A kind-of, maybe, might-be-something-to-it try to figure out how often the Royals bunt
The Kansas City Star
So, right here in the first sentence I’m going to point out that this entire blog post might be bs. And, before you say it out loud, yes, I mean even MORE bs than usual.
Anyway, the idea here came from a question Robert Ford and I were going to talk about on the radio last night, but didn’t get around to: do the Royals bunt too much?
Now, if you’re like me, you answer YES and feel like you should move on but I wanted to put some numbers behind it so we at least have some context.
And this is where the possible bs comes in. The closest I could find to a website that tracks the number of bunt attempts^ is, perhaps not surprisingly, the completely awesome FanGraphs.
^ The Royals are tied with two other teams for fourth in the American League with 17 sacrifice hits (bunts count), four behind Boston.
The trick is that FanGraphs — as far as I can tell, and I can’t stress enough how easy it will be for me to believe I’m wrong about this and am missing a better way — only shows bunt hits and bunt hit percentage.
However, I found a few message boards — yes, I’m a nerd — that reassured me that sacrifice attempts are included in these numbers. If that’s not accurate, I’ve wasted all our time and will issue you a full refund of your money.
And even if it is accurate, there are enough variables here — can’t be sure how many of the bunts were to get on base vs sacrifice, no way to know how many were called from the dugout, etc — that this is probably best not used to make any enormous declarations.
So with as many disclaimers as I can possibly manage, here goes. I applied the math backwards and came up with what I believe would be the bunt attempts — sacrifice and otherwise — of each American League team. Bunt hits are in parentheses.
If these numbers are right, it looks likely that the Royals lead the American League in sacrifice bunt attempts^, but not by an outrageously large margin.
*^ I know this is confusing, which is why I hesitated putting this on here, and why I put so many disclaimers. As you can see, the Angels lead the AL in bunt attempts, but if you subtract the bunt hits, the Royals would hold a small “lead.” If you figure failed bunt hit attempts are proportionate to successful bunt hit attempts — the number in parentheses — then it seems likely the Royals and Twins are “ahead” of the pack here.
Or, you can cuss at this right now and get back on with your day.*
Angels 61 (26)
Royals 49 (10)
Twins 43 (13)
Mariners 37 (10)
Rangers 37 (11)
Tigers 36 (8)
Rays 35 (10)
White Sox 30 (9)
A’s 28 (5)
Orioles 28 (12)
Red Sox 27 (3)
Yankees 25 (9)
Indians 19 (8)
Blue Jays 17 (7)