Featured Post: Can Eric Young Have a .350 OBP If He Bunts More?

eric young

“Know what the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is? It’s 25 hits. 25 hits in 500 at bats is 50 points, okay? There’s 6 months in a season, that’s about 25 weeks. That means if you get just one extra flare a week – just one – a gorp… you get a groundball, you get a groundball with eyes… you get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week… and you’re in Yankee Stadium.” Crash Davis, Bull Durham

That’s all it takes. One hit per week to turn a .250 hitter into a .300 hitter. It just so happens that Eric Young Jr. hit .249 last year. That would mean that if he could manage one more hit per week…just one more ground ball with eyes…just one more bunt base hit…he could be a .300 hitter and probably get his OBP up in the .350 range.

Terry Collins advised the media yesterday that Young could have a .350 OBP if he bunted more. It sounds like they want Young to play more of a Willie Mays Hayes style of baseball in 2014.

Here is what Metsblog contributor, Maggie Wiggin, tweeted in response to the Collins quote yesterday:

This tweet is accurate. Gaining an additional 20 bunt hits seems highly unlikely, but it leaves out one important fact—Young’s speed puts added pressure on the defense. That means if he bunts, the defense has to field the ball cleanly, and make a strong accurate throw in order to get the speedy Young out. Odds are, while he may not be able to accumulate 22-25 extra hits from bunts, he may be able to accumulate 10-15 more hits and get on base an additional 5-10 times due to errors made.

That’s hypothetical, but possible.

If Young added 15 more hits (less than one per week), that’s a .276 average and .330 OBP (based on his 539 at-bats in 2013). That is more realistic than saying Young can have a .350 OBP simply by bunting more.

While reaching base on an error is helping the team, it isn’t factored into OBP because it is looked at as luck. However, when your speed is causing fielders to rush, that isn’t luck, it’s skill. Even if it’s not reflected in his actual OBP, Young is impacting the offense by getting on base more often where the Mets can take advantage of his speed. So if he bunts more, hypothetically he will get on base more, even if it’s not reflected in his stats.