Component 3: Balls not in Play: Strikeouts, Walks, Hit-by-Pitches
In the third step of calculating Player Wins and Losses, batters and pitchers are given credit and blame for plate appearances that do not result in the ball being put into play: i.e., strikeouts, walks, and hit batsmen. Unlike Components 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9; Components 3 and 4 are not constrained to be 0.500 Components by construction. Instead, the combined winning percentage of Components 3 and 4 is equal to 0.500.
1. Calculation of Component 3 Player Game Points
Components 3 and 4 are calculated together. After Components 1 (stolen bases) and 2 (wild pitches) are accounted for, Components 3 and 4 are calculated by calculating the expected value of the plate appearance, based purely on the basic result – walk, strikeout, or ball in play – assuming average results following the play. If the batter does not put the ball in play, the results are credited to Component 3. If the batter does put the ball in play (including hitting a home run), the results are credited to Component 4.
For strikeouts and walks, any baserunner advancement beyond normal – e.g., a batter reaching base on a dropped third strike or a baserunner going from first to third on a walk and a wild pitch – is attributed to Component 2. Like Component 1, where baserunners earn Component 1 decisions for not stealing as well as for stealing, batters are credited/debited with Component 2 decisions on strikeouts both for successfully reaching first base on a dropped third strike as well as for failing to reach first base safely. Component 3 decisions for strikeouts are calculated given an average probability of the batter successfully reaching first base on strike three.
Intentional walks are issued at the discretion of the pitching team. To acknowledge this, I do not calculate a “context-neutral” version of Component 3 decisions for intentional walks. Instead, intentional walks are tied to the context in which they occurred, so that “context-neutral” Component 3 intentional walks are exactly equal to their “context-dependent” Component 3 value.
2. Relative Values of Strikeouts and Walks
On average, in the Retrosheet era, a strikeout has a net win value (for the batter) of
-0.0214 while unintentional walks and hit batsmen have had an average net win value of
These values have varied somewhat over time due to differences in the run-scoring environment, although not by as much as most other offensive events. A strikeout-to-walk ratio (excluding intentional walks) for a pitcher greater than
1.45 will produce a Component 3 winning percentage over 0.500, while a strikeout-to-walk ratio for a batter less than
1.45 will produce a Component 3 winning percentage over 0.500.
*Hit-by-Pitches are included here as well.
The strikeout-to-walk ratio in Major League Baseball has increased in recent years, as the number of strikeouts has increased. Since 2000, the strikeout-to-(unintentional)walk ratio in Major League Baseball was
2.11 with pitchers having a Component 3 winning percentage of
0.601 over this time period.
Over the entirety of the Retrosheet era, Component 3 accounted for
14.7% of total Player decisions. That share has grown over time as strikeouts have increased. Since 2000, Component 3 has accounted for
16.9% of total Player decisions. Component 3 Player decisions are assigned entirely to batters and pitchers.
Component 3 leaders are shown here.
All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.
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