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Alcides Escobar is bunt happy

Aug 13, 2012, 11:03 AM EDT

Escobar_Alcides

This is no news to Royals fans who spend a lot of time getting mad at the Royals for bunting a lot. But if you don’t pay attention to such things, stuff like this will make you happy to not follow the Royals:

Alcides Escobar bunted in the first inning Sunday against Baltimore after Alex Gordon opened the game with a single. Escobar bunted on his own; he was bunting for a base-hit — and here you go: Good idea or not? … This was also the fifth straight time in a 22-game span that Escobar’s followed a leadoff single with a first-inning bunt.

Ned Yost said he didn’t mind. Unless his name was Billy Hamilton, If I had a guy on my team bunting in the first inning at that rate, I’d bench him so hard that he’d be picking splinters out of his hind end for a year.
  1. groundruledoublebourbon - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    While the detrimental effects of bunting early are well documented, benching a player for exercising his discretion in-game may be the fastest route out of a job for a manager. That type of reaction will lose a clubhouse about as fast as anything. The only thing a manager can do is make his policy on this very clear and hope the players follow suit between the lines.

    Unfortunately, Ned doesn’t believe in all that fancy math, and he even condoned Escobar bunting whenever he wishes.

    • sportsdrenched.com - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      But what if all the other players are tired of his bunting too? I’m sure club houses still have some of the same dynamics as any other organization. If someone is doing something that makes your job harder, yet the boss won’t do anything about it, and then they do there’s a collective “Finally, it’s about freaking time.” In that case Ned would solidify players respect.

      • groundruledoublebourbon - Aug 13, 2012 at 5:15 PM

        Fair argument, but the punishment must fit the crime. Benching one of your best regulars for something like this is out of line, probably unimaginable to any manager – especially because Escobar does this with a pretty good record of success (9 base hit bunts this year).

        I realize mentioning bunting on this site is the kiss of death, but Escobar handles the bat very well and runs well enough to make bunting for a hit a viable option for him, particularly against the division-rival Tigers and their offensive-minded 3rd baseman.

  2. Detroit Michael - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Has Escobar been successful in the past bunting for a base hit? If so, then I wouldn’t bench him for continuing to do so certainly.

    • mattyflex - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      I don’t have any stats in front of me, but I rarely miss a Royals game, and I’d say his conversion rate is totally decent. He’s pretty quick and he is hitting .300 on the season. Plus, his defense is well above average. I don’t think he will be benched at all.

      I don’t love the bunt, but I don’t really see a huge problem with it. He’s making less than $500,000 this season, so it’s not like people should be expecting the cream of the shortstop crop, so to speak. I think he is very much adequate and does a fine job for the team.

      • groundruledoublebourbon - Aug 13, 2012 at 5:10 PM

        Escobar has 9 base hit bunts this season. Not sure out of how many tries, though. I’m with you – if he gets on base doing it, go ahead. If he is doing it as a no-risk avenue (either it’s a hit or a sacrifice) to preserve/bolster his numbers, different story.

  3. sportsdrenched.com - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    I think on three of those occaisions I turned the game off. Bunting in the 1st innings? Click.

  4. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    I’m not generally a fan of bunts. But I’m not sure the guy would have much of a better chance at getting a swinging hit.

    • crisisjunky - Aug 13, 2012 at 4:14 PM

      Pretty sure he went yard twice in a game this year, didn’t he?…
      Besides that, why not spread the infield out a little if they anticicpate it?
      Kershaw doesn’t throw that hammer every time, but.. it could be coming…….

  5. pbannard - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    So Craig, as a manager, you would want to limit the ways that your players can get on base? You want to make the defensive positioning of the other team easier? Sac bunts have been shown to be bad strategy in almost all situations, but there is nothing wrong with bunting for a hit, as long as you’re a good bunter. If he got hits on just two of those five bunts, he’s doing better than his usual OBP.

  6. hushbrother - Aug 13, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    If he could do it successfully a high percentage of the time I’d be ok with it. At least he’d be getting on base. It’s not like he has any power he’s failing to capitalize on by bunting so much.

    Hey, it worked for Roy Thomas.

  7. rje49 - Aug 13, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    I went to a Mets/Pirates game back in the 60′s; probably ’66. Ron Hunt bunted for base hit in the first inning. That was the only hit they got in the 12-zip loss. A one-hitter by Woody Fryman. I was OK with that first inning bunt.

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