Skip to content

39 is the magic number

Feb 12, 2013, 11:32 AM EST

Rick Peterson

Fascinating stuff from Joe Lemire of Sports Illustrated. Actually, it’s fascinating stuff from Orioles’ pitching coordinator Rick Peterson, which Lemire passes along: if you face more than 39 opposing hitters, you’re screwed. If you face fewer than 39, you’re probably going to win.

There is an easily intuitive element to this of course: duh, the more hitters a team faces, the more likely your team is to be giving up a lot of runs. ┬áBut that’s not the takeaway. The takeaway is how critical that 39th hitter is. How the odds of winning or losing shift so dramatically when that 39th batter comes to the plate.

Go read Lemire’s piece. It’s fascinating stuff. Baseball, because of it’s isolated data sets and stops in the action allow for all kinds of fascinating things like this to be studied. And every time I read about a new one, I love the sport even more.

Latest Posts
  1. Neal Cotts has agreed to a one-year deal with the Brewers

    Jan 29, 2015, 8:02 PM EST

    Neal Cotts AP AP

    Cotts compiled a 2.84 ERA in 131 appearances with the Rangers over the past two seasons.

  2. Phillies sign Chad Billingsley

    Jan 29, 2015, 7:04 PM EST

    Chad Billingsley Getty Images

    Billingsley hasn’t pitched in the majors since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April of 2013.

  3. Braves sign Eric Stults

    Jan 29, 2015, 6:45 PM EST

    Eric Stults Getty Getty Images

    Add another name to the list of fifth starter candidates for the Braves.

  4. Daniel Nava avoids arbitration with the Red Sox

    Jan 29, 2015, 5:42 PM EST

    ALCS - Detroit Tigers v Boston Red Sox - Game One Getty Images

    Nava requested $2.25 million and the Red Sox countered at $1.3 million.

  5. Ramon Santiago signs with the Blue Jays

    Jan 29, 2015, 3:15 PM EST

    Ramon Santiago AP

    Santiago spent last season with the Reds, hitting .246 with a .667 OPS in 75 games.

  6. Blue Jays sign Ronald Belisario

    Jan 29, 2015, 2:31 PM EST

    Ronald Belisario AP

    Belisario was awful for the White Sox last season, allowing 46 runs in 66 innings.

  7. Pete Carroll and Scott Boras are best buddies? Who knew?

    Jan 29, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

    Boras sulking AP

    Does this man look like he’d be a friend of a guy like Pete Carroll? Welp, he is.

  8. Omar Minaya is joining the MLB Players Association

    Jan 29, 2015, 12:45 PM EST

    Omar Minaya AP

    He’ll work with union chief Tony Clark.

  9. Jayson Werth to serve five days in jail for reckless driving

    Jan 29, 2015, 12:30 PM EST

    Jayson Werth AP

    We can, from now and forever, refer to Werth as the “The Nationals’ ex-con right fielder.”

  10. The 12th greatest GM of all time is the real “Moneyball” innovator, not Billy Beane

    Jan 29, 2015, 11:30 AM EST

    Sandy Alderson AP

    Brad Pitt was too young to portray him, though. Maybe Kevin Kline could’ve?

  11. Keith Law’s top 100 prospects list is out

    Jan 29, 2015, 10:39 AM EST

    Kris Bryant AP AP

    Kris Bryant of the Cubs tops the list.

  12. Blue Jays are on the hunt for veteran relievers

    Jan 29, 2015, 10:15 AM EST

    Francisco Rodriguez AP AP

    Francisco Rodriguez? Rafael Soriano?

  13. Rosenthal proposal: make relievers face more than one batter per appearance

    Jan 29, 2015, 10:01 AM EST

    Mike Pelfrey

    He’s gonna get big pushback from the LOOGY union, but is the idea a good one?

  14. Must baseball “change or die?”

    Jan 29, 2015, 9:09 AM EST

    dodgers shift

    Baseball should never fear innovation. But not all new rules are, by definition, innovation.

  15. Giants release Marco Scutaro

    Jan 28, 2015, 10:21 PM EST

    scutaro getty Getty Images

    Scutaro appeared in just five games last season for the World Series champions due to a back injury that has continued to bother him this offseason.

  16. Mets avoid arbitration with Jenrry Mejia at $2.595 million

    Jan 28, 2015, 8:59 PM EST

    mejia getty Getty Images

    Mejia requested a salary of $3 million from the Mets and was offered $2.1 million when arbitration figures were exchanged on January 16.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Papelbon (6536)
  2. J. Shields (4327)
  3. I. Suzuki (4088)
  4. Y. Moncada (3647)
  5. R. Vogelsong (3620)
  1. F. Rodriguez (3333)
  2. J. Gomes (3041)
  3. J. Hoffman (2747)
  4. D. Fowler (2692)
  5. D. Mesoraco (2651)