Nerfherders wrote:In my experience players score about 40% of the time they get on base - this seems to be fairly universal, so the more times someone gets on base, the more runs they will score. This isnt necesarrily true for individual players, but for teams overall.
Right...on the runs scored end obviously a walk (where you're on base 100% of the time) is better than a non-walk (where you're on base at a clip equal to your batting average + any errors/fielders choices). And while I hadn't heard the 40% number it sounds very likely for a team. However I would guess that each slot in the batting order has a much different number with the #1-3 slots scoring more than 40% of the time and a tail-off effect as you work your way down through the order. For a detailed analysis you'd have to look at spot in the batting order. For a cursory examination 40% of (obp-avg) would work to quantify the positive effect that walks have on runs.
The next question would be how bad the negative impact on hr's and rbi's is from walks. I think the ceiling for negative impact would be a percentage loss in hr/rbi equal to walks divided by plate appearances (since a walk at its worst is completely removing the opportunity for a home run and almost completely removing the opportunity for an rbi). You'd have to try and make some determination though of whether the worst case is true given that the hitter might get better pitches to hit with increased plate discipline and vice versa.
As for why I'm looking at this it's more of a curiousity thing than anything else. You can't make a guy on your fantasy team walk less or walk more on a whim and you're not going to avoid or draft a guy based on what his current walk rate is. The one practical implication I can see is to use what we find here in analysis when a hitter starts showing a significantly better (or worse) amount of discipline at the plate. In that case you could use these tools to determine whether this is a positive trend for the player in question or a negative one. Without detailed analysis of each category the answer would be a guess at best.