*
(Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/cd/18/mlb-uniforms-wade-boggs-011316-getty-ftrjpg_g4qk93bjfv1s1wjiphq160w3l.jpg?t=1105747618&w=500&quality=80

Wade Boggs knows more about acquiring on base 보다 anyone I"ve ever met. But the hall of Famer"s job .415 on-base percent should"ve been higher. The reason it wasn"t? The sacrifice fly.

You are watching: Does a sacrifice bunt count as an at bat


Boggs" 96 career sacrifice flies actually knocked his on-base percentage down four points — native a would-be .419 come the really .415 — because, unlike a sacrifice bunt, a sacrifice fly in reality counts versus a player"s on-base percentage, despite having no result on batting average. Didn"t recognize that? You"re not alone. Even Boggs was perplexed.


“It is strange," the told me. "You acquire rewarded , but then you room penalized at the exact same time.”

Exactly, i m sorry is why it"s time for baseball come rethink the sacrifice fly.


MORE: feather training reporting dates for all 30 teams

I expect the idea is the bunting is viewed as the intentional plot of giving oneself up, while a sacrifice fly is instead viewed together a literal stroke the luck. However I don"t buy the a sacrifice paris is pure luck; it is a skill, just like bunting. Boggs seems to agree.

“It’s really not also that hard," that said. "It is what us preach at the high school through a guy on 3rd and much less than 2 outs.”

Sacrifice flies have been an official baseball statistic since 1954. Previously, they to be grouped v sacrifice bunts, well-known as “sacrifice hits." So, for example, Babe Ruth, who played his whole career before 1954 and had a career .474 on-base percentage, actually gets a bump because his sacrifice paris were no held versus him.

Since their separation, it has been established that neither would certainly count together an at-bat, hence not harming a player’s batting average, however that sacrifice bunts would not be held against a player’s on-base percentage. This, of course, raises one issue.

“How plenty of base hit bunt attempts end up being sacrifice bunts due to the fact that runners advance, yet the batter to be thrown the end at first?" said Cody Asche that the White Sox. "At ideal you acquire a hit, at worst you don’t affect your numbers. I m sorry is (essentially) the same similar to a sacrifice fly. At finest you gain an extra-base hit, in ~ worst a sacrifice fly. Nothing execute one of two people way? that is a non-productive out."

So why penalize a batter that produces one unquestionably productive out?

The greater sacrifice

Modern baseball statistics — specifically, success probability included — have actually taught us that bunting practically always has actually a negative effect top top a team’s probability the victory, vice versa, the sacrifice paris will, an ext often 보다 not, rise a offered team’s probability the victory. Yet for part reason, a batter is punished for the one that has actually the many positive influence on the outcome of a game for his team. In essence, a player is rewarded because that the lesser “sacrifice," if the greater “sacrifice” is probably made even greater because his on-base percentage incurs a penalty.

“The sacrifice fly must not count versus the hitter in any type of way. That is helping your team score, i m sorry is a positive,” said Geoff Blum, who had 40 career sacrifice flies.

MORE: MLB unveils 2017 feather training hats, jerseys

After all, a batter deserve to intentionally struggle a sac fly, just as he can lay under a sac bunt, right?

“You room correct," Blum said. "Big leagues hitters shot to and can hit medium fly balls because that sacrifice flies. ... The sacrifice paris is a guaranteed run. The sacrifice bunt is not.”

Besides, hitters deserve to take advantage of the sacrifice bunt rule.

“The sac bunt is a bogus stat, since guys will shot to do it understanding they will not have actually an 0-for-1 in the box and also possibly a 1-for-1 through a hit," said Kevin Youkilis, well known for his capacity to obtain on base and also who had actually 44 career sacrifice paris of his own, consisting of a league leading 11 in 2006. “I likewise never taken why a player it s okay a sacrifice for bunting, but not relocating a runner over . You room taught to carry out it all the time. Give yourself up for the team. Why no be rewarded because that being selfless?”

Truth, Youk.

"Your method changes"

Let’s take a look at an extreme and also improbable theoretical situation, but one that is, in theory, possible. Say a ballplayer go 1-for-1 on the season through a solo home run and also 501 sacrifice flies. He then bats 1.000/.002/4.000 on the year with 502 RBIs. Regardless of a "horrible" .002 on-base percentage, this would undoubtedly represent the best individual single-season offensive effort in baseball history.

That obscene stat line illustrates a an essential point: because a hitter frequently adopts a different mindset in a sac-fly situation, the execution the the attitude definitely take away skill. And there"s no factor to punishment the successful execution of critical skill.

“Your approach changes through a jogger on 3rd and less than two out — it has to," said Bret Boone, who had a job .354/.359/.585 v 73 sacrifice flies and also 358 RBIs v a man on third with much less than two outs. "You’ve got one task to carry out with a man on 3rd and less than two outs. Obtain that that male home. You have to know that. Some guys are far better at it than others."

Boone continued: “I can address an 0-for-4, yet man, ns leave a runner on 3rd with less than 2 outs ... that’ll damage my entirety night. ... No means should a sacrifice paris go against your OBP. That is a fully different approach. You don’t hit castle by accident.”

Former big-leaguer Todd Hollandsworth went a step further.

“I don’t think there has actually ever been an accidental sacrifice fly,” the said. “No hitter walks to residence plate and also fails to establish there"s a jogger on third with much less than two outs. It is his task to assess the situation. Hitting is about relaxing the mind, simple the demands of the situation, and also then executing.”

MORE: A baseball fan"s survival overview for winter"s big drive

Hollandsworth continued: “I have actually never hit a sacrifice fly and also not slapped hands v every teammate in the dugout. ... I’ve found that rule ridiculous. ... Why should a hitter it is in penalized because that doing what the case asks?”

In various other words, again, players check out a sacrifice fly as an intentional act — just like a sac bunt.

"When there is a guy on third with much less than two out, I understand I desire to obtain the round in the air. A base hit would be great, don’t gain me wrong, however I want to gain the run in," said the Phillies" Cameron Rupp. "I don’t recognize why it wouldn’t count the very same as a sac bunt. ... Ns think that does must be changed, 100 percent.”

Players" consensus

In all, i spoke come an even dozen current and also former ballplayers — hall of Famer Tim Raines (76 career sac flies), Jerry Hairston Jr. (35 career sac flies) and Phillies slugger Tommy Joseph (six sac flies in 2016) also among them — and the jury is in: there is no factor that the sacrifice fly must be held versus a player’s on-base percentage.

Look no additional than this final point: In 1954, when the sacrifice paris was created as its own statistic, a stipulation to be made so that it would not impact a player’s batting average, i m sorry at the time was think to it is in the keystone statistic representing attack output. Today, we know that batting average does not repaint a clear picture, fairly on-base portion is a much much more vivid portrait of a batter’s production. However, it did not end up being an main statistic until 1984, and even then was not lauded by the masses for an additional 15-20 years.

We are privy to a the majority of information and data the was not previously available. Utilizing it, we have the right to determine that the 1954 formula for on-base percent ( / ) is outdated and also in truth the formula that pre-dates it ( / ) is more than likely a far better representation.

See more: How Many Cubic Feet In A Scoop Of Mulch, Mulch Calculator

It"s plainly time because that a change. Don"t punishment a ballplayer for effective execution.