The Sacrifice Bunt Series reaches its thrilling conclusion. Let no one say that we've cut corners; let no one say that there haven't been enough Excel-based line graphs. We have gotten here together, you and I.
Today's post will go a little light on the analysis, and instead present the individual career leaderboards for the sacrifice bunt. Think of it as an appendix. Some of the names will be expected, and others will shock you, if you're the sort of person who can be shocked. We're talking about bunting, of course, not the mating habits of the paper nautilus octopus.
Successful Bunt %, Career (minimum 30 sac attempts)
(times all runners advance / sacrifice bunts attempted)
|Carlos Beltran||50.0%||Mike Tyson||0.0%|
|Angel Pagan||48.7%||Mark Wagner||0.0%|
|Kirby Puckett||48.4%||Rod Barajas||0.0%|
|Gregor Blanco||48.4%||Henry Blanco||2.0%|
|Luis Polonia||46.3%||Fred Lynn||2.6%|
|Ichiro Suzuki||44.7%||Dave Valle||2.6%|
|Hal Morris||44.2%||Bill Stein||2.7%|
|Kenny Lofton||43.7%||Larry Parrish||2.8%|
|J.D. Drew||43.2%||So Taguchi||2.8%|
|Paul Molitor||40.8%||Rich Gedman||3.0%|
|Damon Buford||40.0%||Rafael Landestoy||3.1%|
|Ben Zobrist||40.0%||Lenny Dykstra||3.1%|
|Rafael Furcal||39.6%||Alan Ashby||3.3%|
|John Stearns||39.4%||Rob Andrews||3.3%|
|Alex Cole||38.9%||Jose Molina||3.4%|
Most of these guys make a lot of sense to be great bunters. They're quick out of the box. They're strong enough hitters to keep the infielders back. They've got the speed to beat out the barehanded throw. Carlos Beltran is one of those guys where you could expect him to be halfway down the line before the pitcher could accept the bunt as real.
Then there's Hal Morris. The first baseman. The guy who stole 45 bases in twelve seasons. The guy who was basically a prototype for Sean Casey. And it's no fluke: 18 of the 23 times he reached, they were solid base hits. You're going to have to admit to yourself that you've underappreciated Hal Morris.
On the minus side, first of all, that's Cubs utility infielder Mike Tyson we're talking about. Lots of catchers on this list, including our friend Dave Valle. It's surprising to see two athletic outfielders there, however, in the form of Fred Lynn and Lenny Dykstra. Dykstra reached once in thirty-two sac bunts: it was on an error.
Successful Bunt %, Mariners (minimum 10 sac attempts)
|Ichiro Suzuki||47.6%||Felix Fermin||0.0%|
|John Moses||35.0%||Bill Stein||0.0%|
|Stan Javier||33.3%||Bob Stinson||0.0%|
|Ken Griffey||31.3%||Jay Buhner||0.0%|
|Jeremy Reed||30.4%||Todd Cruz||0.0%|
|Trayvon Robinson||30.0%||Jose Baez||0.0%|
|Phil Bradley||29.6%||Dave Valle||2.8%|
|Endy Chavez||28.6%||Dan Wilson||4.9%|
|Edgar Martinez||28.6%||Bruce Bochte||5.0%|
|Mickey Brantley||27.3%||Larry Cox||5.6%|
Not too many surprises on this list, unless you count Edgar Martinez, Athletic Third Baseman. But it's valuable just to have a new way to understand how awesome Ichiro is. And it's nice to see that Johnny Moses was good at something. On the negative side, the depressing one is Dan Wilson, not because we expect him to beat out base hits, but because... well, you'll see.
Acceptable Bunt %, Career
(times at least lead runner advances / sacrifice bunts attempted)
|Bob Bailor||100.0%||43||Jerome Walton||60.6%|
|Dave Anderson||100.0%||40||Fred Lynn||66.7%|
|Ken Reitz||100.0%||36||Drew Stubbs||67.6%|
|Peter Bourjos||100.0%||35||Tom Foley||67.7%|
|Ron Jackson||100.0%||35||Quilvio Veras||67.9%|
|Enos Cabell||100.0%||35||Joey Gathright||68.3%|
|Dale Berra||100.0%||33||Damian Jackson||69.2%|
|Jim Anderson||100.0%||32||Curtis Goodwin||69.8%|
|Todd Cruz||100.0%||30||Tim Bogar||70.0%|
|Rob Wilfong||99.1%||117||Jose Hernandez||71.0%|
|Johnnie LeMaster||98.3%||60||Mike Kingery||71.0%|
|Bob Randall||98.3%||59||Cecil Espy||71.0%|
|Damion Easley||98.0%||49||Damon Buford||71.4%|
|Rich Dauer||97.8%||45||Benji Gil||72.0%|
|Amos Otis||97.7%||44||Orlando Hudson||72.2%|
You'll notice that most of these guys are seventies and early 80s guys, no surprise given how the bunt has fared recently. That makes Peter Bourjos's achievement that much more impressive. He's due back from injury, and he only needs nine more successful sacrifices to have the most while remaining perfect since 1973. Rob Wilfong's career 116/117 line is perhaps equally impressive.
The worst-of list looks like a sampler of toolsy, reputedly undisciplined guys. Former rookie of the year Jerome Walton stands alone, though it should be noted that if the 30-bunt minimum were reduced to 29, Deion Sanders would check in at second place with 62.1%.
