Talking Baseball

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Posted by Dave on Thursday, May 06, 2004

A Word on the Other Sacrifice

I have written twice recently about so-called productive outs. Once about the futility of the sacrifice bunt, and once about Buster Olney's preposterous Productive Out Percentage. I suppose these discussions wouldn't be proper without the other sacrifice. The sac fly.

The sacrifice flyout is an underrated method for scoring runs. Most would agree that any out is a bad out, but a sac fly is extremely excusable. A sac fly, I would think, is not a conscious attempt to make an out. Rather, it is the conscious attempt to hit the ball really far. To do that, one needs to drive the ball in the air. What's one way to get a hit (or, specfically, a HR)? By driving the ball in the air. The sacrifice fly is mostly the unfortunate scenario of a long flyball not becoming an extra-base hit.

Sure, it's early, but Miguel Tejada has been awfully proficient at hitting sac-flies. He's been good enough to drive the ball a long way, but simultaneously lucky enough to hit it at fielders, as well. This shouldn't come as too big a surprise, however. Tejada bats behind a veritable hitting machine in Melvin Mora (a temporary transmutation into George Brett, no doubt) and Brian Roberts (dare I say better than Jerry Hairston?).

Still, to have seven sac-flies in twenty-five games is quite amazing. How amazing? Well, seven in twenty-five games would project to roughly 45 over 162 games. If you want a more conservative number of games played for Miggy (150, if you will), he'll still smash, errr...deftly wallop...ummm...violently......place 42 sac-flies. That's especially incredible considering that the Major League single-season record is 19 by good ol' Gil Hodges. Miggy's already got 7, so it wouldn't be a stretch to say he has a serious chance to break the single-season record. Unfortunately, I can't quite decide if the distiction of being the most prolific sacrifice-flyer is fortuitous or farcical.

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