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Your Sacrifice Bunt Career Leaderboards

You’re curious about which players are the best and worst bunters, aren’t you? It’s okay, admit it.

i miss you so much
i miss you so much

Earlier in the series: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

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
Scott Fletcher 170
Larry Bowa 168
Bob Boone 167
Tim Foli 167
Royce Clayton 163

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.