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Today's Poll - What's Your LOB Measuring Stick?

Well, at least the Beavers aren't being stranded on a base like this. (Fort Jefferson)
Well, at least the Beavers aren't being stranded on a base like this. (Fort Jefferson)

A comment that calripken08 posted the other day got me thinking a lot about runners left on base, and I decided to make it the topic of today's poll. I'm still quite befuddled by the subject (really, are runners left on base good or bad??), so hopefully you guys can help me out and drop some knowledge.

Just for a point of reference, here is an excerpt from calripken08's comment:

I’m still concerned about the RISP/LOB issues, however the Beavs seem to be balancing that out with the 2 out hits; listening to the game on the way home from work, the Beavs were able to push 2 across in the bottom of the 4th which proved to be the winning runs. But 8 LOB is still an issue. Maybe they need to be more aggressive on the bases to open up some holes in the field… I don’t know. It’s just a pattern that leaves me a little concerned going forward in pac-10 play.

Like I just mentioned, runners left on base is a tricky topic in that they're both good and bad. You want runners on base, yet you don't want to leave them there.

If we look at the Major Leagues for a moment, where historical statistics are more readily available and better organized, we find teams have had zero runners left on base on numerous occasions throughout the years. I'll go out on a limb and say that most of those came in no hitters and games where a team faced dominant pitching. So is leaving runners on base good? Or bad? I say it's best to have a happy medium.

While we're on the subject, the MLB record for runners left on base in a game was 20, and it was the New York Yankees who accomplished the feat in 1956 against the Boston Red Sox.

MLB teams average anywhere between 5.7 and 8.2 men left on base per game over the course of a season-- there are the good games and bad games, of course, but no team has ever averaged more than nine men left on base per game over the course of a season. That's a pretty tight window average, considering that 162 games by 30+ teams in recent history go into the picture.

Now, I realize that there are some slight differences in style of play between the big leagues and the college ranks, but it's hard to find historical "LOB" statistics. Hopefully those MLB statistics reasonably translate into the college game.

The Beavers are averaging just over nine runners left on base per game this season.

I was sad to discover that the Pac-10 stat nerds don't keep tabs of runners left on base in the team-conference stats, so I had to do some digging and conduct some difficult computations to yield the following table. For kicks and giggles, I threw in hits per game as well. Here's how it all ranks within in the Pac-10 conference.

Team LOB avg Hits/gm
OSU 9.1 9.9
UCLA 8.4 9.3
UW 8.0 9.5
ASU 7.8 9.8
USC 7.8 9.1
WSU 7.8 9.6
Stan 7.7 8.6
Cal 7.5 10.4
UO 6.5 8.7

As you can see, the Beavers leave the most men stranded on base in the conference. But they're second in the league in hits.

In the end, I think I'll agree with calripken08. If we can get clutch two out hits to score runners, I'm perfectly happy with leaving a few extra guys on base.

Feel free to vote in the poll, but I'm more interested in your comments since this is a hard topic to whittle down to three poll choices. And if someone has any ideas on how I can further examine the topic by perhaps looking at some different perspective, I'd be open to that as well.

--Jake (