Monday, April 4, 2011

Re-Instituting the Great Throw Home Project

By Bill

Last September 1, I got in a discussion with some people regarding when and how often third base coaches should send runners home. It's always been my feeling that a perfectly executed in-game throw, catch and tag between an outfielder and a catcher is relatively rare, and that third base coaches should thus generally be more aggressive than they are in sending runners home.

But that was just a feeling, so I thought I'd try to gather some data. And that's using the term "data" pretty loosely; assuming there is a way of studying this totally objectively, I'm certainly not going to be the one to find it. I just wanted to start making notes of plays at home, or even potential plays at home, and trying to get a feel for how often they're completed successfully by the defense.

So what I asked for the last month of the 2010 season, and I'm asking again now, is that you help me out by just letting me know when you see one of these plays -- either a single on which a runner attempts to score from second or a flyout with an attempted score from third which has the potential to be a close play, or would have been had the outfielder made the play cleanly -- and giving me as much detail on it as you can. Base/out situation, the position and player and spot on the field it was hit to, who was running, the result of the play, and your own assessment of how accurate the throw was and/or whether a better throw would have gotten him. Leave it at the original post (there's a permanent link to it along the right-hand side of our blog) or in the comments to this post, or send it to me by email or on Twitter. I've put the first two entries of 2011 in the comments to the original post.

I'm calling it The Great Throw Home Project, which is an incredibly grandiose name for such a silly little project. I'm still not entirely sure what I'm doing with this information. There's obviously nothing remotely scientific about it, and we won't know anything definitively when it's done. But with enough entries, we should feel like we know more by the end than we did at the beginning, and that's something. Right?

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