Sep 5, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Koji Uehara (19) and catcher David Ross (3) celebrate the win against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Boston won 9-8 in ten innings. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Dreaded Leadoff Walk


Koji Uehara is amazing. What I appreciate most is his ability to keep the ball around the plate. No walks. I hate the lead off walk and for a reliever that is a potential recipe for disaster. Seems it goes downhill once that happens.

Among the great philosophies of baseball is “A walk is as good as a hit.” Does that oft repeated axiom have any merit? Does a walk foretell disaster? Is it as good as a hit? Appears it is or at least – very, very close.

This internet fad is amazing. It allows one to simply do some research to discover if anyone has “run the numbers.” They have. The following table appeared in an article on FanGraphs.

Any inning

Single 325455 Scored 122662 37.69%
Walk 150570 Scored 57189 37.98%
HBP 11865 Scored 4600 38.77%
Error 19260 Scored 7270 37.74%
Strikeout 1007 Scored 375 37.24%
Catcher’s Int. 155 Scored 54 34.84%
Totals 508312 Scored 192150 37.80%

6th inning or earlier

Single 217421 Scored 83243 38.29%
Walk 100587 Scored 38798 38.57%
HBP 7879 Scored 3070 38.96%
Error 12778 Scored 4880 38.19%
Strikeout 645 Scored 244 37.83%
Catcher’s Int. 107 Scored 36 33.64%
Totals 339417 Scored 130271 38.38%

7th inning or later

Single 108034 Scored 39419 36.49%
Walk 49983 Scored 18391 36.79%
HBP 3986 Scored 1530 38.38%
Error 6482 Scored 2390 36.97%
Strikeout 362 Scored 131 36.19%
Catcher’s Int. 48 Scored 18 37.50%
Totals 168895 Scored 61879 36.64%

Statistically it appears that old adage does pass the litmus test. Keep that first runner off base. When Koji appeared in the game last night (9/5) you knew nothing cheap (a walk) would happen.

Tags: Boston Red Sox Featured Koji Uehara Popular