The Answer

Earlier, I asked you guys how you felt about the Mariners' production so far this year with a runner on third and less than two out. As of right now, 4% of respondents voted "good", 47% of respondents voted "normal", and 47% of respondents voted "poor". That still leaves 2% of respondents, all of whom voted for the mystery box. They were given the mystery box, and now their votes have been erased. That should tell you what you need to know about the mystery box. Some mysteries should remain mysterious.

I wasn't just going to drop that poll without following it up, though. On the year, the Mariners have had 150 plate appearances with a runner on third and less than two out. In 81 of those plate appearances, they brought the runner home, for a conversation rate of 54%. Sound really bad? Believe it or not, the league average is 50%. Half the time, the batter brings in the runner from 90 feet away, and half the time, he doesn't. It's not nearly the gimme that it seems like.

Note that this doesn't count times that the runner stays at third, and then ends up scoring with two outs. By that point, whoever drove the runner home let the previous batter or batters off the hook.

The Mariners' conversion rate ranks tied for ninth-best in baseball. It's just eighth-best in the American League, since the NL is brought down by pitchers. There wasn't a right or wrong answer to the poll, by the way; it was a question about feelings, and feelings are feelings. But 47% of respondents feel like the Mariners have done a poor job of something when they've actually done an above-average job of it. People have been conditioned to believe it's easier to drive a runner in from third than it actually is.

Last season, the Mariners finished at 54%, against an AL average of 53%. The season before that, 47% and 50%, respectively. The season before that, 47% and 52%. The season before that has been stricken from the records.

As a final fun fact, Chone Figgins has an above-average career conversion rate. As a Mariner, Figgins has batted 44 times with a runner on third and less than two out, and 26 times he's driven the runner home. Whenever Figgins has batted in that situation, you've felt like he was going to fuck it up. In reality he's done better than most. Kudos on this one very specific accomplishment, Chone Figgins.

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