Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Great Throw Home Project

In connection with my post this morning, I've decided I'm going to start actually documenting all the throws homeward that I see. I just saw the first one, in this afternoon's White Sox-Cleveland game, and documented it on Twitter thusly, and not very well (hence the brackets):
Documented throw home from OF no. 1: from shallow right [by Andruw Jones], Chi vs. Cle. 8-ish feet wide, got past catcher, any runner could have scored [from second on a base hit].
This is what I'm going to do for all the throws I see (maybe not all on Twitter, but in a notebook or spreadsheet or something). And I'd love it if you could help me out.

We're going to limit it to two types of plays at home: (1) attempts to score from third on a sacrifice fly and (2) attempts to score from second on a single. For each, we need to know to what position and how deep the ball was hit; the name of the outfielder; the type of hit; how accurate the throw was and/or whether the catcher was able to complete the play; whether the runner was successful; and my(/your) opinion on whether any or all runners would have scored on the same play. (It's not as involved as that sounds, since most plays won't involve every one of those elements.) The throw doesn't actually even need to have been made -- if the outfielder drops the ball in getting ready to make the throw, that's perfectly relevant -- but it needs to be a play that could have been close (or an easy out) if executed perfectly. I hope it goes without saying, but I'm not pursuing an agenda here -- I really just want to get an idea for how often the various possible outcomes come to pass -- so I'm trying to collect all the data I can, whatever the outcome.

If you're willing to help, please send me a brief e-mail (billdailysomething on gmail) or Twitter post, or simply leave a comment to this post (a link is up on the right side of the page ->) with this information any time you see one of these plays in a live game. (I'm not interested in highlights, just because if it's shown on SportsCenter or something, there's likely to be something unusual about the play, and we're interested in documenting all plays, not just the interesting ones.) The data I collect myself is obviously going to come heavily from Twins games, so it would be great if I could get some fans of other teams to help out with this.

And so I'll just keep doing it -- hopefully with your help -- until I feel like I have enough data to draw some conclusions about how frequently these throws tend to work out. There won't be anything remotely scientific about it, but hopefully we'll feel like we know a little bit more about it than we did before.


Karl said...

Watching last nights Twins/Tigers.

Valencia hits a medium speed 1 out line drive single - Austin Jackson charges and fires 3 feet wide of home up the 3rd base line.

Michael Cuddyer scored standing up, all non-Jim Thome class runners score on that play unless the throw is the best throw of Austin Jackson's life

Bill said...

Mets at Cubs, base hit to right field, Starlin Castro running from second. Chris Carter's throw in the general direction of home didn't make it out of the infield on the fly, and essentially rolled to the cutoff man. Any runner would have scored.

Bill said...

from TCM: Tigers at Twins, 9/2, 4th inning. Line drive single to...right/right-center? Jason Repko makes a perfect throw home and Joe Mauer makes an equally perfect tag. Alex Avila out by approximately six feet.

from SerMonty on Twitter: Braves at Marlins, 9/3, 3rd inning. Sacrifice fly to Rick Ankiel in right-center field. Strong throw 6' wide, Gaby Sanchez scores on a close play.

AC said...

I just saw a throw home. Little billy threw a ball with his dad and it went home through a glass window! Uh oh!

The Common Man said...

8th inning of Twins game vs. Royals on 9/6. Fly ball to medium/shallow CF. Denard Span thrown out by Blanco, strong throw right on the plate. Span was actually safe, but the throw beat him.

Bill said...

Twins at White Sox, 9/14, line drive to medium-shallow center, Hardy attempting to score from second. Alex Rios' throw comes in a solid 15 feet up the third base line, and Hardy scores easily (Span advancing to second). Could conceivably have retired a very, very, VERY slow runner--ball would have led right into the runner--but there would be almost no chance in any case.

A few transfers from Twitter coming...

Bill said...

From <a href=">SerMonty</a>:

Rays at Jays, 9/10, third inning. Shallow, very high fly to right. Ben Zobrist makes a perfect throw, perfectly handled by Kelly Shoppach(including dodging a bowl-over attempt), and Travis Snider is out by at least 15 feet. Hard to believe any runner could have scored.

Rangers at Jays, 9/9, 4th ining: line drive single to medium left. David Murphy actually held up, but should've kept running, as Travis Snider booted it while hurrying for a throw home. He restarted and scored without a play. (I saw that one while looking up this next one.)

Next play: fly to medium center field. Dewayne Wise makes the catch and makes a perfect throw home. The throw would've nailed Vladimir Guerrero, but catcher John Buck dropped it on the tag.

Bill said...

Twins at Blue Jays, 4/3/11. Bases loaded, no outs. Matt Tolbert lofts a single into medium-shallow left field, slightly toward the line. Danny Valencia attempts to score from second. Travis Snider's throw is perfect, caught in the air by Arencibia at almost exactly the spot to which the runner would be sliding. Valencia was out easily, and would have been out even if he had been three steps further ahead.

Diamondbacks at Cubs, 4/4. Bases loaded and one out. Carlos Pena hits a hard fly ball to right that Justin Upton has to run in and toward the line to catch. Upton takes about two steps to set himself and throws home. The throw comes in on a hop just slightly on the first base side, and is mishandled by catcher Miguel Montero, allowing Marlon Byrd to score. An in-line throw and clean catch and tag very likely would have had him.

Adam Krueger said...

Pirate at Cubs (4/3) - Top of the 8th, Jose Tabata at the plate, bases loaded, Jason Jaramillo (C) at 3rd tries to tag up on a medium flyball to right-field, Tyler Colvin has time to set, catches the ball, air-mails a strike to Soto, who turns and tags Jaramillo in the face. Out at the plate.

Bill said...

Yankees at Red Sox, 4/8: Gonzalez squirts a single through the vacated left side of the infield, a very slow roller by the time it gets to left fielder Brett Gardner. Pedroia got a good jump off of second and came home. The throw from Gardner was just 2-3 feet off-line and on one hop to Martin, whose tag was just barely too late. A perfectly on-line throw or a slower runner than Pedroia would certainly have resulted in an out.

Sean said...

Cards/Braves on May 1, 2011. Top 8th, with 1 out and Matt Holliday on 3rd, Cards down by a run; so it's an obvious sac fly situation. Fairly shallow fly ball hit by Molina out to Heyward in right. Holliday tags. Heyward got a good running start and fired home, but it was well wide up the 1st base line and Holliday scored easily.

A perfect throw probably would have gotten him.