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No Surprise In PC Bunts

No Surprise In PC Bunts

The only surprise in PC surprise bunts is how often they can be used and how often they successfully generate a hit.

In the MLB, in the entire 2015 season, the players who bunted most often (Dee Gordon & Billy Hamilton) each bunted 38 times (this 38 includes both hit attempts and sacrifice attempts). In PC, some batters lay down 38 surprise bunts within 20 games.

The Top 9 Bunters in MLB in 2015:
(Total # of Bunts includes BOTH sac bunts and bunt-for-hits attempts / Bunts-For-Hits is the number of successful bunt hits)

Player / Total # of Bunts / Bunts-For-Hits
1. Dee Gordon / 38 / 16
2. Billy Hamilton / 38 / 12
3. Erick Aybar / 32 / 9
4. Delino DeShields / 29 / 12
5. Elvis Andrus / 23 / 9
6. Cesar Hernandez / 23 / 7
7. Corey Spangerberg / 23 / 9
8. Freddy Galvis / 22 / 7
9. Anthony Gose / 21 / 7

These top 9 bunters in all of MLB bunted a total of 249 times (this, again, includes both sac bunts and bunts meant to go for hits). In a 162-game season, that would be 1.53 bunts per game... which would, actually, break down into 0.75 bunt attempts per team per game.

The top 9 bunters successfully bunted for hits a total of 88 times. In a 162-game season, that would be 0.54 hits per game from bunts.

In PC, there are teams run by some of the most accomplished GMs who will surprise bunt 2-5 times a game, which, often, will lead to 3 or more successful surprise bunts per game, depending on the speeds of the bunters. (And, a successful PC surprise bunt can easily turn into two bases as the bunt is often followed by a successful steal of 2nd.)

It is such, on PC, that not using the surprise bunt in some (all?) leagues can severely decrease the chance for winning.

It is true that the sim has several ways a surprise bunt can fail, but the usage rate and the success rate for surprise bunts in PC is far higher than today's (and probably yesterday's) MLB. And, given that so many successful PC GMs use the surprise bunt, there is no denying bunts determine PC championships.

Given that, in 2015, there were at most only 0.75 bunt attempts per team per game (including bunts-for-hit-attempts AND sac bunts), perhaps a hard limit of 2 or 3 surprise bunts per team per game would be a useful adjustment of the sim.

Re: No Surprise In PC Bunts

Just went through a playoff series where I was surprise bunted to death.

What's bothersome is the apparent lack of effective counters to this ploy.

What can reduce the effectiveness of a surprise bunt? A plus-arm and/or a high DWAR catcher? Infielders with high DWAR? A pitcher with a high K rate, so the bunter can't make contact?

I haven't seen any discussion on this until your post.

Re: Re: No Surprise In PC Bunts

I have never seen any counter to it, either. The high-K pitcher seems like a possibility, but I have no data on that.

Maybe just removing the "Often" option in Edit Strategy, as a way to limit the surprises.

I am never one to want to exactly mimic MLB game-play, but the point you raise is a good reason why the surprise bunt deserves to be limited: There's no (obvious) way to counter it, defensively.

Re: No Surprise In PC Bunts

Sol, the players you listed are all very fast and the type of guys LESS likely to be successful in Real life on a surprise bunt, because it's really NOT a surprise, Fielders know they have to keep the possibility of the bunt in mind and position themselves accordingly.

Not that you are wrong, because your not, it's just that PC is a little wanting in defensive strategy and basic base running common sense. You can't position your defense to account for fast batters who may bunt.

I agree that surprise bunts are VERY successful in PC and feel that is a bigger advantage than SB when it comes to speed.

PC seems to devalue SB's and speed, except in surprise bunting- Consider this, If a batter is HBP then steals 2nd and 3rd but does not score, the next time he comes to the plate it would display " Billy Hamilton" not -- "Billy Hamilton 0-0, 2 SB"
- but if he walked it would say "Billy Hamilton 0-0 1 BB

Shows you what the game thinks of Stolen bases - it considers a walk more impressive....

Oh and I have been waiting for this

It's Spangenberg NOT Spangerberg WOO HOO --LOL LOL LOL

Re: Re: No Surprise In PC Bunts

Stolen bases are more broken than surprise bunts. Bunting for a base hit was something that Ichiro liked to do. Too bad in this league Ichiro does not have any years in which his speed is above 8 (hence why SP rating is weak --- if a player has 40 sb's in a season, this should at least be an 8 rating no matter the at bats). Very hard to effectively steal or surprise bunt with an SP rating less than 8. Even 8 is fairly weak.

Re: No Surprise In PC Bunts

Surprise Bunts, for me, are a scourge on PC.

