When I was a kid, I remember renting "Bases Loaded" for the NES. Don't remember that one? Here's a little snippet...
To be completely honest, my main recollection is that it was a terrible game. I could never seem to win even a single contest. But it was the only baseball sim that the local video rental store had, so it was constantly the one I rented.
This year, the Twins' own "bases loaded" woes are roughly similar to my childhood predicament: It never ends well, yet you can't just purposely not load the bases because that would be stupid, right?
I heard some of our bases loaded stats while watching the final game of the Tampa Bay series and almost had to do a double take, leading me to do a little research into the issue. I'm not great with numbers/statistics (just good enough to get myself into trouble, most of the time), but I think this is rudimentary enough even for me.
First, I wanted to see what the major league average for bases loaded situations has been recently. Here are the BA & OPS in said situations going back to 2010:
2010- .281; .758
2011- .270; .727
2012- .266; .716
2013- .271; .719
2014- .271; .717
2015- .284; .757
2016 (so far)- .274; .723
I know I didn't use a ton of data points, but at least so far this decade there isn't any huge swing in bases loaded production. It may dip under .270/.720 a bit or get up over .280/.750 a bit, but otherwise it seems to hold pretty stable.
Next, I wanted to see BABIP information for the same time period (again, major league average each season):
2016 (so far)- .297
I triple-checked this to make sure my system wasn't just bugging out, but no...BABIP has held that stable since 2010. So, just putting the ball in play each at-bat would give a batter a solid .300 average. I know this doesn't directly relate to the bases loaded situations, but I was mainly just curious to see what just putting the ball in play (in any situation) would do.
Now, on to the Twins' stats with the bases loaded:
2010- 177 PA, 134 RBI, .320 BA, .842 OPS, 28 K
2011- 130 PA, 88 RBI, .312 BA, .798 OPS, 29 K
2012- 167 PA, 101 RBI, .227 BA, .581 OPS, 29 K
2013- 139 PA, 73 RBI, .226 BA, .584 OPS, 39 K
2014- 168 PA, 119 RBI, .317 BA, .795 OPS, 29 K
2015- 149 PA, 101 RBI, .283 BA, .743 OPS, 39 K
2016 (so far)- 50 PA, 20 RBI, .119 BA, .323 OPS, 14 K
So, after looking up those numbers, what I basically found is this: I have absolutely no idea what is going on. Since the league average with the bases loaded holds tight, I thought the Twins average would too. Nope. It's all over the place from year to year. I then figured that K's would be the big issue, but they don't seem to be. If I estimate that the season is 1/3 complete (two months out of six in the books), then we are are pace to have about 150 bases loaded PA's this year and maybe 45 K's. Yes, that would be the most this decade, but it isn't all that much more than the 39 K's in both 2013 and 2015, years in which we performed better in said situations.
Any thoughts? It seems like the Twins might indeed just be in a rut of bad luck in these situations, but maybe something more is at play here. Like I said, the "making inferences" part of data analysis often escapes me, so I'm interested to hear the community thoughts.
Oh, and in case I'm just completely talking nonsense (always a distinct possibility), here is a hilarious quick little video (since I'm kinda on the video game kick here) showcasing the basic state of the Twins' RF situation right now (or, at least when Sano was roaming the territory). I honestly don't know if a more perfect video could be found...