## So the Rays are Horrible With a Man on Third and Less Than 2 Outs?

Recently, there has been quite a bit of debate about whether the Rays are using the right processes in the above scenario.  I thought a good way to end the conjecture and look at this rationally would be to look at some data.  Baseball-Reference came through again (what can't those guys do).

 #Willy Aybar Jason Bartlett Pat Burrell *Carl Crawford *Gabe Gross Michel Hernandez *Akinori Iwamura *Matthew Joyce Gabe Kapler Evan Longoria #Dioner Navarro *Carlos Pena Shawn Riggans B.J. Upton #Ben Zobrist League Average Team Total
 <23B Scr % 2 1 50% 1 1 100% 2 2 100% 5 3 60% 5 3 60% 0 0 3 1 33% 0 0 0 0 13 8 62% 8 1 13% 7 4 57% 0 0 1 0 0% 1 1 100% 51% 48 25 52%

Much of the dialogue has centered around the Rays not getting "productive outs".  The major scenario here is when there are less than 2 outs and a man on third.  Some have said that the main objective should be to hit a deep FB to score the run or hit to the right side of the infield.  In the following workbook I have looked at the roughly top 100 pitchers by WPA this year.  You will see their success rates when facing this scenario over the last 4 years.  I wanted to look at it from this perspective to see if this is a situation where a pitcher has an advantage.  I have not broken it down by how the run was scored, but you will see each pitchers number of chances, how many times they allowed a run, and how many times they were able to strikeout the batter.  In the Summary columns you will see their 4 year averages of allowing a run and striking out the batter.  These show the extremes of worst and best case scenario, respectively.  You will notice a positive relationship between a pitcher having a high WPA and a low Runs scored here.  This makes sense as better pitching is going to succeed more often here.  The second chart shows a positive relationship between pitchers with high K-rates and low Run scoring success rates, which is also intuitive.  One thing to add, somehow Justin Verlander has been in this situation 5 times and allowed 6 runs!

In the third tab you will see how the Rays have fared in this situation this year.  Currently, we are above league average by scoring that runner 52% of the time.  League average is 51%.  If you took out Navi's 1 run scored in 8 chances this number goes to 60%.  Clearly, he is off to a rough start, but don't let Ole Squat Round completely change your opinion of how were are doing in this situation.  Going into this my opinion was that 20-30% of the time that a player swings "productively" he will drive the runner in.  Though this data does not delve into that explicitly, I was clearly well below the actual averages.  So take a few minutes and review what we have here as it is quite a bit of data you are not going to find anywhere else.

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