In any league (where 8-10 speed players are allowed), the teams who win the most, almost without fail, have the "surprise bunt" set to "often" for their fast runners. A 9-speed or 10-speed player in any league, be it Auto or Custom, can realize a boost in batting average of 50 points or more simply by bunting often.

In the game above, the winning team's batting order has 9-speeds in the top two positions, a 10-speed in the 3rd position, and a 9-speed in the 7th position. The numbers below are the bunts attempted, per inning, by this team in this game:

(Batting Position) Surprise Bunt - Result of Bunt
1st: (1) Bunt - Failed

4th: (3) Bunt - Safe

6th: (1) Bunt - Safe

7th: (3) Bunt - Safe

Four players who could have bunted. Four "surprise" bunts by only two of them. A .750 BA on those bunts.

"It's part of the game" is fair and accurate. But, for GMs like me who would rather not bunt 4, 5, or 6 times a game... the "balanced" and "rarely" bunting team gets left behind, consistently out-dinked and dunked by all the non-surprise surprises.

An MLB team who tries to bunt for a hit even once in 10 games is more of an anomaly than a standard. PC is certainly not MLB. But, the success rate of the "surprise" bunt makes the PC game as much about the bunt as it is about the HR, the K, WHIP, RBI, and GM.

In the above referenced league there are 108 players with enough ABs to qualify for the batting crown. There are 9 players with BA's of .333 or higher. 5 of those players are 9-speeds or 10-speeds.

Even if a "surprise" bunt is successful only 1/3 of the time (and the small sample size and experience says that more than 1/3 of bunts are successful), a 1/3 success is a .333 batting average, which, in most leagues, rockets a player into the top 15 or 20 BAs in the league.

A higher failure percentage for bunts or a limit of two surprises per team each game still seems, to me, worth a strong consideration. Maybe the Commish can have control of number of surprise bunts allowed, just as the Commish can control number of injury days.

Re: Re: No Surprise In PC Bunts

I don’t agree at all that all of the successful owners surprise bunt to victory, but I definitely agree they are too successful when used here.

Re: No Surprise In PC Bunts

Bunting for hits is a lost art, whoever remembers Brett Butler, bunting for hits was a very important part of is weapons, reaching 1st base between 30 to 40 times year in and year out with bunt base hits....

bunt for basehits avg :
2014 : .405
2015 : .402
2016 : .400
2017: .398

interesting fact is that bunt attempts for hits are dropping by around 15% every single year whitch makes it exponential.... despite those crazy defensive shifts we are being witness

we at least have a meter on how to measure what bunt for base hits avg should be...

as for its frequency, maybe Billy Hamilton should hire Brett Butler as is personal trainer during winter....

Re: Re: No Surprise In PC Bunts

Raging, it would be interesting to know over more like a 10-game span, how often are certain players bunting?

In the box score listed above, there are nearly 50 players in this league with 9+ speed. And there are only 14 teams. That means each team could own nearly four 9+ speed players each. 9 and 10 are meant to be for the elite. This is the Vince Coleman/Ricky Henderson range. Deadball era is obviously a unique case. Point is, the game isn't meant to contain a lot of the 9/10 range players.

Now, this league also seems to have a plethora of deadball era players. The sim is not just a 2018 sim. As the last post pointed out, there were players who did it successfully often at a high rate.

I hear the comment about custom league adjustment. That's a fair point. But some burden will also always be on custom leagues to make the pool realistic. If you don't want speed to play a major role in a league, there can't be 50+ Ricky Hendersons.

Re: No Surprise In PC Bunts

i was very much as bothered by this as Raging was but then i did a little research myself, inspired by PLPL's post.

here is the last 10 years worth of batting averages for attempted bunts in MLB. THis is with bases empty (so its clearly not an attemtped sacrifice) and obviously most, if not all MLB players would not translate into "10" speed or even 9 speed players ehre on PC.

Year Attempts (PA) Batting Average
2007 747 .434
2008 734 .441
2009 765 .400
2010 735 .403
2011 823 .435
2012 784 .438
2013 709 .436
2014 778 .443
2015 671 .443
2016 600 .433

Link to article: https://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2..
Thats insane! so my feelings have been changed about this issue. 9 and 10 speeds SHOULD have .400 averages on bunting, and frankly i wonder why more players/teams dont do this in real life

Re: Re: No Surprise In PC Bunts

i just want to add one more thing- and this ties in to the whole fact that this is fantasy baseball and we should be able to diverge or be more creative than real life GMs/manager are able to get away with.

Raging posted that the volume of bunt attempts is very low, and therefore it seems out of hand with the amount of bunts that the sim allows frequent bunters. BUT this is the creativity we should be allowed to do.

I remember years ago i had wanted to allow RPs to pitch more often and earlier in the game, and maybe even start games. i was told how unrealistic that is.....well we saw it happen relatively quite often in 2018.