Acceptable Bunt %, Mariners
|Spike Owen||100.0%||29||Charles Gipson||60.0%|
|Bruce Bochte||100.0%||20||Michael Saunders||66.7%|
|John Moses||100.0%||20||Jeremy Reed||69.6%|
|Mike Cameron||100.0%||15||Trayvon Robinson||70.0%|
|Edgar Martinez||100.0%||14||Jay Buhner||70.6%|
|Todd Cruz||100.0%||13||Rey Quinones||72.2%|
|Stan Javier||100.0%||12||Mike Blowers||72.2%|
|Tino Martinez||100.0%||12||Jeff Schaefer||75.0%|
|Craig Reynolds||96.8%||31||Ken Griffey||75.0%|
|Mario Mendoza||96.2%||26||Lenny Randle||75.0%|
Edgar makes another list, and Tino joins him for this one. It's sad to see Michael Saunders second-worst, however. Worse still, four of his seven failures have been force outs, so it's clearly something he needs to practice, especially for the seasons when he's hitting .220. "You bunt worse than Rey Quinones" is actually a statement that officially binds people into duels in some nations.
Total Bunts, Career and Mariners
|Omar Vizquel||352||Dan Wilson||102|
|Ozzie Smith||271||Omar Vizquel||84|
|Roberto Alomar||263||Harold Reynolds||82|
|Juan Pierre||249||Julio Cruz||65|
|Brett Butler||230||Ichiro Suzuki||63|
|Ozzie Guillen||209||Joey Cora||45|
|Alfredo Griffin||195||Larry Milbourne||42|
|Jay Bell||182||Rich Amaral||40|
|Bert Campaneris||178||Chone Figgins||37|
|Kenny Lofton||174||Jose Lopez||37|
Perhaps the only thing surprising about the career leaderboards is that Juan Pierre is so low, although Omar had a dozen years on him. The only player on that list to have more home runs than sacrifice bunts: Jay Bell, with 195 dingers. Meanwhile, for the Mariners... Dan Wilson has laid down more sacrifice bunts than any other Mariner. For those inclined to look back on the Pinella Years as blissful, unblemished times, keep Dan Wilson in mind. Then draw a picture of Gil Meche's shoulder, scan it, and set it as your desktop background.
Win Percentage Added through Sacrifice Bunting, Career
|Kenny Lofton||3.53||Omar Vizquel||-1.87|
|Robby Thompson||2.44||Jamey Carroll||-1.65|
|Derek Jeter||2.38||Greg Gagne||-1.57|
|Roberto Alomar||2.18||Felix Fermin||-1.55|
|Ichiro Suzuki||2.08||Alcides Escobar||-1.38|
|Larry Bowa||2.06||Alvaro Espinoza||-1.34|
|Mickey Rivers||1.71||Gary Disarcina||-1.32|
|Rafael Furcal||1.64||Jay Bell||-1.31|
|Rod Carew||1.6||Walt Weiss||-1.28|
|Luis Polonia||1.53||Manuel Lee||-1.26|
|Corey Patterson||1.43||Abraham Nunez||-1.25|
|Brett Butler||1.41||Orlando Hudson||-1.23|
|Hal Morris||1.37||Placido Polanco||-1.21|
|Ozzie Smith||1.26||Jose Molina||-1.19|
|Jose Reyes||1.22||Neifi Perez||-1.16|
Kenny Lofton stands alone as the most productive bunter of his time. Easy to understand. But second place isn't a stereotypical speedster, but our very own Robby Thompson. His stolen base totals in his first six seasons: 12, 16, 14, 12, 14, 14. Thompson had one of those great underrated careers, playing in the shadow of Clark and Mitchell, and his back basically finished him by 31, but his 28.3 WAR is better than the totals that Ian Kinsler, Michael Young and Nick Swisher have amassed so far in their (equally lengthy) careers.
And at the bottom, there's Little O. This is a career achievement; Omar's 18.8%/90.9% rate is far better than the rest of the guys on this list. But he gave up so many outs at -0.02 WPA a pop that he "wins" regardless. Remember, kids: a successful sacrifice is not successful.
Win Percentage Added through Sacrifice Bunting, Mariners
|Ichiro Suzuki||1.65||Dan Wilson||-0.91|
|Chone Figgins||0.63||Omar Vizquel||-0.8|
|John Moses||0.4||Harold Reynolds||-0.76|
|Phil Bradley||0.35||Dave Valle||-0.69|
|David Bell||0.28||Felix Fermin||-0.57|
|Yuniesky Betancourt||0.23||Jay Buhner||-0.57|
|Jeremy Reed||0.18||Michael Saunders||-0.55|
|Alex Rodriguez||0.15||Bill Stein||-0.52|
|Jeff Cirillo||0.14||Randy Winn||-0.45|
|Brendan Ryan||0.13||Joey Cora||-0.42|
Ichiro is pretty amazing. Chone Figgins... well, let's just say that there are lots of pictures of Chone Figgins bunting in the SBN photo archive. But hey, he did something well! Let's put it this way: Chone Figgins was worth 0.63 WPA sacrificing over three seasons, and -4.29 WPA swinging the bat.
This series is going to end on the subject of Chone Figgins.