MLB stat corner: Sacrificing the sacrifice

Every week, emails from Dodgers Dugout newsletter readers ask why the Dodgers don’t bunt more. The reason: Analytics developed over the last several years show that a bunt is a waste of an out. Long story short, research has shown that the odds of scoring a run with a runner on first and no out are greater than the odds of scoring a run with a runner on second and one out. But what about near the end of the game, when one run can mean the difference? Well, this was researched in 2002, and a similar conclusion was reached. The win expectancy for a home team trailing by one in the bottom of the ninth was higher with a runner on first and nobody out than it is with a runner on second and one out. And that theory holds true in multiple late-inning situations.

With that research in mind, and with analytics-driven research an important part of modern-day front offices, you see why the bunt has fallen out of favor. Let’s take a look at the number of successful sacrifice bunts in baseball projected over a full season this year compared to last year, and compared to every 10 years before that.

2018 (projected): 804 bunts, 0.165 per game
2017: 925 bunts, 0.190 per game
2007: 1,540 bunts, 0.317 per game
1997: 1,547 bunts, 0.341 per game
1987: 1,455 bunts, 0.346 per game
1977: 1,764 bunts, 0.419 per game
1967: 1,480 bunts, 0.457 per game
1957: 1,115 bunts, 0.451 per game
1947: 1,406 bunts, 0.566 per game
1937: 1,420 bunts, 0.573 per game
1927: 3,183 bunts, 1.29 per game
1917: 3,079 bunts, 1.24 per game
1907: 2,602 bunts, 1.06 per game

All numbers are courtesy of


Go beyond the scoreboard

Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.