So i think its actually in a good spot right now. its up to the commish to allow/not allow X amount of 8/9/10 speedsters in the league i guess.

Re: No Surprise In PC Bunts

Agree the best bet is keep the speedsters to a min. Hard to do in long lasting leagues tho as in my league I have some late 30 year olds still at 9 speed. Seems they don’t diminish enough over time. I have to force retire some.

Also, have to take those 400 AVG butters in context. They are doing it at the ideal times, much less likely to try when corner IF are playing in. But we can’t do that here. There is no defensive setting for it to keep hunters from bunting. So 400 here is much worse and still unrealistic.

Re: No Surprise In PC Bunts

The team I earlier referenced in this thread (https://www.pennantchase.com/lgTeam.aspx?tid=5459cddf-74e0-4331-bd95-c623fdd9dc43&lgid=112) has five players studied, for 20 games. A Custom League, with Real Players that do progress. The games averaged 9 innings or less, overall, as the team had 12 home games, most of which they won handily, which balanced the two 10-inning and one 11-inning game.

This study of this team's use of the bunt is in no way an indictment of the team or GM; this is just an example that had data readily available to me.

This "study" is flawed in regard to frequency of surprise bunts because I do not have any information on what the GM had his bunt frequency set to in any game (I only assume is it "often"), but this study is also information on success rate.


- Any time an out was made on a surprise bunt (including a lead runner thrown out), it was counted as a failed bunt.
- A total of 11 games were missed, collectively, by the five players (due to rest or GM choice).

The five players tried a total of 48 surprise bunts. 48 surprise bunts is, as a team, 2.4 bunt attempts per game. Or, if eliminating the 11 games not played, the total jumps to 2.9 surprise bunt attempts per game for these five players.

30 of the 48 surprise bunts were successful, for a .625 Batting Average.

Player [speed]: Batting Average. (Successful of Total) [Games Played]
Player A [9]: .470 (7 of 15) [17 games]
Player B [9]: .500 (5 of 10) [17 games]
Player C [9]: .710 (5 of 7) [16 games]
Player D [10]: .890 (8 of 9) [20 games]
Player E [7]: .710 (5 of 7) [19 games]


A .625 Batting Average on all attempted surprise bunts is certainly a tough number to see as a GM who is mostly against surprise bunts.

A 10-speed with an .890 Batting Average on surprise bunts is scary.

What's a possible adjustment, if one is felt to be needed?
1.) Limit each team to only one or two players able to surprise bunt per game.

2.) Lower how often the "often" setting leads to a surprise bunt attempt.

3.) Give a Commish the ability to limit how many surprise bunts are allowed per team, per game.

4.) Alter the sim to make surprise bunts less successful.

Please note, this is not a complaint about the sim. If nothing changes, I'm not going to keep going at this. This was, for me, figuring out what I have to do strategy-wise in all leagues in which I participate, and I felt it worth sharing the findings.

Re: Re: No Surprise In PC Bunts

Nice work, and great topic.

it does help figuring out the situation your are bringing.

from historical numbers, best bunters should be attemting approx 50 bunts for base hits per season...

Success rate should be around .450 to .550. for the best of them...

These numbers are based on Brett Butlers, Kenny Lofton,
Otis Nixon, Juan Pierre numbers...

Also note that they should be able to convert a fair share of their additional sac bunts into base hits also.

Keeping in mind that the average Joe, converts at a .400 rate...

also on a funny note the all time bunt for base hits king iss ....

Lee Mazilli, converting a ridiculous 35 bunt for base hits in 40 bunt attemps for a .875 average!!!!

some other notables

Steve Garvey 46 for 56 .821
Rod Carew 91 for 126 .722
Pete Rose 65 for 93 .699

Re: No Surprise In PC Bunts

Perhaps the SIM's seemingly lack of properly gauge speed is the actual issue, guys who had say 12 SB included in their actual stats have almost no chance of even stealing 5 bases, and if they do, 2 are on the back end of a double steal and their success rate is far too low to enable them to steal on their own to be worth it.

The SIM as always, favors batting, over speed, which I believe is the reason the surprise bunt seems to be the biggest weapon of a speedy player, its really not though, its their ability to cause a pitcher to pitch from the stretch and pay attention to them AND the hitter, and taking the extra base, stealing bases is nice but its the threat that is the real weapon,

Re: Re: No Surprise In PC Bunts

I can definitely say from recent experience the surprise bunt sucks once you hit 8-speed. My recent playoff team was so unsuccessful with it, I can't imagine using it with any decent-hitting 8-speed player.

Which again leaves the fact that it's really only potentially highly helpful with 9 and 10 speed players, of which there really should not be many in any given league unless you're in the deadball era.