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Walks Are Not as Good as Hits


gpolee

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I know everyone is in love with OBP and the Orioles could benefit from getting on base more. Point is, if you have players with similar OBP and one hits 50 points higher while taking fewer walks, your team is going to be much more dynamic and score a lot more runs by playing the guy who puts the ball in play. All things being equal contractually, etc., Kendrys Morales vs. Justin Smoak is not even a close comparison of value to a team's offense. No team needs Smoak standing on first just so the eighth hitter steps up to get his swings when it could have Kendrys driving in runs from first with a long single or doubling home two runs. There is an inherent flaw with overvaluing OBP and undervaluing BA.

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Even when I was in Little League and we said "A walk is as good as a hit," we understood that it only applied in certain situations, such as when there was nobody on base, and a single was essentially the same as a walk, because either way, there would be a runner on first base with the same number of outs. We all knew that if there was a runner on second base, a walk was not as good as a single that would at least move the runner to 3rd base, and potentially even score on said single. And of course, a double, a triple, and a home run are always more valuable than walks, but we also knew that. It was an implied understanding. I don't think that any of us (even in Little League) took the saying/idiom to be literal.

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I know everyone is in love with OBP and the Orioles could benefit from getting on base more. Point is, if you have players with similar OBP and one hits 50 points higher while taking fewer walks, your team is going to be much more dynamic and score a lot more runs by playing the guy who puts the ball in play. All things being equal contractually, etc., Kendrys Morales vs. Justin Smoak is not even a close comparison of value to a team's offense. No team needs Smoak standing on first just so the eighth hitter steps up to get his swings when it could have Kendrys driving in runs from first with a long single or doubling home two runs. There is an inherent flaw with overvaluing OBP and undervaluing BA.

I would likely platoon both of them, and in that case there may not be much difference between them. Certainly not enough to justify the loss of a pick and probably 25+ million dollars. Morales put up a .340 wOBA vs RHP last year and Smoak was at .368. I'd rather roll the dice on Smoak than pay for Morales, as long as Smoak comes very cheaply.

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Walks are definitely better than hits. It takes at least 4 P to get one, you only need one pitch to get a hit.

Don't be deliberately obtuse. That doesn't matter in the bottom of the 9th with a runner on 2nd when a hit scores the winning run and a walk doesn't.

I have given a specific situation where a walk is not "definitely" better than a hit, so your postulation is false.

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Don't be deliberately obtuse. That doesn't matter in the bottom of the 9th with a runner on 2nd when a hit scores the winning run and a walk doesn't.

I have given a specific situation where a walk is not "definitely" better than a hit, so your postulation is false.

If they had done their job and taken their walks they wouldn't be in that situation. The team with the most walks scores usually the most runs.
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I know everyone is in love with OBP and the Orioles could benefit from getting on base more. Point is, if you have players with similar OBP and one hits 50 points higher while taking fewer walks, your team is going to be much more dynamic and score a lot more runs by playing the guy who puts the ball in play. All things being equal contractually, etc., Kendrys Morales vs. Justin Smoak is not even a close comparison of value to a team's offense. No team needs Smoak standing on first just so the eighth hitter steps up to get his swings when it could have Kendrys driving in runs from first with a long single or doubling home two runs. There is an inherent flaw with overvaluing OBP and undervaluing BA.

There's also a flaw in overvaluing BA and undervaluing OBP. Or ignoring whether the BA is accompanied by a high or low SLG. That's why most of us look at stats like OPS or (even better) wOBA to more properly balance the various components.

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