Hit & Run Results
I recently improved the result tables for the Hit & Run rules. The Hit & Run is still resolved in the same manner, but I've made some changes to the results that are affected, and how they are affected. My goal was to improve the statistical realism, but I also simplified the rules in the process.
In the previous rules, there were two double play results that became hits, depending on the handedness of the batter. For a right-handed batter, the second baseman would break to cover 2nd base on the Hit & Run play, leaving a hole on the right side (with the reverse being true for left-handed batters). This motion by the defense is part of the reason that the Hit & Run play raises batting averages by about 30 points in Major League Baseball, and this is the reasoning behind the old table (at right).
However, I realized that real baseball doesn't work this way. Sometimes the defense switches things up in an attempt to fool the hitter. (A good example of this can be seen in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, where Wally Backman covers 2nd on the Hit & Run, despite the fact that the left-handed Wade Boggs is batting).
I looked into ways for the Hit & Run to create the correct benefits (increased batting average and prevention of the double play) without relying on the handedness of the batter. Digging into the math, the Hit & Run play in Season Ticket Baseball already increases batting averages by 30 points — by reducing the number of strikeouts. Being aggressive early in the count cuts down on both strikeouts and walks, and the rules correctly simulate this by changing both 'K' and 'BB' results into a 2-strike count that doesn't end the at-bat. In order to strike out with the Hit & Run on, you essentially have to roll a 'K' result twice. This rule, by itself, increases batting averages by 30 points — exactly the amount that I was trying to design into the system.
These are the effects of the Hit & Run with the new rules:
It's tough to confirm whether this table perfectly match real-life, mostly because it's hard to identify all the Hit & Run plays in the statistical record. But I'm confident that they are pretty close. If you'd like an idea of the research I did, I recommend starting with this article at Baseball Prospectus.
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