The Phillies were playing the Braves, and Travis Jankowski was on second base in the 9th as the tying run. Jankowski was caught in between 2nd and 3rd, and the catcher did the correct thing by running at him, trying to force Jankowski to make a decision. Jankowski made no decision, and was tagged out by the catcher.
Tim Kurkjian was very unpleased with this happening, writing this article about how base running has declined:
I love this article because it brings up a bigger discussion.
Are analytics ruining the game of baseball?
Yes and no. Have analytics ruined the watching of baseball? In a way, also yes. Analytics have made the game much more efficient for the players. One common example of analytics taking over the game is the record amount of strikeouts and home-runs. The thought process behind this is that any out recorded is the same. For example, striking out is the same as hitting a ground ball that’s the same as hitting a routine fly ball. So when the players have that thought, they realize that they might as well try and hit the ball at such an angle that creates more home-runs, but also creates more strikeouts. And that’s ok to them, because an out is an out, no matter how you do it.
Joey Gallo is a perfect example of a launch angle type of player. He will be close to the top of the leaderboard in home-runs at the end of year, but he will strikeout close to 200 times, or almost 40% of his at bats.
Josh Donaldson was on MLB network explaining his swing and said this:
In a way, he’s right. Players don’t get paid the huge contracts to hit .270 with little to no power. They would rather hit .210-.240 with 30 home-runs, because they’ll get paid the big bucks.
Base running has also taken a hit as stolen bases has declined, because analytics tell players and coaches that the stolen base isn’t worth the risk.
What do you think? Comment below! Connect with me on Twitter @nick30muench