last week's post.
The league-wide samples stay pretty consistent year to year, which is good for establishing baselines for these metrics. However, the samples that I used in last week's post (20 bunt attempts or 10 fair bunts) did not correlate very well year-to-year. Notable R^2 are as follows: hit% - .514, out% - .226, sac% - .528, Bunt Runs/100 - .178. The one that surprised me the most, however, was coefficient of determination for fair bunt%. That was only .065, which I found strange considering fair bunt% appears to be a distinct skill. Bear in mind that even though we're looking at three years' worth of data, it's still a small sample size. In order to get players that were qualified bunters in back-to-back years, I had to eliminate all but 82 of the individual seasons. I was particularly puzzled by the low correlation for fair bunts, which I figured would be a detectable skill even in the limited sample.
My love for the fair bunt% statistic is slightly diminished after seeing how poorly it correlated in my data, but I still think that it's an important statistic to look at. Below are the 10 leaders and trailers for fair bunt%; Chris Young (of the Diamondbacks) is really in a league of his own.
The next set of leaderboards are for hit%, out%, and sac% out of fair bunts.
Unsurprisingly, all of the sacrifice leaders are pitchers. The first position players to appear on the list are Daric Barton (.760), Yuniesky Betancourt (.724), and Jamey Carroll (.720).
|Rank||Name||Bunt Runs / 100|
As usual, the trailers include a lot of pitchers, who don't tend to get a lot of bunt hits. The first position players that appear on the list are Chris Young (-2.54), Brendan Ryan (-2.42), Tony Gwynn (-2.29), Yuniesky Betancourt (-1.70), and Juan Pierre (-1.13). Pierre has appeared a lot in these two posts, typically as a trailer in some category. Based on the data for these three years, he doesn't have the ability to be a productive enough bunter to offset his great number of bunt attempts. In fact, of the ten players that topped the attempt% list I showed at the beginning of this post, Pierre was the only player to grade out as a below-average bunter. One other note - I'm skeptical of the bunt runs values for Pennington and Furcal since Pennington had a bunt double and Furcal had two. Bunt doubles are essentially flukes, and since doubles are worth a lot more than singles are, they skew the run value totals.
Fair bunt data are from Fangraphs. Foul and missed bunt data were generated from Joe Lefkowitz's PITCHf/x tool.